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Ten years ago

I readily accepted the challenge and thought that the column be tagged ‘Qalama Al-bayan’ Garba Deen didn’t think that way instead, he named the column,…

I readily accepted the challenge and thought that the column be tagged ‘Qalama Al-bayan’ Garba Deen didn’t think that way instead, he named the column, ‘Within the Nation’ placed side by side with ‘Around the World’ a column on world affairs ran for many years by the late Tajudeen Abddulrahim.
Taking a curious look at the last ten years, especially after reading through the first piece written and published on the 10th May, 2003, I feel the task of nation building transcends years and could if care is not taken remain elusive for decades. Writing is such a thankless job and draws applause and criticisms from readers at different times. Same reader who only yesterday applauded a position taken could turn the next day and call you names simply because the opinion expressed today run counter to his line of thoughts.
In any case, the last ten years for me have been most traumatic as far as attempt at instituting democracy is concerned. We did try to advance our points of view as contributions to the national discourse in the various areas of human endeavors. These contributions were often met with mixed reactions from citizens as indicated earlier, but the joy in it is that even if as was the case a few times,  that one wrote in error, the humility that often accompany the feeling to me has been a wonderful lesson that has kept me writing.
I am worried that for the ten years that I have written on this column, the problems of Nigeria have seemingly grown for bad to worst. As I often say these days that I never thought that Obasanjo was a great man until I met Goodluck Jonathan. I was moved into writing here due to the manner General Obasanjo ran down the nation’s electoral experiment in 2003.
Little did I know that the worst was yet to come. The arbitrariness and brazen manner this government has been ran in the last few years is a testimony to the fact that the need to write on how to get things right in fact is just starting. Certainly, governance is at its lowest level and I think the attention henceforth should be to intensify the struggle so that in the next two or three years Nigeria does not again derail into a deeper pit than the one it is in today.
I enjoyed writing in the last ten years and would want to write more in the future as long as I live and the situation permits. Through this column and the one I wrote in the Leadership Newspaper for about five years, I met numerous friends, admirers and has fetched me several enemies as well.
However, I am always guided by my inner conviction and the resolution not to tell any lie against those in positions of authority and as a student of political science, I have a far idea of what that could mean and be. It is always risky to tell a lie against people in authority. My advice to those who write is also that they guard against that.
In May 2003, my thinking was that by 2015 Nigeria would have overcome the numerous challenges of starting democracy. Sadly, many years after that, it appears the nation has moved backward much more than it was in 2003. What that means in my understanding is that the task ahead is much more than what we were faced with ten years ago when the first election under a civil rule took place.
It appears that what happened in 2011 will be a child’s play if what the government in Abuja is doing today towards the 2015 elections is anything to go by. Certainly if care is not taken we may be heading towards a greater danger especially with people like Asari Dokubo already professing violence in the event that Nigerians decide to change the government of Goodluck Jonathan in 2015.
I hope the negative predictions that are emerging would not come to pass. I hope Goodluck Jonathan and his government will not be desperate to the extent that Nigerians and Nigeria will not be the victims.
I see the next phase of this column in different way. If I live and in good health, my attention will continue to be focused on how the nation runs. I hope that things will change for the better but for that to happen, the people have central role to play. I hope Nigerians would realize the critical role and go for it.

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