Nigeria In Need Of A Paul Kagame. By Dominic Kidzu


Muhammadu Buhari may yet end his Presidency like Emperor Nero, who Tacidus records as playing the fiddle while Rome burned for six days. Emperor Nero was decadent and widely unpopular, so is Buhari, except in the most illiterate quarters of Northern Nigeria. While Emperor Nero spent his day playing the fiddle, it is not certain what Buhari spends his day doing, besides the mandatory five prayers of a good muslim.

The country he fought so hard to lead has been left unattended to, it’s unity dismembered, it’s peace raped, it’s security taken over by usual and unusual strangers, while the economy and well being of the citizens have been auctioned in an open bazaar of hate, division and bloodletting. A country never before united now sits on the precipice of dismemberment, while the disimilar inhabitants chant war songs and threaten fire and thunder.

How does this President spend his day at work? Does he open the files atop his ornate desk? Does he listen to security briefings? Does he read the papers? Does he watch television? Does he receive his appointees in audience? Does he attend meetings? What exactly does our president do all day long? One can’t even ask Garba Shehu, because what he says is sooner unsaid, and what he signals is usually eventually unsignalled. Or does the President, like Emperor Nero also have a cute little fiddle tucked somewhere in the cascading folds of his usually white, well starched gowns?

Patrick Wilmot, the firebrand Jamaican born lecturer in Sociology at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, saw the impending collapse of a country that should never have been, he wrote furiously about it in the New Nigerian newspaper and was abducted by soldiers in the night and sent out of the country. When Karl Maier, the West African correspondent of the Independent, who also freelanced for The Economist and The WashingtonPost, wrote “This House Has Fallen..Nigeria In Crisis”, a commentary about the slow death of Nigeria, he was also banned from entering Nigeria. They couldn’t do anything about Chinua Achebe though, even after he wrote “There Was A Country”, chronicling the Biafran war, the coming of age and destruction of Nigeria, because Achebe is our local hubris with nowhere to be sent to.

Is it our national character to always live in denial, and rent the banner of our national reality? And lie to ourselves and our children, wishing things done undone, creating the verisimilitude of truth, but not the whole truth? Denying that we have remained a country of competing nationalities. Denying the war drums reverberating across the ethnic lines and the partisanship of the federal government in the impending discordance. Denying that the forests of Nigeria have been overtaken by militiamen of Fulani ethnic stock. Denying that we have no constitution and no country. Denying that the president is an ethic bigot and a believer in the hegemony of his own tribe. Denying that his government has become a coterie for acquisitive individualism and conspicuous consumption. Denying even, that the Boko haram insurgents are still alive, well and potent as a fighting force.

Yet the president of Nigeria can learn a lot from Paul Kagame of Rwanda, whose circumstances are akin to those of Nigeria. The Tutsis, like the Fulani are tall, slender with long noses. Like the Fulani they are pastoralists, while the Hutus are farmers. The Tutsis were favoured by the colonizing Belgians and given political advantage over the Hutus, even though they are smaller in population, just like the colonizing British favoured the Fulani, who are fewer and gave them political control. The Hutus hated the Tutsis because of their unfair advantage, just as the tribes in Nigeria hold the Fulani in contempt and suspicion because of their unfortunate claim to superiority and ownership of all Nigeria. Like Nigeria, Rwanda survived a genocide that took the lives of over one million people. In Nigeria there were more deaths in the Biafran genocide.

However, President Paul Kagame has set aside the historical circumstances of his country and built a new Rwanda based on constitutional equity and equality of all tribes. Rwanda today represents the African fairytale, an industrial success with a booming economy having long healed the wounds of 1994. A benevolent dictator, Kagame’s greatest achievement in the end will be that he united all Rwandans and gave them a country to be proud of and to look up to. On the contrary, the president of Nigeria pursues the growth, prosperity and domination of his ethnic Fulani and Northern muslims over the rest of the country, skewing appointments in their favour and investing them with the facade of superiority and invincibility.

Nelson Mandela is remembered today not essentially because he fought for black South Africans, but because he used his victory to institute racial harmony, forgiveness and power sharing even when he had the opportunity to be vindictive and divisive, and to encourage social injustice to the advantage of his African people. Every great nationalist must necessarily rise above the sentiments of tribe, region and religion, and this is what president Muhammadu Buhari has found impossible to do. Yet he has a great opportunity to do so, even now, before the writers of history make his name a byword and consign the sorry patch of his presidency to the abyss of damnation and atrophy.

Dominic kidzu writes from Calabar.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article is strictly that of Dominic Kidzu and does not represent the opinion of The Lumine News or it’s agent.


Development Consultant, Writer, Editor-In-Chief/Publisher, Public/ Motivational Speaker, Public Affairs Analyst/Commentator, Social Mobilizer of high repute.

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