WEDNESDAY COLUMN BY USSIJU MEDANER
Last week was yet laden with tragic and worrisome concerns for the country; from the collapsed Ikoyi building that led to the loss of many lives due to our penchant for illegalities and cutting corners without regards for consequences; to the kidnapping of staff of the University of Abuja; and our continued skewed concentration of politicking for the purpose of grabbing power for all the selfish reasons.
It was a week PDP closed its eyes to the revelations of Diezani’s excessive corruption while serving as the nation’s Minister of Petroleum under the party; to the point of buying a mere bra, an underwear at the cost of $12.5 million while poverty pervaded the land, particularly in her region. Yet, PDP has resumed its pipe dream of telling Nigerians it will make the country great again like it did before the APC government came onboard. The week a newly elected party national chairman who collected N400 million from Dasuki for some unstated consultation would boldly tell Nigerians they are returning to rescue the country from the party that is redefining the developmental path of the country, particularly infrastructure unlike never before. It is very unfortunate that politicians, who ought to be behind bars in some jails paying for their atrocities against the country, would have the effrontery to still make noise, because the weakness of our judiciary system has literally given them the license to loot our treasury without consequences.
Great again indeed! I imagine PDP’s return to power and the emergence of a fresh, revisionist rhetoric of how Diezani was actually innocent, a Saint that APC went all out to victimise politically; of how Dasukigate was all a smokescreen without any evidence. I imagine the return of Diezani as the best Nigeria who understands the complexity of NNPC and the oil sector and deserves to serve again.
The week has a lesson for us though. It tells us something significant about the ENDSARS outing;. Majority of Nigerians remain confused and divided over the reality of what transpired at the Lekki Tollgate ENDSARS protest ground, and the alleged attack that resulted in a massacre last year. While a section of Nigerians was asking for solid evidence of the alleged killings, others were satisfied by the non-evidential oral presentations by the organisers of the protest and politicians who obviously are beneficiaries of the created national chaos and confusion. Most Nigerians want to see families of the slain; they want to see names, photos and relations of the slain coming out into the open to claim the fact of the killings, but no, they weren’t coming despite a year after. However, we see that the slain are not without family and relations with the Ikoyi building collapse; families of those trapped in the building are speaking out, they are everywhere at the spot and in the media and Nigerians already know who the victims are even when they are not yet recovered or rescued as the case may be.
We are going to continue living in the hell we created for ourselves and our children would soon inherit them except we stop feeding them with the same lies we were fed with. It is about time we reset the system to free our future generations from the yoke of indoctrinated lies and half truths. Today, the entire South-east is in turmoil not only because of some painted federal government maltreatment of the region, but because of the ingrained hatred for the national system that has made a significant number of Southeasterners irrational in the understanding of the problem of their region.
The civil war was a dark phase not only in the history of the Igbo people but of the entire nation. The war in itself took us all to a low level of indefinable negative definition of who we are as a people and a nation. It redefined our social interaction and birth distrust that remain a decisive factor of our present conflict-ridden country. Errors of the past, committed by players on all sides, whereby we came out of it with the pronouncement of no winners, no losers, but we resolved to not ever let the past be gone.
Strategically, we formulated an enduring rhetoric of political and developmental marginalisation and annihilation of the region to feed the anger of the people against the system and people who “are out to destroy them.” Eyes are close to the massive corruption of the local handlers of the region; the governors, legislators and local government administrators, who without check keep impoverishing and robbing the region of the chances to develop. We don’t care about the reality of the region, like everyone taking as much as others from the federation account on a monthly basis and the perennial IGR that are eaten by the leaders we don’t question.
From Nwazuruke to Nnamdi Kanu; who will come after we don’t know yet, but some of these two and couple of others in the region have chosen to perpetuate the rhetoric of marginalisation and non-acceptance at the center and have continued to feed the South-easterners with hatred for the country while driving the cord of separation among tribal and religious entities in the country deeper. Rather than giving the region a chance at seeing reasons and perfect understand of the facts of the past and designing a way forward as part of the one nation in a way that facilitates a sense of belonging and responsibility for everyone and every region alike, we are bent on causing havoc in the name of seeking secession that cannot happen but would further jeopardise the safety and existence of ourselves and other along the line.
Now, we are at the point where we are confused about what to do with the grim realities: should we face the elements brewing the uprising in the region and tell them enough is enough; should we swallow our bred ego and reorganise the region to align with the one Nigeria agenda. We wouldn’t do that; we would rather continue to fuel the movement we know for sure can only destabilise us. This much we have done, until the region has become what it is now; embroiled in unrest, crimes and killings by variant forces.
Everyone, political leaders, individuals and religious leaders alike, either for fear of acceptance or some political relevance being desired, have let go of their rationality and are now undecided on what side to stay. Despite the obvious hurt the Biafra agitation, in the form it is presented by Nnamdi Kanu, to the region and its people, and coupled with the legal facts of the re-arrest of the Nnamdi Kanu, as a fugitive who jumped bail sometimes ago, leaders and opinion molders of the region are afraid to speaking up or saying the truth. While they all know the legal implications of jumping bail as Kanu did, and the consequences of his many sponsored physical and criminal attacks on structures and individuals across the region who were not in support of his movement.
Now, we are having a repeat of history; the very way the Boko Haram insurgency began that the North took it for granted, thinking they were our people and we could deal with them; the way they thought we should defend them, until it boomeranged on all of us leading to perpetual cries everywhere from the pains the sect has been inflicting ever since. Different armed groups are springing up in the region unchecked; doling instruction to the people and the government while we are failing in our responsibility to come out as leaders and opinion makers for the region to speak out against them and to restore sanity to the region. We allowed them to dictate for the people when to come out and when not to come out and effectively enforce it; and yet, we are standing on the fence because we don’t want to offend the people. They would soon go beyond enforcing sit-at-home; they would soon, just like the Boko Haram, access foreign aids to destroy the region and pose more challenges to the country, in the very order of Boko Haram, and then our eyes would be open. It is high time all sane, peaceful and responsible leaders and others in the region begin to speak up against the bad rhetoric and criminality of the likes of Kanu and most importantly to explore civil and discursive engagements to bring peace and order to the beautiful region.
GOD BLESS THE FEDERAL OF NIGERIA !