Nigeria : Nigeria: A Case Study Of Modern Africa

chuck

Well-Known Member
REGISTERED MEMBER
Aug 9, 2003
13,471
2,160
Note:

A article written by the senior editor of Al Ahram...

Nigeria's rites of passage from military dictatorship to democracy created a national consciousness that procures a Christian to preside over Muslims albeit not without birth pangs, postulates Gamal Nkrumah

"I can add colours to the chameleon , Change shapes with Proteus, for advantages" -- Shakespeare's Henry VI

Nothing in the way he has led his beloved Nigeria for the past year or so suggested that Goodluck Jonathan was going to fade discreetly into the background after Monday's presidential polls. He is fortunate by name and nature.

Which partially explains why Nigeria's president-elect, like Proteus, secured his archetypal status in his nation's history. Part of the potency of Nigeria's new president's propitious rise to power is that his faith has a resonance particular to the attributes of his faith.

For all the gloomy fascination that surrounds Nigeria, the country is poised for improvement. Plenty of progress has already been made. Bad elections, after all, are far better than none at all. A fledgling democracy is better than a dictatorship. Economically, Nigeria is surviving, not thriving -- yet according to latest World Bank estimates, Nigeria is destined to become Africa's largest economy, overtaking South Africa, by 2015.

One way of reconciling such anomalies is to stop looking at Nigeria in the old-fashioned way. Dyed-in-the wool politicians suspect that democracy can only cause calamity -- the kind of crises the country can ill afford. A neocolonial perspective confirms that that may be perfectly true.

Ask a typical Nigerian policymaker how they intend to squeeze growth from their sluggish economy and most pin their hopes on higher oil exports -- the country is, after all, the world's sixth largest oil exporter. Jonathan is no exception to this rule. The utter dependence on hydrocarbons has emerged as a curious source of national pride. This policy encourages Nigerian consumers to switch from expensive domestic goods to cheaper imports. Several factors have combined to bring about this sorry state of affairs.

Power in Nigeria has all too often changed hands through violent military takeovers. But the era of the classical African coup d'état is long over. Still, the memory of the terror of those military-run years lingers on. Three decades ago, the king of Afrobeat, human rights activist, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and composer Fela Kuti delivered his mother's coffin to Dodan Barracks, Lagos, then the official residence of Nigeria's then military ruler General Olusegun Obasanjo. Fela Kuti's septuagenarian mother Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti was hurled out of a window from her son's Kalakuta Republic, his unconventional commune and recording studio where the polygamist pop star and his seraglio, his harem, were housed. An improbable imbroglio ensued after the maverick musician released his revolutionary album Zombie, a scathing denunciation of Nigeria's military elite. In due course, Obasanjo assumed international respectability and acclaim after he replaced his military uniform with the more conventional civilian attire, the billowing robes of West Africa.

Goodluck Jonathan dons neither traditional garb nor military uniform, but favours the savvy "political suit" of West Africa and sports a matching hat. He is a man of his times. At over 246,000 and counting, he has more Facebook fans than the combined tally of British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and South African President Jacob Zuma. He is affable, easily approachable and skilled at social communication networking. In short, he is a man for the new Nigeria.

Yet there has always been a darker side to President Jonathan. Traditional West African political suits come in the cream and khaki shades of the Safari suit. Jonathan's are unmistakably dark. Whether that is simply a matter of taste, or is designed to disseminate a particular political message, is unclear. More sinister, however, is his hobnobbing with local and foreign businessmen and representatives of giant transnational corporations.

Oil accounts for 70 per cent of Nigeria's revenues and the agricultural and industrial development of the country has lagged behind the phenomenal growth rates of the energy sector.

Domestically, Jonathan needs to create jobs for the unemployed youth of Nigeria. And, not just in the oil-producing regions of the Niger Delta. His ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) is championed by the rich and powerful, the country's business community and its foreign partners. Outsiders, Jonathan insists, can help the development process along.

"My brothers and sisters, we are all winners," Jonathan declared promptly after winning this week's presidential poll in a nationwide televised address. "In this context there is no victor and no vanquished. We have demonstrated, even in our diversity, that the progress of Nigeria remains paramount for all." Precisely what sort of progress he has in mind remains a mystery to most of his countrymen and women. He is the first president of Nigeria who hails from the oil- rich Niger Delta southeastern region of the country, namely his native Bayelesa State, to be democratically elected.

Nigeria has one of the largest informal economies in Africa, perhaps the continent's largest -- reliable statistics are not available. Nigeria must reform its antiquated labour laws if the country's formal economy is to lure the jobless youth away from the illicit economies of narcotics and crime.

It is against this grim backdrop of unemployment and inflation that sectarian violence broke out as soon as the results of the presidential poll were announced. The disturbances were most pronounced in the northern predominantly Muslim states of Adamawa, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Niger and Plateau.

This has come as a bit of a blow to the nascent Nigerian democracy. Churches were faced with systematic arson attacks. Hundreds were reported killed and injured in the skirmishes that erupted in many of the country's 36 states and even in the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja. It is easy to see why the country got into such a mess. Diagnosis is often much more effortless than treatment. In the case of Nigeria, religious tensions, coupled with abject poverty, unemployment and inflation were allowed to fester.

