Premium Times (Abuja)

Nigeria: Why President Jonathan Should Sue the British

opinion

Poor Goodluck Jonathan. He thought all he had to do to get Nigerians singing "good luck for you, good luck for me" again was to grow and sustain the economy - a thankless job at the very best of time.

Now he has to worry about people shouting questions to him about things he has no clue about. And, this time, it's not even his fault or that of his fathers. Or, our fathers for that matter.

The poor president just can't catch a break. Fix the power situation and some dudes will soil it with bribes. Fix the roads and planes will start falling from the skies. Go on CNN and tell the world Nigeria is working then come home and hear the damn critics claiming it's not working and with pictures to back it up.

Now Jonathan, who looks great in a military uniform by the way when you place him next to President Olusegun Obasanjo in a military uniform because everyone looks great when compare to a pot-bellied soldier, has to worry about keeping Nigeria together.

In case you've been on planet Pluto, here's a newsflash - Nigeria is 100 next year. A great news given what the country has been through and is still going through. But, a mustached mercenary, soldier and colonial administrator pre-dampened what should have been a joyous year by stating that the country would expire at its centenary.

You could have dismissed that if it was not made by an Indian-born, Englishman called Frederick John Dealtry Lugard. To those of you who went to night school, unlike those of us who failed our way through day school, that man is the one and only Lord Lugard, the founder of what is now Nigeria.

The same Lugard whose future wife, the Dame Flora Lugard, gave Nigeria her name. Think Nigeria is a strange name. It could have been worse. The white folks thought about calling it "Central Sudan" amongst others before the good Dame stepped in and said, "what a minute, this real estate property under the good old Royal Niger Trading Company needs a name that would be an 'agglomeration of pagan and Mohamedan States'".

Yup, we were once pagans and Mohamedans! Then we got religion and got plundered, reorganized into confusion and got a name! You gotta love history.

Wanna know how I know all these? Because I've been researching my country on and off for the last five years. Smart people can do it in six months but you should see my school certificates. I've been researching the history of Nigeria hard because I want to make a definitive documentary on the Nigerian nation someday soon.

It still rankles me that Nigeria is probably one of the most "advanced" countries in the third world that still allows itself to be defined by the western world. That's gotta change. When he was the media aide to President Umar Yar A'dua, my brother and friend, Olusegun Adeniyi, tried hard to make a change in that direction. But, death interfered. Now, maybe we have another shot with the centenary.

In my research I have discovered that the British had no plan for Nigeria. The country was a bookkeeping necessity. The northern protectorate was having a budget deficit, most likely due to poor harvest. But, the southern protectorate was flushed with cash. So, to balance the books, Lugard came up with the ingenious idea of putting both protectorates together into one company, sorry country.

I can hear the Lords from the British empire chatting about the Nigerian problem over tea, biscuits and a little bit of whiskey under the calm skies of northern Nigeria in the second decade of the last century.

Lord Lugard probably looked at some guy called Sir something and says, "the books are looking pretty red, old chap."

Sir something probably takes a sip of whiskey and nods as he says, "bloody hell, it is. I'm down to one tea bag a day."

"We have to do something before the natives suspect we're not geniuses and sons of God," Lugard must have snickered.

Sir something probably replied, "I say we jump ship. We've plundered enough to keep old England running for a few more years."

"No. I say we join the north and south together. The damn pagans down south have more money than they need," Lugard must have intoned.

"I hate those bloody brats with their hot blood, half-knowledge and mouth running like diarrhea," Sir Something must have spat out.

"We've got the soldiers and guns, remember," Lugard must have laughed.

And, voila you got Nigeria!

Economic problem solved, Lugard and his British colonialist went about drinking their tea and whiskey and left future generations with a headache of what to do with dozens of facial marks and tongues that bore no resemblance. People like my great-grandfather came up with a great solution - marry one from each parts.

That was great until we have what the media call a "population explosion". Now, this has become Jonathan's problem. He must solve the economy. And, he must clean up the mess Lugard and the British left. All in the year before the elections that he's not sure he's gonna run in!

I know what I'll do if I was Jonathan. I'll sue the British. That should teach them a lesson and also keep the heat off me for a while.

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