Nigerians, why are we this mad?

(By Nathaniel Amroboraro)

When General Babangida assumed office as President in 1985, he said, “The youths are the future of this nation.” Twenty-nine years later, he seeks to vie for the office of the president. My question is, “when then is the future?” because a youth of let us say 18 years then, has now become a man of 47, yet, he is waiting or is expected to wait “for the future.

ENJOYING the beautiful evening weather the other day, I decided to take some time out, reflecting on the happenings in Nigeria in the past few years, and our response to these.

  We live in a country in which a person who stole a telephone worth N13,000 is sentenced to 17 years imprisonment and another person who made away with N23 billion from Police Pension Fund was sentenced to two years on each count of the charges with an option of paying a paltry N750,000 fine. Of course, he promptly paid it to regain his freedom.

What happens to the helpless pensioner whose only hope has been stolen?

   Former Aviation Minister Stella Oduah ordered the illegal purchase of two armoured cars at an inflated rate of N255 million. We were told of the probe, but not of any punishment meted out to her to deter others from such misconduct and heartless act.

   I want to believe we have not all forgotten about the $20 billion said to be missing. Is it that $20 billion has become so small—as small as a pin—that since it dropped on the floor at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the search for it is still on-going as ministerial language goes?

   Reports from the Delta State Government claim that Nigeria loses N640 million daily to oil theft. The question is; who are the oil thieves? Look no too far, they are the same set of ruling elite who come out to say what they secretly took away at night is now missing at dawn.

   Only 47 out of the 990,179 students who sat for the just-concluded JAMB examinations scored above 250. This tells of the level of decadence in our education sector. Yet, a whole lot is been embezzled and all we do is to sit down and watch.

  UNESCO reports say that Nigeria tops the table of 12 countries with the highest population of out-of-school children, about 10.5 million of them, which is 47 per cent of the total globally. That is double the population of Singapore and 60 per cent of the population of Chile. I pray tomorrow, we do not plead with these out of school children to shun violence and accept amnesty.

   Members of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics have been on strike for 10 months, and the National Assembly has just decided to come into the issue. I dare to ask, where have they been all these months? Please, we should not blame any of these at the receiving end if they add to the menace in the society.

   The government is simply using the uninformed majority against the informed few.  An instance is the protest that held in Abuja during the 2013 ASUU strike, where the association of market women protested against ASUU. The question is who amongst them can afford sponsoring her ward to Lagos State University (LASU)?  These people, due to poverty and ignorance, have been bought over. Hence they are blindfolded to see the evils constantly inflicted on the citizenry by the present administration.

   We are in a country where former militants have more allocation than the Police and the Army in the 2014 budget. This is simply a way of encouraging youths to pick up arms, and then accept amnesty, rather than going to school and working hard. Yes they may spend months at home as a result of strikes, in the end they will complete their studies.

   Asari Dokubo, leader of Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force (NDPVF) was evidently at a stage fighting the cause of the people. Today, unconfirmed reports say the same man now owns a university in Benin Republic, two football academies, a refinery, and chains of supermarkets. I am not saying it has now become an offence to be wealthy or industrious. Nevertheless, the speed at which he has reportedly come to stupendous wealth must necessarily raise eyebrows.

   Apparently using the administration of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan as a shield, he has been making embarrassing and careless statements. He has that if Jonathan is not returned as president after the 2015 general elections, irrespective of the will of the electorate via their votes, he would unleash mayhem on the land. The security agencies are not known to have chastised or call him to order publicly, nor have the Houses of Assembly done so.

   Another militant is Tompolo (former Niger-Delta militant warlord), who, according to Press reports, some months ago, acquired a private jet.  Not a few believe that he was never had the benefit of a secondary school education. And here we are the same person who was never a secondary school student, saying lecturers should not go on strike for unpaid wages.

   When General Babangida assumed office as President in 1985, he said, “The youths are the future of this nation.” Twenty-nine years later, he seeks to vie for the office of the president. My question is, “when then is the future?” because a youth of let us say 18 years then, has now become a man of 47, yet, he is waiting or is expected to wait “for the future”.

  Japheth Omojuwa, Uche Briggs, and Azeenarh were arrested and brutalised by men of the SSS and NSCDC, for daring to protest against the death of 17 youths, among them four expectant ladies, during the NIS immigration job test.

   Omojuwa and some others led a protest to the house of Mr. Abba Moro, minister of Interior, offering him multiple caskets for the departed, and painting his premises with red, signifying the gruesome murder of promising young Nigerians, caused by his carelessness in a fraudulent job recruitment test.

   Reports from omojuwa.com state that this same incident occurred in 2008 and 20 people died. Moro was also warned by the board of immigrations to postpone this ill-fated exercise so as to be able to prepare adequately and avoid casualties, but he thought differently. The contract was awarded to Drexel Technologies Ltd, a company which, evidently, was incapable of crowd management.

  The SSS headquarters was recently attacked by Boko Haram. The bullet exchange lasted about two hours with the Army coming in to assist them in repelling the attack. Reports say 19 members of the sect died. The issue worthy of mention here is the unjust and cruel maltreatment of the man who tweeted the SSS/Boko Haram incident, Mr. Yusuf Onimisi Siyaka by the men of the SSS.

   The brutality of the SSS and Police on citizens, rather than on these elements, is so baffling. Why should they be always ‘at alert’ when students and other Nigerians are holding peaceful protests, yet, seem unable to tame these terrorists?

   On the missing Chibok school girls, I sense something fishy going on. Reports claim that WAEC authority originally declined to hold the examinations there for fear of insecurity there. However, the governor gave WAEC assurances that security would be provided. Why did he not keep to his own side of the bargain? Then the First Lady added her own complication to the episode by ordering the arrest of Naomi Mutah Nyadah and Ndirpaya for leading the ‘bring back our girls’ protest in Abuja.

   Is the government not ashamed that it has failed in its duty of protecting the lives and properties of Nigerians and what right has the ‘First Lady’ to order the arrest of anyone, since there is no provision for the office of the ‘First Lady’ in the 1999 constitution in any case?

   All these are happening in one country, yet the citizens still feel comfortable, some busy praying Divine intervention, or better still, that Boko Haram does not get to them and their loved ones, others are busy helping themselves to the public till. I myself am merely making some non-profitable noise with my pen. But the question -“Why are we this mad?”- remains unanswered

• Amroboraro is a 200 level, English Language student of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.          .

 nathdactivist2050@gmail.com.

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