NIGERIA as a country is bountifully blessed with both human and natural resources needed by any country to flourish. The colonial masters saw this phenomenon and wanted to perch perpetually on us, but for the labour of our heroes past.
We had oil boom and mismanaged the proceeds. There are individuals in Nigeria that are richer than the nation, having exploited the masses and amassed wealth fraudulently.
Mr President, Nigerians now know that it is the same wealth amassed by leaders of the country over the years that they use to impoverish the masses. ‘Operation Make Them Poor To Subjection’ has become a norm in governance. The same country where a large majority can hardly afford a daily surviving meal, is where, because of EFCC and anti money laundering policies, heartless leaders created fully air conditioned underground strong rooms in their various homes. Infrastructural and security architectures are already gone. No one is safe anywhere in the country. Rule of law is completely dismantled. Yet, those elected to manage the country in successive regimes display wanton wealth with effrontery and impunity. The hope of the future, the youths, grope in the dark without any trace of light, with no one to plan for them. Those who started ruling in 1999 are either still ruling or being cycled to bring in their families and cronies. There is an unprecedented unemployment of the youths. Many graduated, wanted to be self employed but there is no enabling environment. No power to drive even the small scale businesses. The youths want to survive but they are frustrated. The ongoing looting spree across the country, though illegal, shows the high level of famine and hunger in the land and the danger in the affluence of our leaders.
Many Nigerians today live below the global poverty level. Despite the hardship already unleashed on the masses, insurgents and members of militias kill massively and freely without concrete pronouncement and obvious concern from the government. Amidst all these, an ethnic group and region is petted and creamed at the expense of others. There came agitation for a break up or possible restructuring.
The people want to be better governed. To majority of Nigerians, the present arrangement called Nigeria, has failed. We are near anarchy. Those who could talk face threat to life and there is no one to defend them. No reasonable voice is respected. Democracy, which could have been a check, has lost its savour. The power of the thumb has been hijacked. Votes are no more allowed to count. Elections are concluded by the cabals before the real elections are conducted. There is no surviving salary for the few who are employed. Agreements on new wages are never respected on the ground of no fund by the various governments. Yet leaders display wealth to the chagrin of the masses. Then, came police brutality of the highest order. An average Nigerian no more has a pride of place. The elasticity is broken down completely. The frustration is beyond elastic limit.
Mr. President, the result is the recent aggression, when the youths of the country stood up to defend themselves by baring all odds and putting their lives on the line. The #EndSARS protest is a tip of the iceberg. It is already hydra headed. It is already a revolution; the seed has been sown and the obvious poor management of the agitation has aggravated the situation. Danger looms for the future of this country as an indivisible entity: our pretences to the contrary is immaterial!
It is apparent that the government is confused with no definite sense of direction. There is no more value system. Government closed the nation’s borders against the importation of food items without making the home grown foodstuff accessible and affordable. A bag of rice now costs close to #40,000. The masses cannot buy their staple food, yet the leaders import their own luxuries. All the economic policies of the government are too harsh on the masses.
The time to evolve masses driven policies is now. Policies that directly affect and are hard on the masses should be reviewed to assuage the populace. Corruption should be tackled without preference. Cost of governance should be drastically reduced. Security of lives and properties should be ensured. Leaders should be accessible to the masses. There should be concrete programmes for youths’ employment and empowerment. Enough of lip services! Credible elections must be allowed at all levels. No ethnic group should be made to be superior to the other; none should enjoy preferential treatment. Open the borders for the importation of staple food items pending when the home grown would be affordable by the masses. This is very central as ordinary people find it hard to feed.
The clock is ticking and very loudly too. Only the leaders are deaf to the sound: the masses can hear it clearly! No more flagrant abuse of human rights. That is the message of #EndSARS. The rule of law must be respected, it is no longer negotiable. An average Nigerian needs a pride of place. And a new Nigeria must evolve immediately.
- Akinleye, Isaac. O.
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