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Life in Nigeria: Back down or show down


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Nigeria

Like a patient hooked on drug holding delicately on the touchline, it is about time to administer the usual doze to Nigeria before it expires. Nigeria is wobbling and tottering from bad to worse and remains clearly a sick person.  There are clear and obvious signs that point to this. Yes! A large swath of the North is clobbered by a terrorist group called Boko Haram and recently when the President visited Borno State, several bombs went off minutes after his departure. The North-Central zone, especially Jos is embroiled in recurring, unending and internecine religious and ethnic wars that have claimed thousands of lives. The Niger Delta that produces much of the nation’s oil has been run over by militants all splintering up by the day. The South-East is a no-go area unless you are sure of not being kidnapped and ransom paid, no thanks to people’s unlimited greed to acquire money at all cost. In Nigeria, you hook up or break up.

Both the rulers and the ruled know who the common enemies are. Life in Nigeria makes you deal with mean, unappreciative and hateful folk that you cultivate undying passion to want to vent your anger out to the ruling class. The ongoing corruption adds to the allure and glitz. Majority of Nigerians are struggling to survive while a few are suffocating in stupendous affluence. The moment you touch down in Lagos, you are promptly made a bribe-giver, bribe-seeker or bribe-taker. May we not be declared dead when we are still alive!  A place to eat is a place to be eaten. The people who should get their ass out and work before they get old are idle because there are no jobs. Those who have graduated from the universities are queuing up to do the National Youth Service Corps yearly and even when they do, there are no jobs to absorb them.

Electricity generation and distribution have become a veritable source of corruption. Since it mutated from NEPA to PHCN, nothing really changed on the ground except in recent times when consumers began to see glimpses and sparks of intermittent electricity in a clime known for outright blackout. Then shortly afterwards, consumers are buffeted by outrageous bills that are hard to interpret. Because there is no meter to determine the amount of electricity consumed, all the power company does is barge into your house like beached whales and quote how much it likes as bill. Money collected will later be taken to the office and be shared by the foot soldiers and various “Ogas at the top” and that is a national practice. The bill is directly linked to the quality of the house, occupants and the type of cars parked therein. There is nobody to complain to in the PHCN. The company has displaced Nigeria Customs, Police, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, licensing authorities, the Federal Road Safety Corps and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in the corruption index.

The latest vibes in the power ministry that has seen more ministers in the last few years than any other ministry is that consumers will pay N50, 000 to get prepaid meter and that is expected to rake in N1.47tn. This sum when collected will likely not be accounted for by the various “Ogas at the top” and government will soon give any identified thieving official covering fire by providing a state pardon.

Laxity, gyrating of waist, merry-making and partying at every level of the government have been elevated to statecraft. If the Senate President isn’t celebrating his birthday, his deputy is. If one state governor isn’t celebrating his birthday, his colleague governor in the next state is. And when this happens, the entire machinery of government will be at a standstill and guests file past and say how the state of the country would have been backward without the host. It is a conundrum and the circle continues.

The entire country is in a state of a terrible lockdown and general insecurity has overtaken the serenity we knew as kids. Churches up north have been turned to abattoirs where limbs and other body parts fly like confetti each time terrorists strike.

What is the long term national plan for the government? What is its mission statement? Does it have a clear strategy to either deal with the emerging terrorism, tackle corruption or whip the universities into line by improving the quality of education? All the emails I sent to my former university asking the office of the Registrar to issue attestation letter to my employers were not acknowledged let alone responded to until I drove down from Lagos to the South-East the last time I visited Nigeria. The same university would know what it means to say that a mail bounced or was returned undelivered. Yet, these are citadels of learning.

Oil proceeds are only pocketed by a few through dubious allocations of oil blocks and recently a retired army General said that he didn’t know what to do with $1bn he realised from selling off his oil block to China. He is currently reveling in that sum of money as we speak. The easiest place for quick pillage is the pension office where the thieving tribe pocketed N32bn worth of pension funds and disappeared into the thin air. The other day, another official was asked by a court to forfeit only a tenth of the looted fund and become a free man.

Respective state governors have caged the Houses of Assembly in their domains and pocketed them sending them overseas for holidays. While away, state governors engage in such unparallelled profligacy by donating millions in cash to party faithful and doubtful organisations which are later shared by a few.

The other day, it was reported that around 100 security operatives, including police and State Security Service, sent to arrest the chief priest of a cult group, the Ombatse cult, in Nasarawa State, were sent to their early graves and the leader of this cult is walking the streets as a free man. The SSS Director General, Mr. Ekpeyong Ita, at a candlelight service in honour of the fallen operatives, announced that the Service had forgiven the killers. The fellow who was accused of cornering pension funds has come out from hiding and is singing like hummingbird.  They should open up the prisons and let the entire convicted criminals regain freedom

The masses are at the receiving end of this mismanagement. Bottled-up anger due to poverty and hardship may soon boil over because everyone is just waiting for a trigger. Yet, this country of 160 million people, growing by some seven per cent annually cannot boast equitable distribution of the petroleum profits. Experts say that substantial quantity of oil output is stolen and not one single refinery is working on full capacity. What a country we have!

Article Credit: Punch Newspaper

Updated 5 Years ago
 

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