Two things have happened in the last few days that have once again vindicated my arguments about the rule of law and the necessity of a citizenâ€™s revolt in Nigeria. First was the speedy conviction and sentencing to death of one of the Muslim fundamentalist terrorist who carried out an attack against Coptic Christians in Egypt leading to the death of many Christians. The attack was carried out sometime in December 2010, by Jan 2011 it was reported in the media that one of them had been swiftly convicted and sentenced to death while the other two would be sentenced in February. In this instance, the swift application of the rule of law is a deliberate and necessary process for Egypt and indeed any serious nation to rigidly assert its unyielding authority, deter criminals and maintain social order.
The swift conviction of such Islamic mass murderers who attacked a church in Egypt in spite of being a nation of more than 90% Muslims has vindicated my argument for a special tribunal in Nigeria that will quickly adjudicate and convict such criminals as an ultimate deterrent. For more than four decades, terrorist- mass murderers in Nigeria have had a free ride committing acts of mass murder with unrelenting impunity. Sharia bloodletting officially killed about 20,000 people, the real figures are estimated to be over 35,000, Denmark cartoon riots, miss world riots, the Gombe school teacher lynching and the Jos massacres amongst others brings the total to more than 40,000 people brutally murdered by blood thirsty criminals in the last ten years alone, without a single conviction to date of any of the culprits. In more than four decades, it is estimated that over 300,000 people have been brutally hacked to death and on no occasion has there been any conviction for any of these deaths.
Decades of lawlessness and impunity has not surprisingly turned the nation into a virtual jungle where lawlessness thrives and where human life is worth less than that of a Christmas chicken. As I have always argued, any serious nation must use any means necessary to protect the lives and property of her people. Once that basic fundamental lacks, what emerges is a jungle and not a human society. The prevailing chaos in todayâ€™s Nigeria is a vindication of that reality. Egypt is thus teaching us how to apply the rule of law, it is either Nigerian so called leaders (slave masters) learn from the Egyptian example and establish social order or continue in their present route of lawlessness and end up in â€œSodom and Gomorrah.â€
Secondly; the Tunisian revolt is a case study which should inspire every Nigerian whom in comparison to Tunisians has suffered unbelievable penury and dehumanisation. It started with a protest by youths complaining of unemployment, it quickly spread throughout the nation and persisted for weeks on end in the face of repression by the security forces. Few weeks later after numerous broadcasts, initiatives and interventions designed to calm the protesters it dawned on President Ben Ali who had ruled Tunisia for twenty four years that the revolt would not relent, fearing for his life he abandoned power and fled into exile, ultimately surrendering to the will of the people whom are the true wielders of power. The protests have since had a multiplier spill-over effect and spread to Algeria, Yemen, Jordan and Egypt. In the latter, the revolt has already led to significant reforms with the dissolution of the cabinet and appointment of a new cabinet including a hitherto unfilled vice presidential position by President Hosni Mubarak.
What is on display here is the unmistakable reality that power ultimately belongs to the people once they are ready to brave the odds. Notably both Tunisia and Egypt where the revolt has been most ferocious have in contrast to Nigeria very high standards of living. In many indices of socio-economic development, Tunisia and Egypt are in many respects very close to the western world in their standards. Basic amenities and infrastructure such as roads, electricity, healthcare, pipe borne water etc are taken for granted in these nations. Their schools are comparable to schools in the west, their trains and metro line function effectively. According to the CIA world fact- book, Life expectancy in Tunisia at 75.99 years and Egypt at 72.4 years in contrast to Nigeriaâ€™s meagre 47 years is similar to the European average and is a testimony to the very high standards of healthcare delivery in both nations. However, notwithstanding these remarkable social standards, their people nonetheless revolted against a leadership whom they perceived to be corrupt and oppressive resulting in unprecedented changes and political reforms in both nations.
In contrast to Tunisia and Egypt, Nigeria is practically the most dysfunctional and corrupt nation on the face of the earth with an estimated $1 trillion looted to date. There is mass poverty, unemployment and basic infrastructure such as electricity, roads, pipe borne water, healthcare delivery; functional schools etc taken for granted even in the least endowed nations do not exist in Nigeria. The tragedy is such that Nigeria lacks a national airline and even though the sixth largest oil producer in the world, imports refined fuel as monumental corruption has rendered her incapable of refining her own fuel. To make matters worse, the leadership at all levels are self serving brazen criminals who openly indulge in massive robbery of the coffers on a daily basis without any consequence.
Yet, in spite of these tragedies and the fact that Nigerians are treated worse than domestic animals and have consequently been so dehumanised by her leaders, there is no revolt anywhere in the length and breadth of Nigeria. Some say it is because Nigerians are cowards, some others say the ethnic contradictions have made it impossible for Nigerians to unite against misrule. Both observations are undeniably true, but Nigerians will sooner or later have to decide whether to continue in fear and to seek refuge in their ethnic groups while remaining slaves or break out and gain freedom from misrule and poverty. Nigerians need to realise that it is not a privilege but a fundamental right to enjoy all the basic necessities of life including opportunities for employment or enterprise just as it is the responsibility of the government to use every means to deliver on these social responsibilities. This social contract between the citizens and the state is what informed the basis of the human community without which the very idea of a nation is null and void.
What the revolt in Tunisia and Egypt have reinforced is that power ultimately remains in the hands of the people and Nigerians should just like Tunisians and Egyptians rise up against demonic leaders and reclaim their fundamental right to life, to self determination, to prosperity and to dignity.