Tuesday, 25 February 2014
Nigeria-Optimism Versus Government Magic By Jon Chikadibie Okafo
I returned to Nigeria after a stint in Europe with a strong dose of optimism; I was highly hopeful that I would clinch a good job and partake in the feast of “democracy dividends”. Well, it is gone past four months now and my optimism is being assaulted by what the legendary Fela called “government magic”-I am still job hunting.
We Nigerians are really a happy lot. Despite the fact that living in this country for majority of the people is akin to the Hobbesian State of Nature, many of us still find the inner strength to trudge on while praying to God and insisting that e go better. We smile a lot and strive as much as possible to find humour in every situation. Our faith in God and our apparent fake smiles stems from the fact that we all know that “suffer dey Africa kakaraakaa”.
On the other side of the tragic-comedy that is the story of Nigeria, we have our rulers who exist in a world of stupendous opulence. They represent the lecherous pack of blood sucking demons that exist only to steal from all of us. They are usually the political office holders and top civil servants who have over the years, perfected the inglorious act of looting our patrimony. They are heartless.
The story of Nigeria brings tears to my eyes; this is one story that is so heart-wrenching and obnoxious at the same time. In this story, you see on a daily basis the horrifying effects of the wickedness of our leaders. It is a story where the institution of government appears to be solely for the purpose of enriching obscenely those in power while snuffing out the lives of millions they ought to be catering for.
It is only in Nigeria that a police officer at an illegal check-point shoots a driver for refusing to pay a bribe or not paying the demanded sum. In this scenario as we have seen many times in the past, the killer cop runs away or is sacked, and the police authorities issue a statement to the effect that a committee has been set up to unravel the circumstances surrounding the said incident. At most, a stupid sum of money is paid to the victim’s family and the story ends.
It is only in Nigeria that the sinfully named Power Holding Company of Nigeria will send agents to collect the sum N5, 000 from residents for a faulty transformer to be repaid, or a new one installed. As I write, this is the situation I find myself in here in Surelere, Lagos where the transformer that serves three streets have packed up and we have not had power for about fifteen days now! I have been informed, sadly, that a refusal to pay will see PHCN officials being aloof to our groans and cries for succour.
Only in Nigeria will the president increase the sufferings of the already beleaguered masses by jerking up the pump price of fuel while increasing his chop-money to a little less than one billion naira! Why should we, the people be the only ones making sacrifices while those in power binge and quaff on our resources with glee?
My optimism that Nigeria would re-discover itself gave way to an ulcer-inducing rage when I read that members of our scandalous National Assembly have budgeted billions of naira for the purchase of yet another set of luxury cars for their legislative pleasure. What cheek! This is the same National Assembly that has turned itself into the most outrageous pack of capricious leeches, now stepping up its game of stealing as much as possible from all of us while pretending to be representatives of the people.
Since I came back to Nigeria for good, I have galloped across the width and breath of this nation and the story is the same everywhere. However, I wish to state without fear of contradiction that Abuja, the federal capital territory takes the gold cup in this deceit that is the story of our country. Abuja eats, drinks and breaths corruption. The mind-frame of Abuja dwellers is akin to a cesspit where maggots scramble for what is food to them; I didn’t come across any Abuja resident that complained about the looting going on. I was only encouraged to pray to belong.
This same story is replicated across all the states of the federation; Governors and their cabal have turned corruption into a carnival while mouthing the depressing lies of “bringing the dividends of democracy” to the people. Apart from the oil marketers, government officials are the richest folks in the country and we all know whence cometh their obscene wealth. It is weird and mind-boggling how those in government are able to sleep at night despite the misery, the wickedness, the lies they churn out, the deaths they bring about by their acts of negligence and the utter betrayal of the trust of the people they claim to be working for. Are we really this callous as a people?
Certainly, there is something about being in a position of power, wealth and authority in our country that seeps into those in those positions and turns them into moral wrecks. This is my take on this matter.
What exactly is the matter with the Nigeria Labour Congress, the Trade Union Congress and the organised civil societies? Is it just me that fails to understand why these groups succumb to the lies and blackmails of our government instead of acting as the needed checks on government ineptitude? After the last fuel subsidy riots, I came to the sad conclusion that nobody out there is fighting for the ordinary Nigerian.
I strongly suspect that the groups mentioned above are all in the game of “aluta continua” for their own selfish games, and none of that includes holding the government accountable for all its atrocities against the people of Nigeria.
The story of Nigeria is really a sad one; it is a story of self-inflicted injury. A tale of a group of sadists sitting on the wealth of a nation and amassing it brazenly , watching the poor folks stumble and die, while insisting that “we will get there as a people”. There is so much wickedness in this country and our rulers are the perpetrators, they are the ones ruining this country while the ordinary folks try to imitate them-this why corruption will never stop here.
I really miss the God of the Old Testament, I sincerely do.