By NASIRU JAGABA
It is not about naivety. It is not a matter of illiteracy or of ignorance. It is not that the charlatans are that outstanding in their tricks. Nigerians are not cowards. Nigerians are rather hopeful, trusting that by divine providence something good can come forth from these ones who have built a system that enslaves the nation, her people while they stand aloof feasting on the bread baked out of their earnings from our sorrow.
It is true Nigerians are not difficult to please. At the time it mattered, government needed to show us by action and words that they are willing and will protect the territorial integrity of our nation when the victims of climate change were carrying out the mercenary job upon our home soil. Our government thought it wise to ignore the bloodletting of her citizens by the hands of foreigners. Whether the killings were carried out by terrorists or “some” agents of state, the government have been quick to explain away an issue of even extra-judicial killings and discount the value of the lives of her citizens. Scores were killed in Zaria in a show of overpowering might, engaging warfare mercenaries on the citizens of Nigeria for days because of whom their procession denied passage. It cannot leave our conscience so soon that in this nation our government owned Air Force unleashed in broad daylight hell by bombing an “internally displaced persons (IDP) camps!” on the 17,th January,2017, over 200 people killed refugees in Rann, Kala-Balge Local Government in Borno State. In December 2017 another 50 people killed in Numan by the same Nigeria Air Force which they call a mere fire warning shot. Yes that too was swept under the carpet. We have lamented audibly with tears streamed down our faces, we write and speak tearfully but all fell into uncompassionate earholes of double-dealers, who will half-heartedly issue doomed statement while deep in their heart they bubble over with joy from our woes.
Our rights and freedoms are being denied our voices are being drowned. Our leaders think we have lord it over ourselves to listen to them, pray for them, be patient with them, revere them and fear them if necessary. We must not talk with them, talk at them, require of them and have no expectations of them. When they spend our money, they come out bragging that they have provided this, serviced that and if you didn’t know better, you will think of them as philanthropic aristocrats. The anchor borrowers program in my home state is a case of monumental corruption that is being micromanaged to save face with the farmers underserved and made the culprits on paper while the beneficiaries hide behind their desks in public offices awaiting severance packages, retirement benefits and pensions after their brutal rape on our economy.
Some people in authority find so much pleasure in the goodies that come with insecurity which could necessitate that security votes can be freely expended and with no recourse to giving an account of it to anyone. Where the funds are staggering, burning down a facility will help send anyone asking for the records to the ashes. In the aftermath of the Southern Kaduna invasion, the vandalized and destroyed public facilities have been left as a monument to the victims who have “refused to die” and as at today there are only two classes available for primary school pupils in each of the villages: Ninte, Anjo and Akwa’a in Jema’a Local Government Kaduna State. Government were however quick to pay foreign herdsmen, subject the farmers under several weeks of 24 hour curfew, while “those who must graze” drove their cattle to their farms for a feast equal to none. That is not enough, the very ones who have been at the receiving end of international mercenary invasion have fallen short of qualifications to have what have been now termed Cattle Rangers, a state sponsored security unit in Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps to protect herdsmen from cattle rustlers. The farmer on the other hand is left at the mercy of kidnappers where he/she have to negotiate with large sums his freedom to pursue an enterprise and every other right many currently under oath are commissioned to protect.
Our government is insular, but we have seen worse. They pose as tyrants but we are overcomers who have cut many to size. The Nigerian Spirit has been indomitable, and the sorcerers in the East can’t seem to provide enough of mystic spells and forces to bring the Nigerian State to rubble. Even while we may have people who are ignorant of the One true God, we are citizens who commit our lot to the Creator of the Heavens and Earth. Our oppressors on the other hand heap upon themselves curses, fear and gloom and will remain enslaved by it. Not just that, in their own time we will again rescue our nation. Not just we the youth, but we all who have been short-changed and denied us a true Republic.
In this dark night that we have been denied sleep, the middlebelt in Nigeria have not only been overran by terror, it has been sabotaged economically too. The governments across the middlebelt must ensure that the resources of the State is not expended in the type of fraud that involves State governments bleeding their coffers to pay the Armed Forces even after the nation have made sufficient provision for their operations by an appropriation Act or even appease the assailants with our commonwealth. These governments should rather provide as part of their security votes the needed infrastructure that shortens distances of travels for emergencies, and quick time reporting mechanisms; empowering the citizens to report and access quick responses should be the focus. There is also the complimentary challenge of deforestation that has always accompanied such invasions which should not be amiss in the list of emergencies that must be expended while tinkering on security votes.
Leadership have failed Nigerians, and it has never been this worse like in the past three years, if not for God that still holds the pillar of this Nation the story could have been that of Sudan. What we need today is not leadership but leader-shift. The ship have lost control and led us to the motionless ocean with negative social values such as, elitism religious and cultural intolerance, racial inequality, differential and preferential treatment of ethnic groups, greed, aggressiveness, exploitation, social status, parochialism, dominance, regionalism etc. we need leaders that will shift us away from that motionless ocean to an overflowing ocean that will flush the negative social value that injured us. It is at this break of dawn that we desist from complaining, we have in our mortal hands the solution.
Like my LORD will say ‘’why are you crying unto me stretch up my rod in your hands for the horse and the rider are about to be swallowed’’ I equally replicate it to us, why murmuring? Go and get your ‘’voter’s card’’. That is your battle axe and weapon capable of ending this long dark night of confinement; go get your PVC it is the only excavator that can pull down the walls of ineptitude and that of discrimination; your PVC can reverse the dominance-subordination relationship that institutionalized the inferior role and status on the people of the middle-belt; go and get your PVC and stretch it up for the sea is about to part for you to pass; your PVC is that screwdriver that can lose the obsessive wheel of that chariot chasing your destiny over time.