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Nigeria needs a bloody revolution, says Nwabueze

Written by Dike Onwuamaeze
Ben Nwabueze, professor of law and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, says a bloody revolution is necessary to sanitise Nigeria

The auditorium of the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs, NIIA, was filled to capacity on June 7, as many Nigerians gathered to witness the public presentation of the latest book of Ben Nwabueze, professor of Law and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN.

Majority of the invited guests had expected to hear from him his inspiration for writing the book titled: Colonialism in Africa: Ancient and Modern, (Volumes 1& 2).

But, when the erudite scholar and Nigeria’s foremost authority in Constitutional Law mounted the podium, he announced to his audience that he would not utter a word on the book. He would rather leave that to the book’s reviewer as he was burdened with much weightier issues of finding solutions to corruption ravaging the country, especially at the National Assembly, a place he said, had become “a gathering of thieves.”

The Nigerian society today, the professor said, had become thoroughly rotten and in need of urgent transformation into a new one as part of the duty his generation owes to themselves and their children. But this transformation, he said, required more than the occasional changes here and there that the country has became  used to. It would require something more radical and surgical to accomplish.

“No, we have passed that. We have passed that kind of transformation. I believe in a surgical transformation. I have to say that the rottenness in this country can only be cleared by blood; a revolutionary change, no matter how bloody it will become. And those who survive will pick up the pieces,” Nwabueze said.

He said that the time had come for Nigerians to stop their usual talks on corruption while the malaise is eating deep into every facet of this country and brace up to the challenge of eradicating the cankerworm through a bloody revolution. According to him, Nigeria needs “a big change in the magnitude of the French revolution.”

Narrowing down his comments to the National Assembly, the former minister of education told his audience that the Presidential Advisory Council, PAC, which he is the vice-president, had met on several occasions to deliberate on the issue and were shocked by the details of corruption taking place in the legislative chambers. “You do not know the details, we do, and it is unbelievable that what is going on there could happen in a society where people have conscience,” he said.

But not all members of the PAC felt the same way as Nwabueze did. Theophilus Danjuma, retired Lt general and chairman of PAC, believes that Nigeria does not need a revolution to be transformed. Danjuma, who was also the chairman of the book presentation, said that “revolution devours its sons. Revolution knows no enemy and you can never tell how the event will end. It is an exceedingly very costly means of transformation.”

Danjuma, who described himself as an optimist whenever Nigeria is the question, said that one good leader could change Nigeria for the better. But the country is yet to find such a man. Even at that, the chairman of PAC hoped that the country would wobble  through. “I believe that we shall overcome. I believe that we shall muddle through. Nigeria shall muddle through,” he said.

Kuforiji, former minister of commerce, said that even though revolution might not be answer to all our society’s problems, the situation in our country required the womenfolk to rise up. She regretted that their current complacent attitude has shown that the Nigerian women do not have enough fire in their belly. She said that the women “must stand up and to be counted and say their mind about what they think of this country.”

Ndubuisi Kalu, a retired admiral and former military governor of Lagos State, said the country urgently needed a change because time is running out. He believes that it is either we do something urgently or something will revolt against us in the near future. “Corruption is growing. Kidnapping is on the rampage. And if we keep on striking match near inflammables and you only live in the hope that nothing will blow up, God may save you, but someday he may not,” he said.