Nigeria as a country, is the most populated black nation on earth
with a population of over one hundred million people, and it is sadly sitting on a cluster of time bombs waiting to explode with a catastrophic outcome that many will dread. The mélange of communal killings, religious riots/killings, kidnappings, political killings, extremist agitation, corruption, criminally minded populace, unemployment and poverty, lack of purposeful leadership, hopelessness, and an array of despotic leadership have not only made the nation fertile for the operation of Al Qaeda, but have also converged to place the nation called Nigeria on a cliffhanger. Nigeria is on the verge of falling off the cliff or deteriorating to precipice with the amalgam of lingering problems it is facing at the moment. Unfortunately, when an idle mind, especially the illiterate one, cultivating evil thoughts converges with criminal tendencies, extremist of worst kind emerges. Nigeria harbors many people like this whose actions will continue to ignite the inferno that will engulf the nation sooner or later. As a result, Nigeria could be characterized as so fractured and heavily enamored of the extreme ethnic and religious groups whose nuances and actions are aimed to produce incendiary outcome. The nation is sitting on the edge! The center lacks the vision and an actionable plan to create a substantive and moral symbol that would arouse sense of national unity among the citizens of Nigeria. Also, the center could be perceived as despotic and lacking egalitarian principles thereby inhibiting the structural development of Nigeria’s nascent democracy. In the absence of those phenomenon, the virtues of democracy, particularly lack of substantive national symbol, the nation is filled with hopelessness and a sense of despair. The recent religious killings in some part of the country is not helping the matter rather it seem to reveal how deep-rooted the problem of intolerance and the consequent insecurity is in Nigeria. The institution of Sharia law is also exacerbating the lack of unity among ethnic and religious groups. And the consequent appearance of inconsistency of the center smacks deep into the credibility of the federal government to deal with issues in an equitable manner. Corruption in Nigeria is like Herculean battle with hydra. No sooner had one problem been resolved in a “Nigerian way” than many more emerge. When the center is corrupt, it permeates every facet of the society thereby making it difficult to bring corrupt individuals or officials to justice. Transparency International, a Berlin-based organization, in 2003, named Nigeria the most corrupt nation in the world, ranking 132 out of 133 nations with a score of 1.4 only better than Bangladesh with a score of 1.3. In a similar annual survey in the year 2000 by Transparency International, Nigeria was the world’s most corrupt nation. Transparency International ranked 90 countries on corruption and Nigeria was ranked the most corrupt nation with a Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) score of 1.2. Out of 90 nations ranked, Nigeria ranked dead last. We still have a choice! We still have a chance even though the time is ticking. We truly have a chance to enjoy the abundance the Nigeria’s resources have to offer through the portal of democracy or we may be unprepared for the horrid reality of destruction cultivated at the center and harvested at the layers of the system. The center may then not hold if the recipe for anarchy is not replaced with a recipe for egalitarianism and hope. It is a daunting task to solve Nigeria’s protracted problems. It requires enormous leadership to begin to find solutions to the ills. Democracy in Nigeria means DEMOCRAZY because those in power Federal, State, and Local governments, even the highly placed individuals have always gotten away unpunished when they contravene the law. Thus causing the “less-perfect” Constitution that supposedly protects the interests of all the stakeholders to be “nonfunctional.” In fact, the Constitution has never been truly followed in Nigeria. Almost, if not all, members of the Executive, legislative, and Judiciary branches are very loyal to their parties rather than reading to comprehend and follow the very same (nonfunctional!) constitution. So, yelling against violations of the constitution can make sense only in a county where there is unambiguously defined constitution and everyone including those in power respect the rule of law instead of running afoul of the law unpunished. So, everything in Nigeria is a “Party-affair or Man-know-man.” Until we start to respect the constitution to the letter, only then can we truly say we are heading somewhere, till that is done, the bomb is just few minutes away from exploding.