One Suicide Too Many In A Nation With Teeming Youths Struggling With Change And A New Order
By Jimi Bickersteth
Enjoying my annual vacation,lying on the Akodo beach today,doing nothing begins to pall after a while.I elected shortly thereafter, to drive the 60-some kilometres back home,rather than the golf-club, as I originally intended. On the wheels, I kept ruminating on the ‘be hopeful, never despair’ talk of the Buhari’s administration.
The unfolding and unfurled youths taking a swim in the heart of the Lagos lagoon, out right looping of rift knots around the necks, pockets of matricide and patricide elsewhere in and around the nation. The massive use of drugs,here, I have Paraga,Tramadol and that Cough syrup with Codiene in mind.It’s shocking.
I came to the conclusion, that,much as it is fashionable and welcoming, the government’s talk was so reassuring as it sought to buoy and sustain hope in the people and country. The snag is that, it is fast becoming pretty difficult to assess the impact of government’s assurances,on the teeming mass of the nation’s youths,the not so elderly, the veterans and on the nation itself; in this era of privatisation, liberalisation, asset-stripping,recession,vandalisation,rationing, load-shedding,belts-tightening and wholesale change.
I’d assess the chances of the government’s assurances and Sweet talks getting to the targeted audience as extremely low.
None the less,the assurances and the spate of suicides and wild and pathological lineal killings affords all, the chance to assess and reassess what, where and who we really are.
Let’s be realistic: any one who has any imagination at all is going to be concerned about happenings in our country. Everyone is worried stiff about the state of the nation generally,with the bleak image of future problems lurking just around the corner at the next bend.Even though, the administration has neither been forthright nor forthcoming in its delivery and paths and formula for the nation’s economic recovery and social emancipation, as the politician, in the witty characters in the corridors of power often took control.
The government, its ministers plenipotentiaries have said everything they have planned to say, but have more often than not ended up with mere rhetorics in the attempt to toast the unsuspecting citizens and kept its army of youths further restive and spineless.
The present administration, have forgotten to inform the nation’s youths about how and why:
i.) their country entered upon a history of social and political development, at one modified by the varying influence of ecology,which differed greatly in detail and customary appearance, but retained nonetheless, an essential similarity of basic attitude and belief,and surviving within their pitying limited talents,and while also consistently nurturing and struggling peaceably with the culture of unity within diversity.
ii.) Why like their parent’s and guardians,the youths are been conditioned and consigned eternally to go through numbing economic labour and pains that hurt so deeply, so badly, that words cannot describe, but shows on the weariness etched in their deeply circled dark eyes devoid of laughter, all looking older than their ages.
iii.) Why they are forced to go through such a roller coaster of worry, till despair became their soulmate, with insecurity, hunger, grief in tow, and struggling ever to shake the tree of life itself for some subsistence.
iv.) Why they have to keep surviving on mere instincts, not knowing for sure where the next meal would come from. All, due to no fault of theirs,just, that they happened to be borne and bred within the Nigeria geo-space.
v.) That we are where we are not because of lack of will and or resources, but because of past and present political leaders lacking in confidence and convictions,that a kind of serenity comes only over a people and leaders who have convictions, and in the centre of the serenity is the sunlit oasis call success.
vi.) How the government is or has planned to effectively and efficiently meet all challenges confronting it on the nose.
The administration have often bought the nation over with the notion, of, nothing in life is fixed and permanent and that the problems confronting it today were as a result of yesterday’s poor economic programmes planing and execution.
This notion,the nation know, is why to some extent the nation is able to speak of a Nigeria, today, with a civilisation, where things are always changing but not static; where we kept developing out of our genius and or by symbiosis with creation, of much originality and splendour.
But with the nation static as it were,so to speak, one ponders, and thus,may ask,wither the ingenuity, creativity, ambition and desire that can change the nation from a wobbling drifter and dreamer; and emerge from the prison we have been living in. It appears to have gone with the wind, the moment crisis surfaces at the nexus where leadership and followership meet.
Need we remind our leaders that globally and everywhere the worldover,sociopolitical ideas change,the economy often and constantly develop and metamorphosed, and new ways of life from one that is always faint and often arbitrary, generally are different from those of few years ago, and the influence of the changes becomes greater.
But why is our nation ,daily looking gutted,and as if it has gotten stuck in one place,with the ever widening chasm berween the “haves”and “have-nots” getting deeper and wider and far apart,as the politicians went forth with sharpened sticks to hunt wooly mammoths.
