Nigeria At 50: How Corruption and Religiously Brainwashed Followers Undermine Progress

Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, is fifty years old. The country that prides itself as the "Giant of Africa" attained independence from Great Britain on October 1, 1960. But there is nothing worthy of celebration because the country has been plagued by corruption, bad leadership and in recent times a large segment of the 150 million populace are brainwashed followers who believe they are servants of people in authority because they are appointed by God. (Some of these brainwashed followers may not even mind a dead past ruler Umaru Yar'Adua ruling Nigeria from the grave) Nigerian brainwashed followers belong to two categories, the educated and poor illiterates, the Muslims among them are the ones who are likely going to be radicalized through a sermon by a fanatic Imam or through influential out of touch organizations like the Supreme Council for Sharia in Nigeria and Council of Ullama who believes there is nothing wrong in marrying a minor and that fifty two year old Senator Ahmed Sanni Yerima marriage to a 13 year old Egyptian girl after paying the child bride parents $100,000 is acceptable and perfect under Islamic law. Sadly, Nigeria's Attorney General who is a Muslim concurred with the clerics verdict.

Why is President Goodluck Jonathan silent on this important issue that could endanger lives of Nigerian or African girl and heightened child trafficking and sex slavery across the continent? Well he is in the middle of an election campaign and he agrees with his Attorney General one hundred percent. Goodluck Jonathan is not a strong leader and he lacks courage and vision he is not fit to lead Nigeria at this crucial moment. And I strongly believe, Ibrahim Babangida and Abubakar Atiku are not fit to rule Nigeria either. The emergence of either Babangida or Atiku will destabilize Nigeria. The Nigerian Christian brainwashed followers are miracle seekers who believes over the top Pentecostal preachers who steals congregation tithes to buy private jets or expensive cars have solutions to all the problems in this world. These charlatans are also spiritual counselors to some very corrupt Nigerian politicians.

The pertinent question is this: Why is Nigeria crawling at 50? When is Nigeria going to be a land where life is better for all and sundry?

Although some may argue there are still reasons to celebrate Nigeria's independence anniversary because the country overcame the painful civil war, where more than one million people died. The country also survived regimes of military dictatorship. Also, Nigeria deserves praises at 50 for its significant role in helping South Africa fight apartheid regimes; and for its role in the Independence of Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia). Sadly Robert Mugabe has turned the country upside down. In addition to these achievements, Nigeria has vibrant peacekeeping forces helping in war torn Africa. These peace-keeping forces were tremendously helpful in Liberia where sanity was restored after the brutal rule of Charles Taylor.

According to data by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and the World Bank, initiative called the Stolen Asset Recovery (Star) It was reported that Nigeria recovered $1.3 billion, money stolen and stashed away in Switzerland and domestic institutions in Nigeria by the brutal dictator General Sanni Abacha who looted $5 billion from the country's treasury. Where is the recovered money? This unaccounted money could have been channelled to improve the lives of ordinary Nigerians? We need an answer from the former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Moreover, it would be interesting if Mr.Obasanjo and his former deputy Abubakar Atiku could tell us the level of their involvements in the Halliburton scandal in Nigeria. The $4 million pay off to Obasanjo and $5 million Abubakar Atiku received through his company, Intels Energy. We also want to know the Nigerian officials that the construction company bribed with $180m. The former Chief executive of US construction firm KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton Albert Stanley, pleaded guilty to charges of corruption relating to Nigerian deals in which KBR secured construction deals worth more than $6 billion by bribing Nigerian officials.

When is Jonathan administration going to "Punish" people indicted by the local "Okiro Report" regarding the Halliburton scandal?

Similarly, former Vice-President Abubakar Atiku need to tell Nigerians without ambiguity what occurred at the meeting between him and disgraced Congressman Jefferson of New Orleans at his (Atiku) Potomac Maryland residence in 2005 where the Congressman who was later busted by the FBI for keeping $90,000 in his freezer, discussed bribing Mr. Atiku to facilitate a technology deal for iGate, a broadband company in Nigeria.

In the spirit of 50 years of independence, General Babangida can redeem some of his battered image if he explained why he annulled June 12 1993 Presidential election. How he squandered a $12.4 billion oil windfall during his tenure as Nigeria's military dictator. And How he used Nigerian taxpayers money for his own investment in Angolan oil industry and for buying Rolls Royce.

It is tragic that corruption is the biggest obstacle confronting Nigeria over $40 billion dollars has been stolen from the country treasury by irresponsible and clueless leaders. And the future look bleak for the country if nothing is done to remedy this. The corruption spreads from Federal to State levels. The Nigerian National Assembly is an irrelevant institution that only siphoned money from the national purse. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo accused members of the National Assembly of milking the public treasury dry and contributing little to the socio-economic development of Nigeria. He also alleged that they consumed a disproportionate chunk of the national budget and have become a burden to the country's democracy.

In truth Mr. Obasanjo critique of the National Assembly is correct even though he is one of the 'Enemies Of Progress' that contributed to Nigeria's woes. Why is each one of Nigerian 109 Senators earning a jumbo pay total $1.11 million a year in a country where many poor folks feeds on less than $2 a day? The Senate President and his deputy even gets more. While each of the 360 members of the country's House of Representatives also received their own jumbo salary package. These lawmakers and many of the State governors lack decency, public service commitment, and work ethic. They are insensitive to ordinary Nigerian sufferings. The Nigerian government is broken and is being held hostage by adventurous barbarians.

When is Nigeria going to have a responsive government that will improve the country's infrastructure, fix the roads, provide electrical power supply, health care, qualitative education, jobs, and security. Nigeria need a plan for future that will make it less dependent on oil income as the only source of revenue. According to BBC: "There are complaints too about the collapse of commercial farming in a country that once used to export food but now spends $6 billion each year on food imports."

In 1960, British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan gave a speech in Cape Town in which he proclaims a "A wind of change blowing through this continent." The survival of Nigeria depends on good leadership, corruption eradication, and for religious brainwashed followers segments of the country to fight for their rights so that political system can work. An average Nigerian is like Willy Loman in Arthur Miller "Death of A Salesman" "He's not the finest character that ever lived. But he's a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid."