Sometime ago I listed 13 issues that were likely to spell the death knell of Nigeria and I remember listing criminal silence on the part of Nigerians as number 1. I have critically examined the factors that had kept Nigeria on her knees for this long and I have concluded that the timidity of our people, the fear to raise a voice in the face of severest oppression and deprivation and the loss of self esteem ranked the highest in the scale of culprits.
Sadly enough it had not always been so. In the pre-colonial days we had great warriors of note and empire leaders who were ready to lay down their lives in the defence of what they held dear. There were citizens who were very bold, fearless and articulate and were prepared to dare and challenge any tendency towards absolutism, autocracy or untoward tyranny. In those days no leader would dare steal what belonged to the people. Any leader whether a monarch or priest or even warrior that overstepped his or her bounds would be shown the way to the death chamber. In Yoruba land no king or queen would dare go against the wishes of his or her people or for that matter act contrarily to the established norms. The punishment was certain death!
Great men and women of distinguished valour were too many to be listed in a three-page essay. But they existed and history has continued to do justice to their memory.
Nowadays people simply keep quiet and you wonder whether the cruel padlocks used on our forefathers who got carted away as slaves were reserved for them. So many things have gone wrong with the polity, and these precursors of the calamity that has now virtually fallen on our heads have always been with us.
With our eyes wide open we allowed unchallenged the various bogus population censuses that were allowed to pass. With our eyes open, we watched in damned helplessness like zombies the crass award of lopsided legislative seats to a section of the country which would allow perpetual imbalance and master-slave relationship in the land. We allowed creation of many unviable states and crazy number of local governments by the Unitary Military Government at the centre.
With our eyes open we allowed the so-called federal character and quota system jargons to define national participation in the affairs of the land and we allowed instead the jettisoning of merit and fairness.
With our eyes open we allowed the worst insidious design that was meant to cripple education advancement. That criminal strategy is called JAMB. Jamb to me has always meant JAMBAFORITI, the pinnacle of academic treachery. However brilliant you may be, JAMB has a built–in mechanism to make you look like a fool. In our time once you secured good grades at the West African School Certificate level, or the Cambridge University Higher School Certificate or the Ordinary or Advanced Levels of London University General Certificate in Education you were right there at the University gate. Mothers were not required to expose the colour of their underwear to any lecturer or any Vice chancellor or their