You will discover that very little separates our present leaders,(even with their superior education, knowledge and extensive travels; which in itself is another area of education and knowledge), from our fathers,some of whom have limited access to education and or could not lay any claim to the kind of worldly sophistication of this days,and who mostly saw themselves as a part of forces of nature, and a puppet, subject to its whims and caprice.
One expects our new generation leaders to see themselves as part of the forces and able to deal with it according to their desires and abilities,to invent and improve the lot of the society’s, and tackle the challenges poised by how man could develop the youths strength and resilience, whose status,influence and importance should gradually increased under the impression and influence of political and economic development.
But today, you have leaders that could not equal, not to talk of surpassing the works ,ideals,ideas and performances of the nation’s founding fathers,and still stubbornly refusing to wipe their feet. For how long do they think the brainwashing and mass messmerising,and perpetual pauperization will continue to work.
But one thing is sure,and all should know that even though the human bodies as wired is a tremendously delicate,complicated piece of machinery subject to take all sorts of hidden strains,stresses and a lot of abuse; bad governance and maladministration inclusive. But a point finally comes where it wont take anymore.
This days it appears there is too much tension in our life. The sense of strain,the pessimism brought about by no water, no light, no food, no work; not the kind of tension that enables us rise to the potentials in us,but the kind that hurts,cripples and limits people. This cold tension is increased by the stridency of the media and their preoccupation with gloom, doom,crime, disaster, inflation,loans, taxation and every other unpleasantness known to man.
It is rather sad, that, the Nigeria nation has gained nothing and learnt nothing, with its rich cultural life; a characteristic but rare pattern of large urban settlements; and complex political systems;of course, a people generally disunited except in religious and ethnic loyalty.
But, even at that,the people have happily and successfully evolved from the process and balance of cultural synthesis, between existing indigenous people,the intrusive colonialist, the military and the politicians.
You begin to wonder why the nation have been able to survive and sufficiently prosper, and have within these limits, an almost endless development of political and social authority.Though based on a steadily growing class,
yet, has a highly complex balance of intra-group power and interest,embraced in a stability founded upon the success of their patterns of community life and production.
Because of the winner-takes-all of the presidential system,the nation have slightly deviated from a hitherto and seemingly successful pattern and in the process,have mortgaged and in other areas totally abandoned the future of its youths,with little or no youths empowerment and development programs.
What we have today,which the government appears not to be interested or give adequate and due attention to, is this widespread common demand for a stronger community leadership such as could afford better self-defence and more effective mass participation in governance.
The insecurity and fear that has given way to some spurious demand for independence,stemmed from the lack of enduring and sustainable community leadership, seemed to have
i.) halted the process of autonomous development, ii.)produced godfathers in stronger politicians and moneybags,
iii.)greedy and selfish elected Representatives:
a combination of
all of this in different measures and curious mix,have capitalised and used the unfortunate circumstances of the youths to lure them as political ‘foot soldiers’,because the end result of the illogical system,promoted political imperialism and fertile creation of artificial ruling classes, dynasties and a moribund conservative aristocracy standard, which tended to abrogate condescension to a policy of uneasy partnership with the local population, and the big brother in Abuja doling out subsistence to the state.
To our utter chagrin,you will discover that the survival of the thirty six federating States is tied to the apron string and goodwill of Abuja.An attitude and policy that does not favour social and political integrations, neither are they in the interests of our teeming youths, nay,the entire nation,and,has invariably, slowed down the nation’s march into the mainstream of world politics, albeit, encouraged its permanently idling away at its periphery and threshold.
The political situations in the nation, have ,like it or not, created new areas of instability;new situation of tension have developed; and radically new imponderables has been introduced into our body politic, national relations, unity and cohesion, which in its normal political connotation should have been out of the question in the nation’s politics.
If you ask me,my take is, with the modern divide and rule tactics employed, if you catch the drift,it really, does not appear, that PMB is determined again, to assert control over the face and direction of the nation’s political life. He certainly, must have come in contact with volatile and scary information,data and details,add to this, the pantomime of panic in his body language,and a picture began to emerge.
In any case, if the government in its social and political pretensions, does not know, the existence of vertical and horizontal hostilities across the nation are a combination of the effects of ethnically induced and unresolved problems,social malcontents, privation and deprivation, on one hand, and principally ,due to man’s inability to adapt to change, particularly,one without order, context, meaning and perspective, which is often strange.
The gluttonous politicians prefer the business and looting as usual; the restive citizens are poised to move from point A to B; by whatever means possible; the elected representatives are busy demeaning one another with immoral, puerile and childish comments and behaviours; padding, inserting, appropriating, and loading, leaving an unstable nation with a confused and a lone one-man riot squad,a PMB whose greatest asset is his zero-tolerance for corruption and indiscipline,but without a clear pattern and enabling laws to change the status quo;leaving an expectant nation, its youths,the elderly and if you like the children,infant and generation yet unborn with a ‘change in chains.’
