One Year After: The Hurt Of The Ostrich | Independent Newspapers Limited
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One Year After: The Hurt Of The Ostrich

Posted: May 31, 2016 at 2:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By  Nnedi Ogaziechi


“First they came for the Communists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the Unionists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me

And there was no one left

To speak for me”

-Martin Niemoller


This column is being written on a day designated by our politicians as democracy day. Whether this celebration is for the people or by the politicians on behalf of the people is debatable.

However, it is interesting to note that this same day – May 29th was once rejected by some politicians who preferred June 12th as a more appropriate day to celebrate democracy as the fairest and freest election in Nigeria was held in this country in 1993 with the victory of the late M.K.O Abiola who won the election through the famous Option A4 system under the chairmanship of Professor Humphrey Nwosu of the then National Electoral Commission.

In one of the most confounding  double speak in this country’s political history, the same set of politicians who praised the Option A4 system as the best electoral system for a developing country like ours suddenly claim that the often flawed Card Reader system is the best.

However, it is trite to quote the Rev. Niemoller who said, “…For politicians, truth and falsehood are unimportant. So I never could become a politician – not even a church politician”. I can’t agree less.

From all indications, it is clear that we have two divides by default (the politicians irrespective of party affiliation on one side and the rest of the people on the other). The hypocrisy is not lost on anyone because the name of the game is self-preservation. Only when they fail to agree on any issue or when their individual or collective interest is at stake, they invite us to join the fray.

When one listens to opinions canvased by politicians on the state of the nation, one wonders the ease with which politicians change positions on the same issue, thereby laying credence to the fact that most politicians cannot be trusted on issues.

The concept of good and bad speaks to the value system of a people and anyone in doubt as to why we have been unable to pull the country out of the woods over the years should put the blame purely on the doorstep of politicians, who oftentimes are held hostage by the desire to promote their interests as against what would be beneficial to the people.

Should it always be about politics? Should it always be about the next election? Should it always be about geographic region, religion, creed, ethnic nationality and other mundane considerations?

Nations of the world set standards of engagement and these are critical in building institutions that support growth and development. These are reflective of the values that are endearing and enduring. Here, what informs the character of governance is unfortunately defined by those primordial sentiments that have held us down since independence.

Most of the problems the country is today grappling with have always been there and would continue to hunt us due to our penchant for playing the Ostrich.  When Boko Haram issue started, because it was erroneously viewed as a scourge targeted at Christians and churches, most Muslim leaders did not express as much outrage as expected of them until the heat came on them ditto the restiveness in the Niger Delta that led to the kidnapping of foreigners. Little did we know that fellow Nigerians would soon become articles of trade when they were done with the foreigners. Today everyone is talking about respect for the rule of law yet some victims of today were witnesses to brazen disrespect for court orders in the past and did not speak out simply because they were not at the receiving end. What goes round comes round.

No matter the evaluation of politicians on President Buhari’s performance in the last one year, Nigerians are the better judges. We are all witnesses to evaluations and applauses of governments across the country over the years, but the state of infrastructure, the economy, failing businesses as a result of lack of investment support initiative puts a lie to all those assessments.

Whether a government has or is doing well are life issues which can be felt relying on several indices; and Nigerians do not need the opinion of professional assessors to put a finger on the state of the nation. 

As the Buhari government steps into the last year, all stake holders, be they in the executive, legislature, the judiciary or common people like us must be concerned enough to feel the pulse of the nation and realise that this time is for the hands to be on the plough to save the ship of the state from capsizing, because we are all involved.


The Nigeria police must be commended for their effort in arresting some of the suspects of the Nibo massacre. However, history beckons on governor Ugwuanyi to ensure thorough investigation and diligent prosecution because both the dead and living deserve justice. Their blood would rise in protest if the state fails them.