By Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu
Many will tell you Nigeria is undergoing a highly sensitive period of revitalization. That our country, home to the largest economy on the continent, is making bold strides to position itself as a conduit for African integration and a leader in its geopolitics.
However, as we approach what can only be described as hotly contested elections in February of 2015, one thing remains abundantly clear – oligarchy is oligarchy. Feudalism may forever be feudalism. Nigeria’s polity remains in cyclical quagmire and its casualties are the very citizens being told that change is on the way.
This week, I announced that I was pulling out of the Senatorial race in my district, that of Abia State’s Northern region. I did so, not because I did not believe that we could fundamentally enhance my home State’s infrastructure, supply electricity to Abians and work with our partners in the public sector so as to ensure the next generation of Nigerians are not disillusioned by false promises and self-serving bureaucracy. No. I left for the same reasons that so many of those before me have – out of disgust for the cronyism that denies innovation, entrepreneurship or even competition to flourish in the private and indeed political arena. For Abia, much like Nigeria, is suffering from a crisis of such cronyism, one entirely revisable yet utterly out of our grasp.
We’ve heard this tale before. Our military, though adamantly entrusted to protect our citizenry, has sometimes been used (historically noted) as a weapon for the aims of the political elite. We look no further than in the words and actions of the resurgent spirit of Fela Kuti to view a depiction of governance run amok, free will and speech stifled and glad-handing ensuring a select few reap the benefits of natural resource abundance, while the remaining in the periphery suffer.