The political elites ,political jobbers and the vocal minorities in our midst, have destroyed the super abundance of comfort that has pleased nature to endow the nation,and skillfully replaced it by the economic enslavement of the entire Nigerian people who now buy a fifty kilogram of rice for 16k; a sizeable tuber of yam is 1k; and as if it is cursed, retrenchment and its cousin ,downsizing ,is now rampant in the service industry.
The peculiar mess is prompting our youths to crash borders,even as they take motivation,inspiration, goading and advises from the wrong sources,who, themselves are in need of proper motivation, correctness and a leadership that is self-motivated.
That is why you have a nation that is witnessing an awesome vandalisation of its economic resources, including bombing and bursting of NNPC oil pipelines, while also learning new legicos and its evils on the families: privatisation, padding, subsidy, technical devaluation, parallel,recession,MMM,Lotto etc.
The nation’s teeming youths are aware of:
I.)the ‘negative’ power generated by disgruntled, power-hungry and ambitious politicians,whose behaviours have become a constant stream of distress in the nation’s consciousness;
II.)inherent instability in the internal workings and arrangements of government,
III.)how Nigerians, who felt change has come,have been left aghast and open mouthed, and
IV.) as the political parties and their leaders are heating the polity.
Here ,the nation ,has a ruling party in the APC ,a party who in its ignorance and naivete,is quietly making the nation ungovernable for itself;and also, making it almost impossible for its administration to effectively assert the needed and necessary control over its change agenda vis-à-vis the promotion of the nation’s growth and development. The swansong is APC in ròfòrófò(muddy) fight with APC. A misnomer, you’ll say.
It is an abnormalities and consequently an aberration,when a nation, has to spend as much money as it spends annually on Education to bribe and placate the jaded nerves of insurgents. What kind of nation injures itself,its peoples psyche and particularly,its able-bodied youths, who used such money collected to carouse.
Of course, this wholly unexpected Santa Claus offering, and the youths Oliver Twist’s want more attitudes and greed all over the nation’s econo-space, has slowed down the pace of the much expected, systemic,organic, sociopolitical, economic and cultural change anticipated, such as, could have laid the groundwork for the nation’s Renaissance, raised its living standard,and accelerate the pace of a renascent nationalism.
It is sad,that with all the labour of our heroes past, we still have a country, where,a tripartite wide gap have opened up between the political parties, its leaders and the masses,and this gap continues to widen rapidly, amongst parties, who, ideally, are supposed to be equal partners in the national boardroom. Therefore, today, the nation is still confined to its usual, traditional and self-limiting patterns and ways of life.
The truth be told, and one’s guess,is that perhaps the government is aware,that the youths,nay Nigerians are been confronted with invaders under various aegis, names and missions ,and whose effective power have become far greater than their own, and able to defend their rights to exist in earlier times, could now no longer do so.
The youths or simply put,the people are now suffering under the grinding heels of not only political predators and gladiators, but also those of local conquerors, and a government that on one hand is too cautious and on the other too timid to act decisively, to unleashed the chained elephant,free the nation ,even as it impact it the required and necessary impetus and dynamism.
How far the nation, under the APC, could go in redefining the process and steps of rediscovery, in this auspicious time and period of recycling of personnel, lopsided appointments, loans-seeking, weak supervision, control and exploitation,which has certain common characteristics, but greatly varied in its detailed consequences,is yet to be seen, but we are unrepentant optimist.
At any rate, much as the consequences varied in detail, democracy and its “winner-takes-all” precedent and antecedent, has done little or nothing to close the political power gap with everything that this has meant for peace,progress and even development.
Invariably,Nigerians have lost their independence,and,with this, their capacity to develop along their own lines, which apparently, gave no hope or a future with any head-start to its teeming youths,who,themselves, have lost,in short, the command of their own history, due largely to the strange format of federalism the nation has to showcase.
Little wonder pocket of resistance here and there from those of them pretending that they want to regain and retain the command of their heritage and history. This has given birth to gangsterism,use of cheap and illicit drugs, local herbal gin, lotto, flagrant disobedience, night clubbing, kidnapping, and robberies. It is one’s hope that this is thinking seriously about the nation’s future.
At a time the new world continue to advance to industrialism, Nigeria’s leaders, in spite of the nation’s favourable weather,cultivatable land mass,capital and abundance of human resources, have made the peoples general state in fact less favourable to progress and with living with remorseless rise of inflation, have now resorted to sweet-talk it will appear.
