THE FREEDOM FIGHTER’S DISCOURSE, THE ROMANCE OF THE NATION STATE AND HISTORICAL RECLAMATION/

But enough. Listen to this dream of mine and interpret it. I keep a flock of twenty geese here. They come in from the pond to pick up their grain and I delight in watching them. In my dream I saw a great eagle with a crooked beak swoop down from the hills and break their necks, killing them all. There they lay in a heap on the floor while he soared up in the open sky. I wept and cried aloud, still in my dream, and beautifully dressed Achean ladies gathering around me found me sobbing my heart out because the eagle has slaughtered my geese. But the bird came back. He perched on a jutting beam of the roof, and breaking into human speech he checked my tears. “take heart” he said, “daughter of the far-famed Icarius. This is not a dream but a happy reality which you shall see fulfilled…. ( Homer, The Odyssey)

The political sphere is related to a theory of the passions through the phenomenon of power that is essential to it. (Fallible Man, Paul Ricoeur)

Africa is a place that is often allergic to self-renewal. That is to say to engender that dynamism necessary for self regeneration. My mind quietly turns to the early freedom fighters like and Mandela, Mugabe and our own Zik and Awo. In juxtaposing them with the new generation one discovers a yearning gap. The big question is where have we lost it? I mean the capacity and morale for self-regeneration. On the other hand most of us are still locked in the past and have refused to chart a way for the future. They are often locked in the question of historical sickness. This is to ask the question whether the remedy is actually poison, by reason of its alliance with the justice that condemns.

In other words, does this quest for a return to the historical past or a pristine state not amount to distrust in the human capacity to forge into the future; a distrust that may eventually yield to a totalitarianism best put in the words of Popper as the “perennial revolt against freedom.” It is here that the question of law comes in to help the citizens to chart a way for the future, in essence law brings specificity, predictability, clarity and in most cases defines the extent to which power can be exercised. Even in the medieval period, when political activities were dominated by religious affairs and kingship, citizens were able to insist that kings must obey the law. Writing as early as the twelfth century, John of Salisbury insists that the king must obey the law; he is neither above the law nor superior to it. The good prince loves justice and prefers the good of the whole, refusing to submerge that good to his individual will. He desires to be loved rather than feared, and to show himself to them his people as such a man that they will out of devotion prefer his life to their own.

The tyrant on the other hand oppresses the people by rulership based upon force, while he who rules in accordance with the law is a prince. The origin of tyranny he says is iniquity, and springing from a poisonous root, it is a tree which grows and sprouts into a baleful pestilent growth, and to which the axe must by all means be laid. Our problem remains abhorrence to the rule of law. We are quick to talk about democracy and rule of law but when it comes to implementation, we are found wanting.

The Buhari led government has refused to obey court orders to free Nnamdi Kalu and Dasuki, just like Obasanjo refused to release the local government funds during his time. Some state governors do not even care to conduct Local Government elections nor award contracts through the ministries. In fact some ministries are comatose, just being there. Our civil service is dead. Our educational system remains a perfect example. The on-going warning strike is a result of the government’s renegading on agreements made with ASSU since 2009. Our law makers are dozing on duty while the country is heading to a crash. Others are daydreaming about the past, about Biafra and Oduduwa. They keep on blaming our so called founding fathers, Awo, Zik Saraduna, Aminu Kano, Tafawa Balewa, and others. Others still blame colonialism and how it underdeveloped Africa. The shifting gear of blames continues while our country drifts afloat without good leadership.

The worst of all is this revanchism of War against Indiscipline” (WAI) that only succeeds in promoting a climate of indiscipline to use Achebe’s words. The name of Cassius continues to honour corruption and chastisement continue to hide his head. Every day we continue to hear millions or billions of Naira that have been recovered by the EFCC depending on the radio you tune in to. On the other side, there is the echo of denials. The government will claim to have employed over 20,000 youths while others still echo the youth must work anthem and when you look out, there is neither employment nor the working. The government is still trying to borrow or sell off of our collective assets and mortgage the future of the same youths.Everywhere you turn, there is still the same laments!

The judiciary that ought to be the hope of the common man has been immersed in a cesspit of corruption. The idea of a retiring judge without a successor just sounds ludicrous. And as the saying goes, when the citadel of justice is corrupt, what happens to the body politic. Where are all the exemplars we read about, the Aminu Kano’s and the new breeds of Abubakar Rimi and Sam Mbakwe’s. To conclude it is good to reiterate Achebe’s words that “Gandhi was real, Aminu kano was real. They were not angels in heaven, they were human like the rest of us, in India and Nigeria” Why then has our politics taken this terrible turn of citizens wallowing in abject poverty? The answer is a simple one, and that in summary is the Trouble with Nigeria.