No Military Manoeuvres Allowed
It is sad to hear that some Nigerian soldiers may be thinking about toppling the Nigerian government. I have a message for them: Don't waste our bullets; this is not your war.
For the better part of 50 years, we have had soldiers seizing power and mouthing all kinds of pseudo-patriotic platitudes. I confess that upon some of those occasions, I have danced in the streets in celebration.
But I was either young, or naïve. I know now that in the fullness of time, each military intervention has served only our military leaders, not Nigerian citizens. And despite all the sanctimonious pretence, almost every military government has been worse than the one before it.
To be sure, Shehu Shagari and Umaru Yar'Adua did not do well. But if you are looking for a roll of infamy, here is a good one: Olusegun Obasanjo, Ibrahim Babangida, Sani Abacha. Each of them promised us a slice of heaven, only to dump us in the city centre of Hell. Their barefaced graft, atrocious governance and political manipulation are largely responsible for the muddle in which Nigeria now finds itself.
Away from the centre, the states and parastatals were routinely overrun and picked apart by agents of these same "leaders" in the form of governors and so-called administrators.
In Nigeria, the military has never accepted the concept of responsibility, let alone rights. It has never cared about democracy or human rights, let alone the rule of law. It has often preferred to be accepted above these "minor" issues while it settled in as an army of occupation with the licence to silence and pollute and grab.
That is why the country is overflowing with many rich ex-military chiefs. They cannot spell investment but are worth billions. They have wives and former wives around the globe, sandwiched between mistresses and barely-known children. While their children can or have attended schools of their choice in Europe and America, they are content to watch education in Nigeria rot. And since "their" wealth did not come from industry or agriculture, why should they care?
The road ahead is clear. I advise any soldier dreaming of a military comeback to keep it within his video games. But if he decides to come out shooting, he had better be prepared to kill by the truckload, beginning with the layers of military parasites of the past generation.
Otherwise, dear friends, please keep your favours. Democracy must be nurtured, and we know there is no such kitchen in your rugged tanks or within your oh-so-altrustic starched uniforms.
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