As a young boy, I enjoyed watching the gap toothed leader in uniform, I thought he was handsome and I wanted to make the army a choice of career because of him. I told my father but I guess he just thought I was just interested in current affairs not knowing that I had other ideas. One of my secret ideas was that once I got into the army, I would plot a coup and become the head of government and relinquish power unlike my military hero who had shifted the hand over date just like his military uncle, now an elder statesman, General Yakubu Gowon. I had the feeling that the problems of Nigeria could be solved by a cilvillian government but that can only be achieved by a determined military government which I hoped to create with my coup. Howerver, I had to put that thought aside when I thought Babangida wouldn’t go the way of his maradonic mentor Gowon. I tag Gowon as the father of military maradonaism, haven shifted the return to democratic rule goal post in the 70s therby keeping his government in power for 9 years. This was one of the reasons the Murtala government came to being.
However, General Obasanjo kept the words of Murtala and handed over in 1979. Someone once said that if Murtala had not died, we may have also seen the Maradona in him manifested. I disagreed but when General Obasanjo now wanted a 3rd term or 3rd time as friend of mine calls it, I realized that the Maradonic nature is a nature of military politicians. They always find a ‘credible’ reason to want to hang on to government and as they also say – power.
It’s strange that a nation whose population made up of more people less than 40 years is led by an orchestration of those over 60 years! I am not against the Buharis, Atikus and Babangidas of this world to exercise their civil rights. I am against the unrepentant backward thoughts of our generation in thinking that these people are the only ones that should still hold on to the whims of power.
The funny and yet strange truth is that the young persons who have showed interests in becoming major political office contenders in Nigeria, have been made laughing stocks and described as comedians of the highest order because the reasoning of the average Nigerian is that to become a political office holder in Nigeria, you must be close to those in power, corrupt, extremely rich or an ex-military official. And when you are none of these, then you are just taking a stroll since nobody will follow you; even your papa wey born you!
It is becoming glaring that that is the case which I wonder when it will ever end if action are not taken now by the youths of the land. When a relatively unknown Dr. Chris Ngige became governor in Anambra state, it seemed things eventually started changing. However, when Chris Uba wielded his godfather might, the thoughts of demoncracy came to mind. The Sylva – Jonathan brouhaha in Bayelsa is a reminder of how power is attained in democracy apart from the eventual elections. There are more examples to let us know that democracy isn’t a written manual.
Indeed, it takes time for democracy to get entrenched in any society but there are indices that show that there is a positive navigation to that end.