You will be right if you say that nothing is sacrosanct anymore in Nigeria. Any subject matter can be broached in this clime. Days are gone when certain issues can only be spoken about with muffled tones. Today in Nigeria, people speak from the rooftops about anything.

This new-fangled disposition of Nigerians must be the reason why people are now openly talking about coups. It did not used to be so. Until Nigerians demystified everything, coup d’etat, that illegal and forceful takeover of government by a military organization, was a dreaded subject matter. It was not a matter for banter. Military coups are known to be well guarded secrets. They are not discussed in the open. It is treasonable to do so and the punishment is death by execution. Those who were afraid of having their lives cut short in a rude and sudden fashion stayed away from talks about coup. Even those who did not participate in coup-making but were accessories after the fact were as guilty as the plotters themselves.

But all that has changed. Coups have become a subject of banter. The fact that people now freely discuss military coups is an indication that the country has become a vast land for subversion.

In line with the fact that coups have left their once dreaded province, the Minister of State for Defence, Bello Matawalle, was seen the other day admonishing Nigerians about rumours of coup. He did not see any reason for such speculation since, according to him, all is well with the country under the Bola Tinubu presidency. The minister was echoing the sentiments earlier expressed by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, that the Nigerian Army has no plans to truncate democratic governance in the country.

Lagbaja, a defence chief, spoke like the professional he is. He also spoke matter-of-factly. The Nigerian Army as an institution can never sit down to fashion out a plan aimed at taking over the reins of governance. We do not have any such case in the history of the Nigerian Army or the Armed Forces as a whole. What we are familiar with is a situation where some radical or aggrieved elements within the armed forces take it up upon themselves to force a change of government. But in whatever way it comes, and for whatever reason, military incursion into governance remains an aberration.

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That a minister serving a government that is in the eye of the storm had to also freely comment on rumours of coup is a further indication that we have cheapened what used to be a major national upheaval whenever it occurs. Unlike before when coups were whispered even in bedrooms, Nigerians now make a sing-song of it. For some, it is an anthem of sorts. It can be recited at will. If we want to be sincere or truthful about the way things are in Nigeria, we can say without fear of contradiction that nothing matters anymore in this country. Just as coup talks have become beer parlour gossip, so is everything else.

Because the country has not been made to work in spite of the hope the people have brought to bear on the affairs of the land, many have given up on the country. They are now individuals with scant regard for the collective. The idea of a country that will work for all is fast fading away. The people have come to the sad realization that those they entrusted with leadership do not believe in the country. Rather, they are opportunists who place their personal or group interest above that of the collective.

We must acknowledge the fact that it didn’t used to be this bad. Our leaders of old were not as unpatriotic and uncaring as our present crop of leaders. They took actions that were, to a greater extent, aimed at preserving the union.

Even the military regimes that came in-between the civilian administrations were sensitive about the Nigerian situation. They avoided anything that could widen the gulf between unity and disintegration.

But our recent experience shows, sadly, that we have learnt nothing and forgotten nothing. Regardless of all that Muhammadu Buhari knew about the fragile state of Nigeria, he allowed parochial and sectional interests to take the better part of him. As President, Buhari’s actions were more divisive than anything else.

Now, his successor has followed suit. He appears to be saying that if Buhari used the presidency to favour his part of the country, nothing stops any other person or persons from doing the same. That is why Tinubu is appointing his own kinsmen everywhere. The mentality behind the action is: if Buhari did it and had his way, why not me? From the Buhari and Tinubu examples, Nigeria has become a booty to be shared. It is just a matter of whether your ethnic group or political lineup is in a position to influence things.

This situation does not give hope. It is despondent. That was why the greater majority of Nigerians strived to install a government that would work for the country. But the buccaneers in the system frustrated that effort. But the imposition of February 25 would have been bearable if the government it birthed had not thrown Nigerians off balance. Rather than salvage the country, the new regime kept it on the downward slope. Now, the country is spiraling into perdition. And there appears to be no end in sight to the downward spiral occasioned by bad governance in the land.

From hunger and anger, the country has slipped dangerously into crippling insecurity. Mass abductions are taking place in the North on a daily basis. The criminal enterprise is being run by those they loosely call bandits. They carry out their nefarious activities as if there is no government in the land. They are on a free reign. They seem to be taking a revenge on the contraption that was foisted on the country following the flawed elections of 2023.

But the North is not exactly isolated in this matter. The entire country is in trouble. The insecurity in the land has become widespread. Everybody is running from pillar to post in search of a safe haven. It is this state of anomie that is giving the people the impetus to talk about coups. Having lost confidence in our democratic institutions, the people are not looking forward to the next election. They do not believe that it will give them what they are looking for. They want a quick fix. Will a coup d’etat show the way? I do not think so.