Is This the Nigeria of Our Dream? By Muhammed Ibrahim
I once had a postmortem with my uncle who had just returned back from the UK having completed his Masters Degree back in 2012, few months after the fuel subsidy saga in which Nigerians took to the streets in a boisterous and vociferous riot. A particular statement he made has troubled me countlessly whenever I ex-cogitate about Nigeria and her distorted and sulky development.
He told me so many negative attributes about Nigeria including some I’ve never come across. In the end, He wrap it up that: “In Nigeria, the least you know the better for you”. I was very curious to know why, and after several discourse, he started narrating to me how the life in England is, and how it is, by a million miles better than that in Nigeria. With England being one of the greatest country of all time, I became fascinated in his story.
He explained to me that the citizens there are very law-abiding and the government neither impose policies, rules and regulations upon the populace, nor violates the right and freedom of the citizens. He went further to state that whenever someone violates a certain rule, he doesn’t needs anyone to call him to order. All the security operatives have to do is to trace his location, ring the door bell and submit a bill or a fine as reprimand. And its conspicuous that, failure to pay the exact token, the fine keeps appreciating, that of course is to the detriment of the culprit. So why don’t our country be a reminiscent of that of Britain? Why don’t we be as developed as Britain? Why is our right and privileges always compromised?
Intriguingly, while I was in secondary school, I also had another discussion with my teacher and it is, of course about Nigeria. He also told me that: “The rich is getting richer and the poor is getting poorer”. Although many students are afraid of him. My closeness with him prompted me to request for the statement to be lucubrated. I was reluctant to believing all he was saying. It was there he begins to tell me how teachers have been discarded and turned into nonentities in the society, paving the way for some illiterate politicians to assume prominent position and status. He told me how he has been marking WAEC scripts for ages, only for him to be paid in kobos per script. The marking persists till it gets to a time where due to constant usage of lamp and lantern to mark scripts, he begins to develop eye problem which later worsened. He was neglected and had to use his resources and meagre pay to fund himself via an operation worth thousands of Naira and also another hefty sum of money to buy a medicated glass. Since then, he vows not to mark scripts again. He also complains about how an ordinary Councillor, who could hardly read or write as well as never a somebody, who could even count money, is rated high in the pecking order, pocketing huge sum of salary alongside his wife if he had any, while teachers are left with a meagre salary which is often delayed.
Having gone this far, I decided to conquer with them both (My uncle as well as my teacher in secondary school). During the two instances, I was still adamant to believing them. I thought they were talking out of prejudice. As I grow older and begin to mature, and my perception improving with the realms of reality and intellectualism, I now assimilate, understand, and view all they told me as fact not mere talks.
In Nigeria today, the poor masses are so useless that the only way they are worthy of recognition is via hard labour, polling units, working for the richest elites to earn a living not to mention but few. The poor masses have persistently been raped of their resources and legitimate rights by our politicians, who are usually money-mongers. Our voices are often neglected, our rights persistently violated and our lives no longer secured.
When ever election approaches, the political elites tends to become very close to the poor masses. That is the time they canvass and make vacuous promises that never come to fruition. They interact with people in the society touring all the nooks and crannies in the process, socializing with all and sundry with the sole aim of gaining respect and endorsement. Once voted in, Abuja becomes their adopted domain and you never got to see them again, neither will you be allowed to suggest nor seek for the fulfilment of the promises they make while on course to election. Some bold persons in the constituency seeks to come over to the National Assembly to see them but were never allowed. The presence of heavily-armed security personnel at the National Assembly is a huge phobia, and their special advisers never help matters.
They quickly forget how you sacrificed your time and energy under the igneous sun experienced in Nigeria to vote them in; how you kill yourselves in order to canvass and show support to them; how you’ve kept malice and adopted a truculent nature towards others who rants and criticises them; how you slept at various collation centres to avoid rigging and election malpractice in order to pave way for them to assume office; how you seat gallantly in your various chambers and village squares to talk vigorously about them and fight with anyone that opposes them.
