The grotesque Nigerian twins called democracy and military rule are crucially joined at the stomach. The military politicos and the civilian politicians eat into the same fat stomach like Siamese twins.
It is little wonder then that two generals of the military, who were former heads of state, have served as civilian presidents since Nigeria’s much-ballyhooed 1999 return to democratic rule.
No Nigerian can forget in a hurry that on May 29, 1999, a military head of state handed over power to a civilian president who had pulled off his army uniform after serving as a military head of state.
Call it “Army Arrangement” and Fela Anikulapo-Kuti will take a bow in his grave.
What passes for democracy in the old country is what has come to be seen as the recycling of old military power.
The military potentates are being lionised by their toadies for giving Nigerian democracy iron teeth, a feat beyond the soft ways of civilian politicians. The most despicable lackey of current Nigerian power – his name is not important – has come up with the baloney that his master Buhari towers over legendary leaders, such as Zik and Awo.
The rotund lickspittle in the house of power was wise enough to leave out the names of Ahmadu Bello and Tafawa Balewa in the Buhari popularity effusion in order not to ruffle feathers in his master’s hisbah constituency. A slice of suya for the very wise court jester!
Back in history, Nigeria’s first military coup was arranged by Emmanuel Arinze Ifeajuna, Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu and their fellow majors with the aim of cutting off the 10-percent, big-for-nothing thieving stomachs of corrupt politicians.
The naïve young majors were, of course, swept aside for corruption to take full sway in the country where the inheritor head of state, Yakubu Gowon, made broadcast to the world that Nigeria’s problem was not money, but how to spend it!
To help him spend the overdose of Nigerian money, youthful Gowon packed his cabinet with ancient and modern politicians and soldiers of fortune.
Whilst Gowon and gang were busy eating into the same stomach, the ports jammed up with cement armada of acute and chronic corruption constipation.
No-nonsense Murtala Mohammed then rose to power and in his characteristic manner of shooting first and thinking later, he hot-headedly killed the civil service in the same manner that he had massacred Asaba men who had come to pledge support for the federal soldiers during the Nigerian Civil War.
Murtala’s promise of ceding power to the politicians of stomach infrastructure was fulfilled by his successor Olusegun Obasanjo, who added the twelve-two-third bugaboo.
The Second Republic of President Shehu Shagari took barely four years to be overthrown by Muhammadu Buhari, who, incidentally, is back in power today as a civilian president. Yes, indeed, things change only to remain the same in Nigeria.
The story was told of rugged politician S.G Ikoku telling his wife on the morning of the Shagari overthrow: “There is no coup. It’s only the military wing of our party, the National Party of Nigeria (NPN), steadying the ship of state!”
Many opposition politicians of the Second Republic were sentenced to uncountable years of imprisonment, while the potentates of the ruling NPN supped into the same stomach with the military brass-hats.
The erstwhile hypothesis of Nigerian politicians and soldiers being joined at the stomach like Siamese twins has since become a thesis.
Fast forward to the much-abused “clueless” watch of the then President Goodluck Jonathan when a military lord in the shape and size of Sambo Dasuki took the special charge of distributing cash to ill-assorted politicians for consultancies and prayers!
Fela Anikulapo-Kuti will never truly die, so long as his lines, such as “Soja don put everybody for reverse” remain on the lips of all and sundry.
If it is military rule we want in this benighted country, let’s call it by its name instead of abusing the hallowed name of democracy. With the aid and collaboration of military jackboots, politicians can steal as much as they like without the constitutional order being respected at all.
It was the former chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, who put it out boldly that all sins of every corrupt politician are forgiven once he or she joins the party.
The stomachs of the soldiers and the politicians keep enlarging, while the workaday Nigerians are suffering and smiling and dying. Army generals openly admit publicly to the fact that that they bought ornate houses in Dubai under a constitutional democracy without the heavens falling.
The due process is suborned at will in this land where soldiers and politicians share a large stomach that is indeed bottomless.
Let me end with the words of my late great friend, Chima Ubani, who told me before his problematic death: “Revolution is inevitable in Nigeria.”
*** By Uzor Maxim Uzoatu