The 2004 hit song “Nigeria Jaga Jaga” by rapper, Eedris Abdulkareem, declaimed corruption and suffering in Nigeria. Former President Obasanjo lambasted Abdulkareem and banned the song. Jaga Jaga remains a negative nostalgia running the whole gamut of human emotion in Nigeria. Speaking at a 2012 Nigeria Leadership Initiative forum in Lagos, eight years later, Obasanjo lambasted Abdulkareem, again: “one of the worst problems Nigeria is facing is disbelief. Nigerians no longer believe in themselves neither do they believe in their country. That takes me back to that song ‘Jaga Jaga’. How could a sane man dare to call his country Jaga Jaga? It is the height of blasphemy.” The masses who bore the brunt of the economic pains were at peace with the song.
When the singer released the album Jaga Jaga, a Yoruba term for ‘shambles’, little did he know he had released a prophesy. Claiming shortcomings akin to Nigeria Jaga Jaga, Obasanjo lambasted former President Jonathan and President Buhari, not to seek re-election in 2015 and 2019 respectively. Nigeria was Jaga Jaga during Obasanjo presidency and Obasanjo fumed!; Nigeria was Jaga Jaga during Jonathan presidency and Obasanjo fumed, again!!; Nigeria is Jaga Jaga during Buhari presidency and Obasanjo fumed, yet again!!! It appears Obasanjo will continue to fume against Jaga Jaga, even in the hereafter.
That Nigeria is Jaga Jaga is not “fake news” à la US President Donald Trump. The hope of Nigeria emerging from Abdulkareem’s prophesy is dim considering the present state of affairs. The siamese twins (APC and PDP) are not answering people’s deepest concerns and needs. I have no clue what the two parties stand for but PDP is counting on a comeback and APC is wobbling like a paper tiger. Nigeria has two “national political parties” that have no agenda. INEC boss said nothing has changed on 2019 election sequence, in contradistinction to the bill passed by lawmakers (a PDP ploy) that changed the sequence of the election. Confusion!
The 1950s-1960s politics of regionalization is back. PDP started as a national party. When they lost power after a clueless 16 years in office they failed to provide a viable opposition to APC and went on a wild goose chase for a chairman with cash. They got one, only that he emasculated the party. The party was later hijacked by newly minted south-south kingmakers. The southeast stood listless by the sidelines and PDP jettisoned the southwest; got chairman Secondus and became a south-south party. “Power to the people” shifted to “power to the south-south people”. APC pretended to start as a national party, even though their politick was to remove Jonathan. They succeeded in removing Jonathan but didn’t know what to do with Jonathan’s power. They continued to blame Jonathan for their failures; the southwest was jettisoned, despite Tinubu’s reconciliatory effort; the core north consolidated power. The party was later hijacked by core north oligarchs and APC became a core north party. “Change” hasn’t changed anything.
Nigeria is still Jaga Jaga, but this time, the jagged edge took another turn as marauding Fulani herdsmen wreaked havoc in Benue. Nigerians expected an accelerated solution akin to “operation python dance”. Instead, they got “operation cattle dance”. The “operation” was hidden in plain sight. A state law was declared unenforceable by the federal police statutorily empowered to enforce the law; controversy trailed the withdrawal of special forces deployed to Logo and Guma LGAs of Benue in the wake of the new year day massacre of 73 farmers/villagers. Miyetti Allah had said: “you cannot change the way of life of a people like the way you turn off a light switch”.
In 2014, there was #ChibokGirls. In 2018, #DapchiGirls, evoking memories of “Chibok conspiracy theories”; controversy trailed soldiers’ withdrawal before the abduction; authorities miscalculated the laws of arithmetic on the number of DapchiGirls’ missing. Yobe police command dismissed army claims that Dapchi was left in its care before the soldiers withdrew. Buhari described the abduction as a “national disaster” but CNN’s Isha Sesay said Buhari’s description was an “understatement”, the abduction is a “national disgrace”. People thought the military had defeated Boko Haram but ex-COAS, Gen. Minimah (rtd.) refunded about ₦1.7billion to EFCC. Femi Adesina said despite Dapchi schoolgirls’ abduction Boko Haram has been “terribly degraded”, not defeated. There are now more girls and ransom to negotiate the release of Boko Haram prisoners, and increase the defense budget of the terror group. Nobody believes either the military, Lai Mohammed, Femi Adesina, or all of them.
As TI rated Buhari low on it’s corruption index, stating that Buhari hasn’t done enough, SERAP backed TI; corrupt politicians, lawmakers, ex-governors and officials still walk the corridors of power, free!; Patience Jonathan asked the Abuja Federal High Court to jail the MD/CEOs of three banks for refusing to comply with the court’s order directing them to lift restrictions placed on her accounts at the instance of the EFCC; ex-SGF Babachir Lawal was arrested and released; ex-CSO Dasuki remains in jail; ex-PDP PRO was stretchered to court; and corruption fight continued to roll downhill.
The only things constant in Nigeria are ethnicity and nepotism. Nigeria’s obsession with ethnicity and nepotism is a poor reminder of how poorly our country continues to turn out in the 21st century. Every Nigerian president goes to Aso Rock carrying his kinsmen, clansmen, village men, state men, tribal men, zonal men, and women too. They all get the juiciest jobs and appointments. Obasanjo’s, Yar’Adua’s, Jonathan’s and Buhari’s presidencies brought agbada and cap; baban riga or dashiki and kufi cap; angapu or etibò, walking stick and black fedora hat; and now another baban riga, dashiki and kufi cap, respectively. When isiagu and red cap or okpu agu will showcase in Aso Rock is open to conjecture. Ooni of Ife, Oba Ogunwusi, said that with the rising rate of youth unemployment, Nigeria is sitting on a keg of gunpowder. I agree with the monarch. Nigeria is still Jaga Jaga.