Before The Second Coming By Dele Momodu
Fellow Nigerians, let me apologise most sincerely that I have had to change our topic today. We were supposed to continue from where we stopped last week. The sad events of last weekend have forced me to suspend The Anatomy of APC and PDP (PART 2). We owe it to the victims to take a pause from politics and unite to mourn their departure and give a solemn promise that Never Again.
I don’t know how many people out there saw the pictures of the human degradation and tragedy that befell Nigeria in Abuja last week. Thanks to social media, it went viral in matter of minutes. It was the perfect evidence of our perfidious carelessness to the issue of joblessness in our richly endowed nation and the failure of the trite poverty alleviation schemes by successive regimes to offer any substantial succour to the ordinary man.
I had always known that Nigeria paraded the largest army of unemployed and extremely disillusioned youths in Africa but obviously did not realise the magnitude it has reached before our very eyes. I had written countless articles on the subject and proffered ample solutions to the calamity. But characteristically, our leaders must have thought we were merely crying wolves where there were none. Those gory pictures of dead and dying applicants hopefully brought home the reality to our politicians who seem incapable of empathising with the plight of most Nigerians.
The crowd that descended on the Abuja National Stadium was unprecedented. Not even during important football matches or the church crusades would the stadium have been that filled to the brim. I tried to imagine the long and tortuous distances some of them would have had to travel hoping to secure a job that had possibly been handed out through the back door to some privileged kids. Many have suggested sinister motives to the billions of naira collected from these applicants but that is neither here nor there. They queried why and when Immigration service became a business concern like the Customs & Excise and wondered if competent recruitment agencies could not have been appointed to prune down the applications to a sizable and manageable number. The applicants themselves must have taken a big risk. Did they really think in their wildest imagination that Nigeria has changed so much that the interview would go on seriously as planned? A more cautious optimism would have awakened them to the nightmare that awaited them in daylight. But their hope was misplaced and dashed ultimately. They lost their precious lives to an undying faith in a nation that no longer knows how to mourn.
Hope is certainly a Nigerian. He lives comfortably in our homes. It is the reason we can all carry on with little or no protest against our debilitating problems. It is the reason I always described our leaders as the luckiest on earth. No money is too much to blow on white elephant projects while most citizens continually swim in the ocean of poverty. Is it not wondrous and wonderful that there is always enough allocation for flights of fancy but none for the basic needs of the people! Politics has become the most lucrative business in the land. No stock exchange in the world would be able to match or afford the dividends accruable to a Nigerian leader. The applicants would not have had to go through that level of desperation in search of a job if the wheel of State was running well and the politicians had spent less on spoiling themselves and cronies. What these men and ladies went though was crude, cruel and crazy to put it mildly.
That crowd would easily enter the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest single congregation of applicants at any single venue. And not just that; several other cities witnessed the same stampede and recorded similarly avoidable deaths. No one has told us yet how these people managed to beat all odds to congregate in those disastrous locations. Is it that those who collected the application fees from the mostly jobless people had no idea how many of them had paid in order to adequately prepare for them professionally or use more modern techniques to select the best candidates? By what miracle did they expect to sift through such a huge crowd for God’s sake?
I also believe what the authorities of the Immigration service did was a dangerous gamble in a volatile country. Let me explain. That frightening assemblage, in Abuja particularly, could have snowballed into a dangerous conflagration. Those who had set Nigeria on fire these past few years could easily have taken advantage of the ugly situation and use it as a catalyst for a bloody massacre. We’ve never been known to be efficient in rescue operations or crowd control. We were very lucky that our country was not really prone to radical and ideological revolutions. If such a thing happened in Egypt or Tunisia, the blood of those innocent casualties would have sparked off a rash of monumental protests against a system that has consistently destroyed our collective future. But this was Nigeria, a nation of hardened sufferers.
We must thus thank God for little mercies. Our docility is probably a blessing in disguise. Our country has become too polarised that it would have been too dangerous to add more to the madness on ground. It seems Federal Character has become more of an albatross than a Redeemer. It has turned most of us into Janjaweeds instead of nation-builders. Our leaders understand this game too well and have used it to turn us against ourselves. This has been their most potent weapon. Unknown to us this disunity is the root cause of most of the challenges we face today. We are tearing at each other, not to better our living conditions but to secure the outlandish status of our so-called kinsmen. The result is predictable.
I sincerely sympathise with the victims of this unfortunate and preventable tragedy and their families. I also feel sorrowful for our much-harassed President Dr Goodluck Jonathan whose burden it is to bear the cross of these intractable problems at this time. Unfortunately, he seems to have bought into the web of deceit coiled around him by those who wish to hold on to power through him. Most of those encouraging the President to make his second coming the only priority are not doing so out of love but for personal gains. The President has nothing more to gain from power. God has been too kind to him. Without fighting for it, God handed him power on a platter of gold. He got what others died for without firing a bullet. Why does he now think he needs to fight to retain it?
