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As it’s clear for centuries, you cannot be governed by less qualified, even elected individuals, who surround themselves with equally less qualified people and expect efficiency and competence. This article attempts to draw a nexus between the self-absorbed complexion of the imperial rule of Russia’s Nikolai Romanov and Nigeria under President Muhammadu. It highlights what Nigerians can learn from the revolutionary citizens of 20th-century Russia. In his novel, Lake Success, Gary Shteyngart noted,
“We lived in a country that rewarded its worst people. We lived in a society where the villains were favored to win.”I am bold to state, categorically, that nothing near fair can come out of such a society. Like in 20th century Russia under Nikolai II Alexandrovich Romanov, the man who ushered in the end of the imperial system because of his incompetence, unless something creatively practical is done in Nigeria’s next polls in 2023, is tilting towards the line of perpetual destruction. The cluelessness and an out-of-touch outlook that characterised the reign of Nikolai II is very much evident in the present Nigerian government. In like manner to Nikolai Romanov, who was referred to as ‘Nikolai, The Bloody’, the present government has taken no decisive step to bring about, at least, respite for its people. Instead, they have both deliberately and inadvertently colluded with the purveyors of death in Nigeria. The reign of Nikolai II began in 1896 with violence and ended in 1917, also, with violence. His rule ‘spiced by’ misguided advice from his uncle Sergei did not take the people into consideration. As far as Grand Duke Sergei was concerned, the people of Russia were just a means to an end. Furthermore, the fact that Nikolai wasn’t sagacious and assertive enough marked the end of the over three-hundred-year-old Romanov empire. When the word, government is mentioned, the first thing that should come to the mind of any sincere citizen or leader should be ‘The People’. However, this wasn’t the case for the Russian imperial ruler who believed that he was anointed by God. The watershed to the end of the Romanov dynasty was in 1905, ‘Bloody Sunday’.
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On Bloody Sunday, 9th January 1905, just like the 20th October 2020 when Nigerians sat on the floor of the Lekki Toll Gate and sang the national anthem but were massacred by the unrepentant army, the protesters at St, Petersburg were chanting ‘God Save The Czar’ before almost a thousand of them were shot dead. This changed everything. The people decided to cross the ‘Rubicon’ seeing that the current government was apathetic to their plights and even worse, absent from governance. When leaders cede their responsibilities to proxies, let alone incompetent proxies, doom can only be the outcome. Just as Nikolai ceded governance to his uncle, then his wife and Rasputin, the current administration in Nigeria is doing the same thing. It is taking a long hiatus before directly communicating with Nigerians, going on unwarranted breaks, allowing indiscriminate killings and so on.
What can Nigerians do?This begs the question to Nigerians, when is enough going to be enough? As much as we may characterise the government of the day as an out-of-touch government, the people who should be accountability buddies are also out of touch. Yes, we made great strides in October of 2020, however, that’s just a short span compared to the painstaking efforts of the Russians in achieving freedom from imperial rule. It only takes the realisation that power belongs to the people for things to take a radical turn for the better. This, the Russians understood. By 1917, everyone from the top to the bottom of every fabric of the Russian system, aligned themselves to where power should actually reside, the people, and brought to an end the imperial rule. Nikolai II became the last emperor of Russia. In essence, this article does not in any way call for violence. Rather, it calls for patriotism, national feeling and commitment. The eras are different, thus, it is important to also note that the process should be different. We missed the opportunity to right the wrongs of 2015 in 2019, we have to live with it for the next 17 months while being deliberate about the 2023 polls. Anything worse than what we have at the moment spells doom.
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Nigeria, in all its glory and an array of actual leaders and intellectuals, should not be governed by the least of society. According to Prince Talleyrand, a French clergyman and diplomat, “You can do anything with bayonets except sit on them.” You can’t put aside an effective weapon of warfare, leave yourself porous, and expect to make progress. In this case, the bayonet is the lineup of quality hands available to us as a nation. Any nation that glorifies folly and enthrones incompetence will never achieve its objectives. The Nigerian system needs an overhaul with the PEOPLE actually believing that power resides with them and not politicians. It is true that we have regressed many decades backwards and to be fair, not entirely the fault of the present administration, however, Nigeria can be salvaged and directed towards the right path. Featured Image Source: Russia Beyond
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