Meanwhile, all the government and its functionaries needed do is to explain to the nation and its youths,why the nation:
a.) could not take advantage of the large introduction of mechanical and even industrial technology all over the world, with the stupendous allocation to Agriculture,commerce and industry.
b.) arrange for deep mines to be sunk and exploited;
c.) thrust railways inland from the seaboard;
d.) excavate modern ports;
e.) build more refineries;
- ) allow motor cars and trucks increasingly displaced primitive methods of transport,OKADA and NAPEP; and
g.) allow a new commercialism begin to flourish.
Although,whether in reference to the state of the nation today, or to modern theories of development, the central point here is that with very few exceptions,this,a-g, is always an unassimilated technology,but could still have moved the nation forward in the interim,in as much as the nation is still lacking in any great technological and mechanical power.
The government should know that it is obliged to remain looking for a way out of the current recession and malaise.Nigerians including its youths, its companies and entrepreneurs could still excel in skill and ingenuity, if only the government could put down its feet,even as it frees the economy of the influence of the nouveau riches, in possession of the oil blocs and the commonwealth.(who government must freeze out).
It is an inexplicable irony,and difficult to explain to our youths, that our nation is more dependent on the industrialised world than it was under colonialism,(up to toothpicks and matches). A nation that was once a leading world exporter of raw materials and primary products have now become importer of such products. What a score sheet!
In the face of these odds,government’s toasting and continued use of lip service is reducing creativity to an empty formalism, and, one employing the weapon of the weak, guile. While the political leaders steal and cart the nation’s money abroad. It is obvious that our own leaders,seem to forget that the gap in prosperity and economics of developing and developed nations are due to capabilities and capacity for applying modern technology and science to production process, backed by the stolen money in the havens of the developed nations.
To combat the challenges of change, and further deepen our democracy therefore,our politicians must:
1.understand the importance of politics and its interfaces with economics, the social sciences and engineering. This requires that a new orientation,better ideas and ideology with meaning, context and perspective be put in place.
II.)The people including the youths should be made to participate in governance as well as in the management of the nation’s resources, which require the government at all levels to be honest, transparent and open.
III.)The government should be close to the people,unlike the aloofness and arrogance we have parading the corridor of power.
IV.)The government should not be timid to call for the peoples input on knotty issues, that may affect or impact the overall wellbeing of the people and by inference the nation,on the principles of the law of informed consent.
V.)The Revenue Allocation Formula and the Petroleum Bill should be revisited with all seriousness and caution.
VI.)To assuage the feelings and calm the pulses of those agitating for resource control. This agitation have placed so much pressure on the government and a source of constant distress and national embarrassment . These pressures,whether internal, external,acquired or inherited, certainly raised a common demand for effective community policing and a right for a leadership that could afford to provide better self defence, provide better economics through dynamic policies, while motivating communities for autonomous development and self sufficiency in this days of dwindling revenue and largese from government.
VII.)The government must be at the vanguard of motivating the nation’s army of restive youths rather than wait,watch as they take the wrong motivations from the wrong sources and persons.
VIII.)The government must halt the move from integration to separation and use condescension as a policy to ease the uneasy partnership with the people,be they in the Southwest, South south, Southeast,or anywhere in the North.
IX.)the incessant calls for restructuring and negotiation of the nation’s sovereignty and its high risk potential would test the government resolve in the coming days, the nation is watching how the administration would be able to dance round the calls and how beautiful and good the dance and the floor would look like.
X.)The nation also need the NASS to commence a process of amendments to the constitution to accommodate inchoate LCDAs,creations dictated by political and social economic dispensations and exigencies.
It must be careful,so as not to politicise the process, and should have a laid down prima facie and prerequisite qualifications and conditions precedent, (some of which must include but not limited to, landmass, population, capacity to be self financing, as take off grants must be discouraged), to be conformed with before a LG is given and registered in the nation’s constitution.
XI.)The LG should by now have come of age to be able to cater for its peoples needs.
The LG autonomy Bill should be tabled on the floor of the National Assembly.The amendment(s) as it concerns the LG should be circumspect and thorough, and should not be politicised,used or seen as creating an artificial ruling class at the grassroots, where the traditional system is not centralised and republican.It should be streamlined in such a way that it would not foster a conservative aristocracy standards, which at the end of the day, would be inconsistent with our culture.
Lets halt this slide and suicides.#Jimi Bickersteth
Jimi Bickersteth is a super blogger and writer.
He can be reached on Twitter@bickerstethjimi