STATISTICIAN-General, Yemi Kale, deserves a national garland for always bringing imprimatur on already-known truth about the per-capital poverty of Nigerians. But if my gut is right, something would soon do him, possibly in the hands of Magu and his boys. If a shawarma dealer could be detained by the commission for embarrassing small-small boys of the commission in Benue, the emblem which Magu carries about on his lapel is a covenant of honour, to kill, for the one whose picture is emblazoned therein. You want to know the god the commission serves, shine your eyes on his chest, the next time.
But who needs official figures, when the unofficial persons swim everywhere, starring at you, as you shop with the little measure you have, practically gobbling away the five loaves and two fishes, you want to feed your family with, with their rapidly-expanding eyeballs. Able-bodied men and women, some with deliberately-displayed malnourished children or affectations, lining up roadsides where foodstuffs are sold, begging desperately for what they could eat and possibly take home. No tribe, no demographic, no religion, exempted. Hunger levelled everyone and everywhere. From markets, move over to banks’ frontage and ATM neighbourhoods. No, they aren’t seeking your PIN. They are seeking your compassion. They seek libation for the gods and goddesses in their stomachs.
I must say there is something opportunistic in the poverty advertisement in Nigeria today. COVID lockdown was chanced upon to exploit the eye of mercy of those engraced for giving. In Lagos, the hunger cries began less than 72 hours to the very first presidential lockdown and the story about 78% of the state population, relying of daily income to eat, won’t wash. Does it mean they finish up every daily income, the very day, it is made? Those pushing similar argument for the risen criminality in the state, are also being lazy in thinking. Even if those boys are permanently into the robbery profession, does it mean, there were no leftovers from the loots before the lockdown? We are just as exploitative as the government we serve.
Oh, that wasn’t an error. In Nigeria, we serve governments at all levels. Don’t they get to use our collective earnings for their pleasure of all kinds? Is it not why they celebrate endlessly when appointed or elected into government? Do we not identify their massive mansions and Lamborghini Countach, with the offices held or influence in power corridors? Don’t they become all-knowing gods overnight, even in our estimation? Do we not relate with them as their slaves, giving the impression that they own our breath? All because of what we should legitimately have, but shoveling in greed, to their corners as they continue to corner more space, filled with their sought-after goodies?
But like Lot, they are about to lose all they went after with avarice-eye.
Yes, most big men dodge calls now, even from known buddies. They believe they don over-do for them, through crumbs. Soon, those beggars, or more like, those they over the years, gradually guided into poverty, will revolt. No, I don’t see something as terrifying as the Tahrir Square of 2011, though nothing says a Martyr Square can’t later emerge, when security men with little sense would want to engage in the usual crackdown. But I see more of a kamikaze rebellion from souls whacked by hunger and driven by hopelessness. Maybe we aren’t there yet. At least of the ten hungriest nations of the world, led by the Central African Republic, Nigeria is yet to find a spot. But I look at other occupiers like Yemen, Chad, Madagascar (our Covid saviour), Zambia, Liberia (where George Weah is misfiring), Haiti, Timor-Leste, Zimbabwe (when their president is Croc nko. How can a crocodile rule men well), and Afghanistan (a people so determined to ruin themselves) and I see a different template of suffering. Many of the countries officially declared as hungry are victims of drought. More like a punishment of nature. Here, it is punishment of leadership and we can’t blame nature for driving the nation’s economy thrice into recession within six years, under the same hand of administration.
The plague of today is self-inflicted, worked out by those who had always wanted to be permanently in charge of the affairs of men, including their feeding formula, which is gradually receding from 001 to 000 for many households.
It is hoped those in government are prepared for what is coming that they can’t handle. Rotimi Amaechi, hate him for all you can, has a way of leaking badly, both in interviews and private chats, but the truth isn’t always far from his verbal farts. He has always fancied himself a prophet too. The “stone us” challenge he threw when he too, was in the delirium of this administration just waving a magical hand and all problems disappearing, is already manifesting as a revelation-foretold. The Borno incident of last time is what the Bible captures in Zechariah 4:10, as the days of little or small beginnings. You say haba pastor, that passage was meant to be positive, to encourage children of God to face the future with courage and confidence in the Omnipotent. Correct interpretation. But one thing always difficult for men to accept is the other side of God. And why can’t stoning have a small beginnings, when all manners of Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite and Geshem the Arab, are in government today, frustrating genuine broken-wall rebuilders like Nehemiah?. Today’s Nigerian leaders are like these unfortunate regional governors serving under the king of Persia. These modern-day obstructionists know themselves. The rest of the world, playing the ostrich on Nigeria matters, knows them. Every attempt at getting the system working is always rebuffed as anti-Us. Playing the victim this long, may have been beneficial to pockets of pockets, but the sky is gradually going grey for them.
When the anti-rebuilding intensified their shenanigans, there was a profound prayer from Nehemiah that should be apt here this morning; “Hear, O our God, for we are despised; and turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them for a prey in the land of captivity; and cover not their iniquity and let not their sin be blotted out from before Thee; for they have provoked Thee to anger before the builders” Amen.
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