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The bushy aisles of memory lane By Martins Onyeike

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Besides the countless roads littered all over the country that have been rendered impassable by the vulturine activities of bandits and terrorists, there appears to be an inadvertent refusal by Nigerians to ply one major route: Memory Lane. This self-inflicted amnesia has proven time and again to be a terminal disease that is threatening to wipe us off the global map.

In the words of German Philosopher, Karl Marx, “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.” Hence, the popular phrase that lightning never strikes the same place twice has been nullified by our collective penchant for slaughtering the lessons expounded by history on the altar of prejudiced stupor.

The torrid 20 month period between December 31st, 1983 to August 27th, 1985 represents an opaque chapter on the pages of our chequered history book that should never be revisited; unless for purposes of retrospection. On that premise, repeating the same mistake 32 years after, aptly depicts the worrisome state of our concerted derangement.

Chronicling the events that played out then, alongside the realities of today, affirms in totality that no amount of window dressing or costume change from military khakis to civilian regalia can wipe a leopard’s spots. You simply can’t give what you don’t have. The 1983 new year’s eve coup which elicited wild celebrations among Nigerians who hitherto had been disenchanted with the previous administration eventually turned out an anti-climax.

Placing both regimes in proximity, it is crystally evident that not much has changed. As being experienced today; the economic balkanization, rising inflation, alarming unemployment, unbearable hardship and strangulation of free speech appears more deja vu-istic than it comes as a surprise. Not to talk of the petrifying insecurity. In all fairness, a certain volume of that was bequeathed post-2015, but owing to ostensible leadership failure, the monster has grown from bungalow to towered heights.

As the race to 2023 hots up, some certain gladiators who should be laden with the moral burden of foisting this ill-fated government are already gearing up to benefit from a purportedly agreed baton exchange. The most vociferous of such clamours have been resonating from the camp of a misfit, who, unlike the phantom saintly portrait of the incumbent, travels with a weighty obnoxious luggage. Apart from that dissimilarity, all other boxes are ticked appropriately.

Same script, different thespians. No discerning mind needs a mirror to identify the striking semblance between the king and the self-acclaimed kingmaker with an ambition of sitting on the exalted throne. In the build-up to the 2015 general elections, the All Progressives Congress, APC, as a party, mouthed a lot of gibberish about restructuring, and subsequently went mute after ascending power. No word of substance was heard from the principal actors on that hot topic afterwards. It won’t come as a surprise to keen watchers if that corpse is exhumed for ritualistic purposes ahead of 2023. Remember the El-Rufai committee?

In the same vein, the salient issue of medical tourism comes to mind. Whilst a public figure such as the President is at liberty to cater to his health however and wherever he deems necessary, the onus of necessity is on him to unshroud the secrecy related to his medical history; especially as he junkets the world at the expense of impoverished taxpayers. At some point in 2015, he absent-mindedly admitted that his performance would be hampered by old age and ill health when he said: “How I wish I became Head of State when I was a governor or just a few years after, then as a young man, now at 72, there is a limit to what I can do alone”. Till date, that remains the only true assertion made by this government in all of 6 years.

Is history about to repeat itself? The red flags are clearly visible, but are we not going to feign colour blindness just to overlook them? For a character that ordinarily personifies corruption; the excess paraphernalia of a failing health should be the deal breaker for any serious electorate. Without a doubt, the contents of 2 bullion vans can readily buy millions of votes, but life itself is not for sale. The race to 2023 is a marathon, not a sprint. Any greedy politician who overreaches himself may end up needing more than knee surgeries, and lengthy holidays in a UK hospital.

In the words of George Santayana, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” The time to adorn our thinking caps is now.


Against all odds, the elections were held on Saturday, November 6, 2023. Results released thus far shows that Prof. Chukwuma Soludo of APGA has pulled away from the leading pack with an excess of 45,000 votes. However, a supplementary poll for Ihiala L.G.A is scheduled for today, 9th of November.

While commending the good people of the state for swimming through murky waters just to exercise their franchise, I make bold to say that it is not yet uhuru. Remember Kano! Remember Osun!! Let history not repeat itself.


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  1. It will be very interesting to see how things pan out in the coming elections

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