Sometimes in politics stating the obvious can get you into big trouble. Should Christians and Muslims live together in a democratic Nigeria? The answer from many of the country's restive Christians in the predominantly northern states has long been no. But now a growing number of the country's Muslim communities are questioning the merits of cohabiting with Nigeria's Christians. This is especially so, now that a Christian president has been voted into office. Some voices plead for peaceful co-existence.

When history comes to write the sorry tale of confessional strife in Nigeria, the chief villains, will not be the victims of the conflict themselves, but the dithering politicians who hesitate to tackle the problem head on.

Ironically, nowhere is contempt for free enterprise, and its inter-connected evils of fabulous wealth and profits, more intense than in the peripheral and impoverished Muslim areas of northern Nigeria and the oil-producing but underdeveloped backwaters of the Niger Delta.

Jonathan's PDP garnered 22,500,000 votes Its nearest rival, the Congress for Political Change (CPC) party championed by many northern Muslims, and headed by a former military strongman Shehu Mohamed Buhari scooped some 12 million votes. Nuhu Ribadu's Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) came a poor third with just over two million votes.

"To see that the true perspective of the gospel of Jesus Christ is given to people without any contamination or mixture," is one of the most quoted objectives of Reverend Tunde Bakare, Buhari's running mate. Bakare was raised by his humble Christian mother -- in sharp contrast to the aristocratic Buhari who was brought up in the lap of luxury as a devout Muslim. Bakare, the token Christian, was born to a Muslim father he purportedly never knew. This left an indelible mark on the political and ideological orientations of this peculiar Pentecostal pastor.

Such Christian preachers strut unabashedly into the predominantly Muslim northern parts of the country vaunting their religion of salvation much to the chagrin of their Muslim hosts. At best, too much meddling with conservative Muslim sensibilities will condemn Christians to the status of undesirable intruders. At worst, it will undermine national unity in Nigeria on which the country's peace and prosperity depends. To many Muslim northerners, churches embody evil, Christian parishioners -- the devil incarnate. Perhaps it is time to let the churchgoers in on a dark secret. The truth is that they are unwitting instruments of unscrupulous politicians, both Muslim and Christian, who rack up huge profits as the public rails against the rapidly deteriorating living standards.

Against this backdrop, the devoutly Muslim Buhari and the equally pious Christian Bakare make for a perfect match. Bakare's wife, the indomitable Mrs B, as her husband's parishioners affectionately call her, has been instrumental in his entrepreneurial and political careers -- the proverbial woman behind the great man. Buhari's wives, even though not exactly in purdah, are hardly seen in public.

The five geo-political zones of Nigeria are split into predominantly Christian and traditional African animist religious ethnic groups on the one hand and primarily Muslim peoples on the other. Entrepreneur politician Tajudeen Afolabi Adeola, Fola Adeola for short, is the running mate of ACN's Nuhu Ribadu -- the anti-corruption chief patrol officer and a northern Muslim to boot. Ribadu got his great break in life when he was handpicked to head the anti-corruption squad. But even the best of these seasoned Muslim politicians could not take the place of pious Christian, loving and loyal like his Biblical namesake.

This narrative sleight of hand permits for the entry into the political history of Nigeria a southeastern Christian -- Goodluck Jonathan, the accidental heir. Why did Jonathan win when Buhari and Ribadu lost? This failure, by the way, was not for want of trying.

C a p t i o n : Nigeria's President-elect Goodluck Jonathan casts his vote in his native oil-rich Bayelesa State; dancers perform musical Fela Kuti in Lagos on polling day

© Copyright Al-Ahram Weekly. All rights reserved

Al-Ahram Weekly Online : Located at: http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2011/1044/in1.htm
 

Create an account or login to comment

You must be a member in order to leave a comment

Create account

Create an account on our community. It's easy!

Log in

Already have an account? Log in here.

Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
Destee Nigeria : Deadly bird flu strain found in Nigeria, first case in Africa Nigeria 1
Clyde C Coger Jr Nigeria : Nigeria Surprised by News of Possible U.S. Travel Restrictions Nigeria 1
Al D Africa : Serena Williams Quietly Kept Venture Capital Firm's Investment in Nigeria All Things Africa 6
Perfection Africa : In Context Series: The Talking Drums of Nigeria All Things Africa 0
DjajiPrime Nigeria : Happy Independence Day Nigeria, Independence Day Quiz! Nigeria 26
chuck Nigeria : let's do speak about the ongoing crisis in Nigeria : Nigeria 3
shaka64 Nigeria : Nigeria blasts UN for pushing ‘LGBT’ agenda Nigeria 4
Clyde C Coger Jr Nigeria : Nigeria Is Coming Apart at the Seams Nigeria 19
Clyde C Coger Jr Nigeria : Africa's Richest Man Will Fix Nigeria's Chronic Fuel Crisis Nigeria 8
crwn Nigeria : 'Africa's biggest Jesus statue' unveiled in Nigeria Nigeria 14
OldSoul OldSoul : Queens Of Africa Doll Line Is Outselling Barbie In Nigeria OldSoul 4
Liberty Nigeria : Access Nollywood, Nigeria’s Booming Film Industry Nigeria 7
Clyde C Coger Jr Nigeria : Dangote Cement Nigeria Profit Jumps on African Growth Nigeria 4
Clyde C Coger Jr Ethiopia : Ethiopia’s Hot, Nigeria’s Not, for Investors Eyeing Africa Ethiopia 0
jamesfrmphilly Nigeria : Female Genital Mutilation Banned In Nigeria Nigeria 66
chuck Nigeria : Nigeria Goverment Declares Truce With Boko Haram Nigeria 1
Clyde C Coger Jr Nigeria : Nigeria death shows Ebola can spread by air travel Nigeria 5
jamesfrmphilly Nigeria : FIFA suspends Nigeria Football Federation Nigeria 0
Clyde C Coger Jr Nigeria : 60 females, 31 boys abducted in northeast Nigeria Nigeria 10
skuderjaymes Nigeria : The Child Witches of Nigeria; How can these people be so easily mislead? Nigeria 32
jamesfrmphilly Nigeria : nigeria kidnapping a hoax? Nigeria 69
dunwiddat Nigeria : The Pain of Mothers In Nigeria Nigeria 274
shaka64 Nigeria : Nigeria: Dangote Draws Nigeria, France Into 'Cement War' in Senegal Nigeria 0
Clyde C Coger Jr Nigeria : In Nigeria, Queens of Africa steal a march on Barbie Nigeria 3
Clyde C Coger Jr Nigeria : Nigeria marks 100 years of amalgamation Nigeria 0
Ken Taylor Nigeria : Growth Potential fort Small Businesses in Nigeria Nigeria 1
Clyde C Coger Jr Kenya : Kenya says Nigeria's Dangote to build $400 mln cement plant Kenya 2
PurpleMoons Nigeria : Inside Innoson Motor Manufacturing Plant Nnewi Nigeria - World's Nigeria 0
Alarm Clock Nigeria : Nigeria school massacre: 41 children killed, some burned alive Nigeria 24
skuderjaymes Nigeria : Naij - A History of Nigeria by Jide Olanrewaju Nigeria 1
Clyde C Coger Jr Nigeria : Nigeria aims to reduce domestic borrowing next year Nigeria 4
dunwiddat Nigeria : Muslims continue to blow up churches in Nigeria Nigeria 232
skuderjaymes Nigeria : Promoting Privatisation, Deregulation, and Liberalisation (in Nigeria) by Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Nigeria 0
skuderjaymes Nigeria : "If I Die, I die but Nigeria has to move".. #OccupyNigeria Nigeria 21
Ankhur Nigeria : What would Dr Clarke say about the mass movement in Nigeria? Nigeria 7
Ankhur Nigeria : National strikes in Nigeria Nigeria 2
John lucky Nigeria : At Last! – Tb Joshua Speaks On Boko Haram(Nigeria Terrorism) Nigeria 0
Ankhur Nigeria : Shell Oil and Ecological Genocide/ Nigeria Nigeria 3
jamesfrmphilly Nigeria : nigeria goes for chinese yuan Nigeria 4
blackeyes Nigeria : Nigeria gets IQ, memory-enhancing drug Nigeria 7
Ankhur Nigeria : Who or What is Nigeria's Boko Haram?? Nigeria 0
Amnat77 Nigeria : Cutaneous adornment in the Yoruba of south-western Nigeria – past and present Nigeria 1
Ankhur Nigeria : Nigeria says Military Focus should be on Gbagbo instead of Gaddafi Nigeria 2
Omowale Jabali Gabon : Have Nigeria, South Africa, and Gabon betrayed the African Union? Gabon 17
Ankhur Nigeria : George Bush Sr. gets Nigeria to drop charges on Cheney Nigeria 0
Amnat77 Nigeria : WikiLeaks: Pfizer denies dirty tricks claims in Nigeria Nigeria 2
Ankhur Nigeria : Nigeria tells Cheney/ the Game is Up!!! Nigeria 3
Amnat77 Nigeria : Nigeria Child Brides-Broken Lives Nigeria 0
Ankhur Nigeria : Nigeria also hit by Cholera Nigeria 0
cherryblossom Nigeria : HIV Positive Muppet for Sesame Street in Nigeria Nigeria 12
Similar threads


















































Latest profile posts

$1 Billion Black dollars in 30 days
Destee wrote on Marcchris's profile.
Hi @Marcchris ... Welcome Welcome Welcome!!! :wave: ... Thanks for joining us AND becoming a Premium Member! :cheerleader: ... I am honored. Please make yourself right at home! Much Love and Peace.
Destee wrote on rhymebad's profile.
I Love You! :love:
Destee wrote on dunwiddat's profile.
Good to see you Sister! :cheerleader:
Kemetstry wrote on dunwiddat's profile.
Where have you been hiding ?
Top