Further more, Abuja becomes their primary constituency while the real ones are never regarded with utmost consideration. The constituency, which is a factor to deal with, becomes a factor to be conquered with. The constituency suddenly turns into a hell that people have huge apathy towards. Neither a single block nor project will be erected or put in place. All they have to do, and would always do is to sit down in the House on top of your billions, staring their eyes all angles, making incessant business calls while the sitting is on, some often neglects the theme of discussion for their gadgets. Supporting of bill or motion is never their business, while their selfish interest always comes first. The once flat-bellied man you voted in starts having intruding stomach and whitened skin while every Musa, Emeka, and Adewale is busy lamenting and working tirelessly in the farm to earn a living with little or no pasture.
If by any chance they have to come down to the constituency, the terrifying, ear-separating and air-splitting sounds of siren becomes a stumbling block for you to make contact with them in most cases. The presence of highly-equipped security with sophisticated weapons is no doubt an intimidation to the ordinary poor man hitherto, he’d force to swallow his rage and walk away agonisingly. The good ones try to come late at night and left very early in the morning just to avoid you and the possible demand you have, which of course to them, is a big burden. These are the set of people we all voted and entrusted our trust upon. These are the people that have investments outside the country, and not even a clinic is constructed in their constituencies. These are the people with huge allowances while the minimum wage is still a mirrage. These are the people with flashy and luxurious cars while a common bicycle isn’t affordable to the poor. These are people whose children studies abroad while that of the poor is ravaged in constant strike, and often in dilapidated classrooms, with schools that have bookless libraries, laboratories that are ill-equiped and environment which is very harsh, and as it is the norm, not very condusive for learning.
At first we all thought we voted for credibility and competency because they present themselves to be lambs in a snakes’ body- very hard to predict and determine their real colours. We have many problems that are in dying need of solution, and they promise to fulfil them. But ironically, here we are today, wallowing in all sorts of hardships and predicaments.
Ours is a country where people die and are soaked in blood week-in-week-out; ours is a country where power supply is amongst the worst in the world and where billions have continously vanished in thin air in the amendment of the power sector, and where every November and December is a month of redemption constantly announced by the FG and the Minister for stable power only to fail in the long run as prognosticated by everyone; ours is a nation where corruption is the norm and the only functioning institution, which is highly recognised and patronised in the country; ours is a country where the law is consciously blind and many dubious decisions have been made both in the past and present; ours is a nation where the law makers are the highest paid in the world and with ridiculous allowances, and are always not in their constituencies or in their sittings to merit the preposterous pay; ours is a nation where 5 persons are greater than 27 as was manifested in the recent Rivers State crisis and fracas; ours is a nation where 16 governors are greater than 19 in the erstwhile NGF election, and where a conspicuous loser claims victory and the winner is never recognised; ours is a nation where crude oil theft is of the high and it is sold at N97 despite us being one of the largest producers of crude oil in the world with approximately 2.28 million barrels produced on a daily basis, and amazingly, a very well-known and recognised thugs have been mandated to assume the role of the Navy in guiding and protecting oil theft; ours is a nation where youths and masses are ravaged in great unemployment and abject poverty, their future being jeopardised and no any glimpse of hope there will be improvement anytime soon.
With all that’s been said, I now believe that the rich are getting richer with our money while the poor will continue to lie in deep poverty. Our dreams and goals have also been shattered and dented. If we hadn’t known all these fact, it would have been better. Now that it is been unveiled to us, we seem to get infuriated but there is nothing we could do than to lament, rant, criticise while they begin to share, manipulate, compromise, buy and sell our future.
All we need is a credible leader that could restore the past and lost glories of Nigeria. We shouldn’t vote, criticise and rant along the parallels of regionalism for we never know the messiah that will bring stability, tranquility and decorum in the country. We need democratic leaders and the poor masses are the major determinant of the criteria we should vote along in times of general elections.
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