By Albert Akanbi
AS I watched Kaduna State governor Mallam El-rufai threaten, on national television, that “foreigners who ‘interfered’ with” the upcoming general elections “would return in body bags”, I wondered how things have degenerated to this low in less than four years.
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It is sad that the veteran broadcaster who anchored the interview did not make attempt to distance the NTA from such reckless statement, but sadder still is the fact that the presidency, and even the man himself, have made attempts to either justify or rephrase a statement that is so clear, to even a child.
There is no body with a conscience, Nigerian or not, observing the way things are going in the last four years, that would not wish for the APC to be voted out of power this Saturday.
Many of us need not struggle with our memories to recall that four years ago in this same country, it was 200 naira to one dollar. A bag of rice sold for 10,000 naira, a litre of petrol sold for 87 naira, a tin of milk sold for 100 naira, and so on, today what is the story?
Yes, the PDP government was accused of corruption, but it was the same government that announced that Nigeria had overtaken South Africa as the largest economy in Africa.
Then 2015 came, and a former military General well over 75 years, took the saddle…then many of us had already bought into the narrative that he was ‘a man of integrity’, forgetting the truth that integrity alone, whatever that means, does put food on the table, we voted and encouraged others to vote en-masse for him.
Suddenly everything changed…
First, it took him six months to name his ministers, and when he finally did, it was the same old recycled names, some of whom have corruption cases hanging on their necks till today.
Then prices of commodities went skywards, the naira quickly crashed against the dollar, petrol, as of today sells for 150 naira per litre or more in some places, so much so that the last Christmas was the only Christmas that didn’t become the worst in living memory of Nigerians in the last four years, where many had to sleep at filling stations while many more paid three times the usual transport fare to travel home, and so on…
As of today, The International Organisation for Migration IOM, have reported an increased in violence brought about by terrorism in the North East, they say over 59,000 Nigerians have been displaced in the last three months, and that’s despite claims of victory against terrorism.
Our troops are not motivated, they are left on their own, to war against an enemy that the government has been accused to be systematically empowering by paying ransoms running into billions of naira to. As I write, Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe and in fact the entire North-East is experiencing the worst form of humanitarian crisis Nigeria has ever seen.
If all these negatives are all that there is to this government maybe it would have been bearable. But no, they are not.
The security of lives and properties of Nigerians, in the last four years, has become a mirage. We saw how Islamists Fulani herdsmen joined forces with Jihadist Boko Haram…
Even though there has been a lull in reportage, we know that the result of this partnership has been blood, blood and more blood. As we speak; the young Christian girl kidnapped with others in Dapchi, who refused to renounce her faith and accept Islam, Leah Sharibu, is still in captivity.
Yet, we have a government whose body language suggests it would not accept voices of dissent, would, according to the chairman of its party, ‘forgive’ thieves who joined their party, does not take the matter of the killing of innocent people seriously, and most importantly, may not even be willing to give us free and fair elections. Or how else do we explain the recent redeployments of Commissioners of Police and the attempts to ‘cage’ the judiciary?
Although many may not care to notice, hardly a day goes by presently that we don’t wake up to news of carnage or some acts of illegality in the country, to the extent that Nigerians don’t care anymore.
There are reports that the number of deaths and internal displacements in Nigeria in the last four years may be more than what is obtained in Syria where there is currently an ongoing civil war!
Bishop Oyedepo of Living Faith Church noted that although we are not at war, since this government came to power, we have organised mass burials than some places where there is ongoing war.
As if that is not enough, there are also reports that this president gave the order to recruit “repentant” ex-Boko Haram members into our security forces!
In the last four years, in Plateau State alone, many have been killed, so much so that over 120 people were massacred in cold blood in a manner that left bulging eyes and dropping jaws in one Saturday alone.
It is in this same country, within the last four years, that we heard reports of some fellow who claim to represent a group that calls itself “Miyetti Allah” (Warriors of Allah) coming forward to announce that the Plateau State carnage was revenge for over 300 cows killed by the youths of the State…till this moment, many of those killings, many also in Benue State, have not been properly handled.
The government’s response was to blame the massacres on desperate politicians…so called politicians that they do not have neither the will nor the nerve to name and prosecute.
After the usual paparazzi that attended all those killings, deployment of troops, announcements of curfews and hypocritical political statements, all the noise would disappeared to be replaced with the routine of dangerous politicking, endless talking and tribalism, until another massacre.
Are we a people without conscience? Are we so unserious as a people, suffering from a case of chronic collective dementia, that over 120 people dead in one day and we still go on as if all is well, while some youth retards amongst us still canvass for this government? Just few weeks ago, a sitting CJN was illegally removed, and ASUU just called off a three months old strike, and it is pretty obvious that if it were not for Saturday’s election, this government wouldn’t care.
In more serious climes, by now the whole country would have been shut down, all activities would have grounded to a halt’; Civil Society Organisations, Labour Unions, religious bodies, university students, market women, etc would have mobiliSed and poured into the streets in protest to demand a solution to these endless killings, madness, and illegality or better yet insist that the “desperate politicians” that Mr. Buhari spoke about be named and brought to justice…
But no, not Nigeria; not Nigeria where people can go on the streets of Kano in protest because one atheist in Denmark drew cartoons of one “prophet” even though citizens were being killed in their hundreds, daily, by Boko Haram. Not Nigeria where we carry on as if all is well leaving those affected and the victims of massacre to leak their wounds. Not Nigeria where a group such as MURIC, under a supposed professor, would spend quality time and energy writing about why Friday should be declared a public holiday for Muslims ‘since Saturday was declared for The Seventh Day Adventists and Sunday for Catholics and other Christians’ but refuse to speak out against the untold acts of violence, persecution and killings of Christians and minorities in some place in the north.