President Comes, Presidents Goes, Nation Remains


Anthony Akinola


There might have been a time when the implications of police corruption and extortion were not fully appreciated by ordinary Nigerians. When I was about to leave secondary school many decades ago, an uncle suggested I should enroll in the Nigerian Police Force or seek employment as a sanitary inspector. He reasoned it could be the easiest way of making money because there would be those begging me with it.


I honestly did not see anything wrong with his advice, even when his suggested professions made no appeal to me.. We all wanted to make money and the evils of corruption were hardly taught to young children of a generation. We encourage corruption one way or the order. We readily bribe than seek or face justice. Corruption has become a pandemic in our society because we are all involved.


The ongoing protest by young Nigerians, seeking an end to police extortion and brutality-End SARS-has been the most popular revolt in the history of our nation. Every decent Nigerian identifies with it. Even the politicians, whose corruption should be subject to popular revolt, express support. Honestly, Nigerians have been taken for granted. The assumption of their docility has resulted in our nation being a society where anything goes.


Sadly, lives have been lost in the course of the protests. The overzealousness of security  outfits and crudity of hoodlums account for this. There was a report that rapists also took advantage of a chaotic situation. I once wrote an article exhorting President Muhammadu Buhari to be more proactive and presidential in state matters. At the time of writing, the President has yet to address the nation. He should not be talking to Nigerians through special assistants when his voice needed to be heard by all.


However, patriotic Nigerians must always seek to protect the sovereignty of their nation at all times. There would be those who would want to exploit a crisis situation to achieve unconnected objectives. The call for Buhari to resign may be unnecessary. The agitation for the breakup of Nigeria cannot be sustained on the platform of the current crisis, not least because police corruption, extortion and brutality, have been a national malaise. Of course, all religions have failed our nation in this.


There will be an election in one important nation of the world early in November. The African-Americans have not asked to leave their nation because of a President who, from their perspective, has not been the best thing to have happened to America in recent memory. That President could lose or still win another four years in office. The beauty of democracy, especially with its attribute of periodic elections, is that no leader remains in office indefinitely.


Nigeria should be allowed to remain. Many great nations of the world have endured and learnt from serious, historical crises. It is all part of nation-building.