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Resistance is Futile @chrisngwodo
, 8 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
Our failure to study history has made many of us compulsive revisionists of history, hagiographers&myth makers. So we have a dysfunctional state full of so-called "statesmen"&"elder statesmen." You end up celebrating both Shagari&his overthrower as "statesmen." #Implausible
Shagari wasn't "one of Nigeria's finest." The most charitable assessment is that having cut his teeth in the 1st Republic parliamentary system, he was uncomfortable with executive presidential power. A humble but naive&indecisive man manipulated by wolves&intriguers around him.
That said, Shagari presided over the NPN's corrupt patronage machine that led Nigeria into a recession; the Bakolori massacre, the 1983 "moon slide" travesty of an election, the use of police commissioners to undermine opposition governors&IG Sunday Adewusi's "kill&go" cops etc
The NPN barons chose Shagari over arguably better qualified contenders like Maitama Sule precisely because he had a malleable temperament& was amenable to control. Naturally, figures like NPN chairman Akinloye, Umaru Dikko& IG Adewusi had a field day. His presidency was ruinous.
It was during Shagari's time that Achebe wrote "The Trouble with Nigeria" - a searing critique of the era's politics, society&governance. After the heavily rigged&violently disputed 1983 polls, Shagari reportedly never appeared in public without a bullet proof vest.
The public applauded his overthrow which ended the 2nd Republic. The misrule, impunity, corruption, chicanery& power-abusing tendencies of Shagari's NPN had made military intervention attractive once more to Nigerians. But the damage had been done. The economy had tanked.
Not every public figure that dies should be garlanded as a statesman/elder statesman. Our situation is too dire for such sycophancy. We must be more discerning&historically aware. Let the dead go quietly into the night&rest in peace. Ours is to learn from their lives&be better.
In our society, not speaking Ill of the dead isn't a virtue. Uncritical adulation of dead VIPs is a vice. We have too many whitewashed icons. We need more intelligent iconoclasm&rigorous&clinical interrogation of the legacies of these people. Refuse to fall for ahistorical BS.
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