Though you and I are different in ethnicity and religion, we have many important things in common. I am a few years older than you – which means that if you and I had been Yoruba boys born in the same Yoruba town or village, we would have belonged to about the same age-grade Association ( with us Yoruba, age-grade loyalty is traditionally a very important factor of life). Moreover, you and I were young Nigerians in an era, the 1950s, when our up-and coming country of Nigeria was a source of great pride to its citizens, and an emerging titan eagerly awaited by most informed people all over the world.
The three regions of our federation (East, North and West) were engaged in an ambitious rivalry for progress and for improvements in the quality of life of our people. They were able to do that and achieve considerable successes because our constitutional structure gave them much leeway to manage their own affairs within the common Nigerian family. We arrived at independence in 1960 believing that our country was set on the path to becoming the blackman’s world power of modern times.
Unhappily, now that you and I are in our seventies, there is nothing left of our country’s ambitions and pride – indeed, there is hardly anything left of our country itself. Relentlessly crooked up, violated, robbed and depleted since 1960, our Nigeria seems now to be stumbling towards its demise.
As you prepare for your election, I decided to write you this open letter concerning our country, because I know you will understand the pain and expectations behind my words. The purpose of most of Nigeria’s rulers since 1960 has been to weaken and even destroy regional and local initiatives in order to gather all power, control and influence together at the federal center. Their success in doing that has enabled them to remove the management of development far away from our people, and to institute at the federal centre a viciously corrupt, wasteful and incompetent monstrosity. Reduced to the status of beggar clients of the federal robber barons, the state governments, as well as the local governments, collapsed and fell in line as submissive incompetents and mini-robbers. PROCEED TO SEE MORE ON PAGE2