The second term would come if it would come. But what happens after that?
AN ARTICLE BY MY 16 YEAR OLD SON
The joy of every parent is to have worthy successors. I got the shock of my life recently when I was stopped by Mr Ben Murray Bruce at a public function and he told me what I hardly knew about my third son, Eniafelamo, who’s barely 16. According to Mr Bruce: “Dele, you have a son called Eniafe, please watch that boy. He’s a born leader. He mentors my son and he sent a message to him the other day; I couldn’t believe his level of reasoning. In fact I want to meet him alone for dinner…”
I was obviously touched by his kind words. I know how much I’ve suffered to give my kids good education but I didn’t realise one of them had picked up writing as a passionate hobby. I stumbled on a piece written by Eniafe two days ago posted by a friend in America and I was stunned. I called him in Nigeria and all I said was: “You didn’t tell we you want to sack me from my job!”
I have the pleasure of publishing his first article in a newspaper on this page today. Thanks for reading.
Nigeria: Vague Destinations but we run anyway…
My fellow Nigerians, month after month I find myself confessing the same thing to myself: “Nigeria has reached an all-time low.” Since I moved to Nigeria in 2008, I’ve been awaiting the glorious day on which I will wake up in the morning and smile at the face of Nigeria. I have been frowning for six years. Don’t be fooled by my façade, I am covered in frown lines, only they cannot be seen by the naked eye. They are located in the most visceral parts of my heart and soul. They are intramural signs of my anguish, and in a nation of 170 million people, I can’t be the only possessor of these imperfections.
I have waited tirelessly for the men and women we call our leaders to wake up from their perpetual slumber and join hands with the people of this exhausted nation. Time is running out.
One of Nigeria’s most prominent issues in recent times is terror. We are attempting to fight terrorists, as if it is a secret that we lack the capacity to compete on any level. Why are we fooling ourselves? Can you imagine a Nigerian woman trying to cook stew without seasoning? It’s an abomination, and that is what our government is doing to us. Please, wake up, because until you do, we will be at war with insomnia, and we are not the likely victors.
I recall reading on Twitter a while ago that President Obama had offered to come to Nigeria and find (or at least help us to find) a solution to our security threats.
My initial reaction to this glorious news was, “YES! Finally, help is on its way and it flies via Air Force One. It has cometh to share its wings with us! Amen.”
But the next morning I was listening to Cool FM. I was amazed to hear many people calling into the station and expressing with all sincerity that President Obama should NOT come to Nigeria, and the US and other countries alike should leave us to solve our own problems and, quote, “mind their own business.” I was flabbergasted!
We were offered sincere and genuine help. We declined it, and to what gain? Now our brothers and sisters are being blown up by car bombs and slaughtered in broad daylight. If I am the blind one, let me know. But forgive me, for I see no advantage.
We are much too rash with our decision-making. It’s the same error we made when we decided to become an independent nation. That was long before I was conceived, but there is no doubt in my mind, if I know anything about Nigerians, that we jubilated across the streets at the prospect of sovereignty over ourselves. But, in the heat of the moment, did we consider the long-term? We were so eager to be self-sufficient – where are we now? We threw the British out – where are we now? Okay, so we broke free from the bondage. Were we ever really trapped?
Here’s what I would have said if I were around during the very early 1960s:
“I’d love for Nigeria to become an independent nation. I really would…but what will we do next? Do we even have the resources to thrive on our own? If we do have the resources, do we have governors who will correctly allocate them – people we can trust; people with integrity; men and women of the people? Because these aren’t people you find lying in the middle of the street. They are tough to come around. Let’s pause and check the road before we cross it.”
Perhaps if we’d waited for a decade or so, we wouldn’t be stuck in this lag phase and by now we would have reached a healthy exponential. But, like I said, we are a very impulsive people. We incessantly refuse to analyse the pros and cons before we jump to such injudicious conclusions as a result of our frivolous haste. Where are we running to, anyway?
We have persistent faith in our government, although, frankly, they have given us very little reason to. In a country where billions of Naira can simply go missing without a trace, whom can we trust? Whom?
Yet, we are searching and trying to invent complex algorithms and attempting to deduce chemical formulae to emerge a triumphant nation? This is the 21st century for Christ’s sake. National success shouldn’t be this difficult to achieve. We have the resources. God has blessed us beyond what we realise. We are lacking in the other departments. I swear it’s not rocket science. Ask our brothers and sisters in South Africa.
It’s just economics.
Do not hesitate to leave your opinion in the comment section below.
To contact Abusidiqu.com for Article Submission and Advertisement or General inquiry, send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org