by Wale Giwa
“Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it”(George Santayana, an American Philosopher). Our fathers who orchestrated the second Coup d’etat, made a huge mistake by destroying the Ironsi Regime and the revolutionary plans of the first Coup Plotters. Their reason for this, is the corrupt practices and embezzlement of public funds in the government. Their Aim: To clean up the government. Unfortunately, Nigerians came to realize that the military Heads of state where just as bad and corrupt as the Politicians.
At this point, particularly just before the 4th Republic, it became crystal clear that the only way to move Nigeria forward, was to elect and vote for a worthy candidate. A candidate who is just, intelligent, vainglorious, corrupt-free, and different from the previous Heads of state. At least that’s what i thought Nigerians had in mind. But i was wrong. Instead, we voted for another retired Head of state, to usher in the 4th Republic. It became even worse when we voted for this same man, the second time. Being a dictator that he is, its not surprising that he tried to extend his tenure for more than 8 years.
As if that was not enough, we again voted for another sick retired military officer, who unfortunately died in office. Now it became clear to us that we needed to vote for a non-military officer. But this time we got it wrong. We went to the polls and voted for a lethargic lecturer, an attitude which a leader should never possess, especially when it pertains to corruption.
To further exacerbate the issue, we went to the polls for the 10th time in our history, and voted for another retired military Head of State. Are we not tired of being ruled by these military bigots? The amazing thing is that these military Heads of States who took power for themselves, in a completely undemocratic manner, promised again in the 4th Republic to clean up the government. A promise which they all made earlier, and eventually failed woefully. In fact, the number one thing that continues to baffle me is that our retired Head of state, who is unfortunately our current President, decided to destroy the 2nd Republic, because the then-President borrowed some billions of naira at a time when Nigeria entered the beginning of a painful recession.
Interestingly, this retired military officer, is also currently facing a painful recession in his tenure as President, and surprisingly also tried to borrow some billions of naira, the same thing the then-president of the 2nd Republic did that made this retired military man terminate the 2nd Republic. No wonder a Nigerian Music Icon, Tuface Idibia, plans on leading a nationwide protest next month, against our Federal Government.
When will Nigerians learn from history? When are we going to put reason ahead of us, before going to the polls to elect our political officers? When are we going to send these retired military men back to the barracks, where they belong? Or maybe we should vote for another retired military officer in the next election, and subsequent elections to come, till they have all ruled in a civilian government. We need to learn from history and the mistakes of our fathers. We need to wake up from our sleep. We need to realize that the earlier we stop voting for these retired military officers, the better for us. They have no business ruling us. They have destroyed our Country, and it’s time we give power to Just, Intelligent and worthy people. We do this now, and when the time is right, we as Youths will contest for political posts and serve for the purpose of a Just service to our people. We shall inculcate in the mind of our younger ones, never to repeat the mistakes of past leaders, and to always learn from history and our mistakes. In the end, our Country will be a significantly stronger position, than it is now.