7 January 2012
Fellow Nigerians, I now know for real that it would be mere wishful thinking to wish any Nigerian on our side a happy new year! I had predicted correctly in my last article, Can We Say A Happy New Year?, published on New Year’s eve, that the Federal Government of Nigeria was poised and determined to make life difficult for most Nigerians this year.
The accuracy of my prophecy was so mathematical that many readers wondered if I had prior or inside information about the “suicide bombing” of the entire country on New Year’s day, of all days by a leader who was raised in poverty, and by a so-called democratically-elected government for that matter. We were still writhing and seething in the aftermath of the incredible bombing of some churches on Christmas day when President Goodluck Jonathan decided to go on a kamikaze mission and threw the entire nation into total chaos. The impact was as devastating and as widespread as the bombing of Nagasaki during the Second World War.
On January 1, 2012, President Jonathan, supported by his war Generals, declared an unprecedented war on Nigerians. A President that promised heavens and Earth during the most expensive electioneering campaigns ever known to mankind, only some months ago, has completely transfigured from a self-advertised Messiah to an Apparition ready to inflict maximum pain on humanity. The exponents of the fuel subsidy removal were so bitchy and inconsiderate that they considered only one thing, how government would make more money which, to all intents and purposes, would be wasted on their traditional frivolities without any consideration for the immolating effect on the people. If they were thoughtful at all, they would have known that the disadvantages of their reckless misadventure far outweigh the advantages of their callous decision.
I came to the conclusion that the President and his hawks in government were definitely not living on the same Planet with us after reading the outcome of the Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday, January 4, as read out to journalists by the Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku. In their simplistic approach to governance, as usual anyway, the solution to a most dangerous experiment was to order about 1,600 or so buses from God-knows-where, at whatever atrocious and over-inflated cost and supplied by God-knows-who. They must have really taken Nigerians for morons, or how else can one describe the chicanery in their attitude? They behaved like the French Emperors who before the Revolution felt the people should eat cake if they cannot find or afford the bread.
So the problem of Nigeria had been reduced by these self-acclaimed geniuses to offering some nauseating palliatives in form of providing some buses for the people in a nation that lacks all the basic necessities and amenities of life. They did not tell us when the contract for buses was awarded and when it would be delivered. We have no idea how the buses would be managed or distributed. We know some names of eminent Nigerians were announced by a government understands the impact of name-dropping. They know that most Nigerians find it hard to resist government appointments. If they don’t take it because they need money it serves their ego. That is how contemptible, and far-removed from reality, these leaders are. I’m surprised that they could not see the foolishness of putting the cart before the horse.
Please, permit me to ask this innocuous question, which is easier, to waste more money on buying peace, or to maintain whatever semblance of peace we manage to enjoy in this season of anomie? What is the common-sense in punishing 160 million people in order to maintain the obscene lifestyle of a few political parasites that are eating us all to the bones, and are less than one per cent of the population? Would it not have been easier to wage a punitive war against the stealing of our commonwealth, and put a stop to the apparent mismanagement of resources, instead of punishing the majority for the cardinal sins of a minority?
I say without any fear of contradiction that the problem with our leaders is an acquisitive syndrome and a demonic addiction of greed, selfishness, myopia, wickedness, arrogance, and all other adjectives we can find in the lexicon. There’s nowhere leaders behave with such degree of carelessness, recklessness and shamelessness. Our cities look more like war-ravaged zones. The filth and stench stink to high heavens, yet our leaders are comfortable without any remorse in this squalid state and are studiously convinced in their minds that we don’t deserve anything better. They have an incurable fixation that it is within their rights to determine and enforce how we should live and exist. As our slave masters, we deserve no say in how we are governed or misgoverned. This is why a government can wake up on the first day of the year and decide to throw us into panic, confusion and anguish without any care in the world. It did not matter how we’ll be able adjust financially to the new demands the deadly move would exert on most of us. We must find the money whichever way possible or perish.
I have tried to make sense out of their nonsense but it has eluded me the justification for this classic case of man’s inhumanity to man. What was the hurry about, as if that day was so sacrosanct that the so-called subsidy had to be removed at a time most people were in the mood for jollification? What kill-joys are these guys? How did we descend to this level of degradation? A thorough examination of their reasons for removing the full subsidy on fuel would reveal a chronic case of low reasoning. The commonest is that they want to prevent a few oligarchs from their easy access to oil subsidy money which has criminally jumped out of the roofs. In their jejune theory, remove the subsidy and money would be available to purse developmental projects. This then became their religion.
This position would have been tenable if this was a newly-elected government or an old government that has a track-record of prudent spending. But here is a government, controlled by a ruling party, which has been in power for over 12 years and has not been able to fix any of the problems bedevilling our embattled nation. Here is a President who has been in power, and vantage positions, more than any other Nigerian, in choicest capacities as Deputy Governor, Governor, Vice President, Acting President and President, without any history of even tarring a road from Port Harcourt to Yenogoa. Here are leaders who have earned more remunerations than their counterparts elsewhere and have frittered away our resources with such impunity. Under their government, Nigeria made so much money and they spent it all without any evidence of prosperity on the citizens like we would normally find in oil-rich nations. Under their rule, we have continued to live, sleep and dream on hope. From government to government, we have been played like a game of chess. We are never short of the defenders of Faith who would come out to tell us to accept our Fate with equanimity.
The government apologists are out telling us again to drink this poison in order to rescue Nigerians from the evil grip of those who make horrendous income from special waivers on duties and the likes. Of what relevance is that to the ordinary man on the streets? These special waivers can only be signed and approved by the President. The simple thing to do is for the President to find the courage to tell his ubiquitous friends there would be no such privileges again and pronto it will stop. It is the same Whiteman who manufactured the pencil that made the eraser. Why should Nigerians be used as cannon-fodders in a power game between the government and members of the privilegentsia?
Let us explore further. The government that wants a subsidy removed under duress is continuing to subsidise the ostentatious living of our politicians. It is spending so much money on security with no commensurate effect. It is awarding so many contracts with no appreciable development and growth in sight. The same Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iwealla who supervised the extermination of our external debts a few years ago has come back to be a key member of the same profligate government-in-power. No matter how influential they make her to look, she has no control over the humongous apparatchik of the ruling party. This is obvious from the decision to order nearly two thousand buses without any due process. The other evidence is contained in 2012 budget as presented to the National Assembly. No effort was made to reflect the State of Emergency that is currently raging in the land. There is no doubt that the government of President Goodluck Jonathan is an elitist one. It is a government that is determined to practice Capitalism without capital. And live large like Emperors while the people continue to emaciate. This is the crux of the matter.
I really sympathise with Mrs Okonjo Iwealla. She needs to know her country better. Most Nigerians are convinced in their hearts that she’s the bad influence on President Jonathan even if I don’t personally share that view. She cannot blame the people who have been deceived too many times by the artful dodgers in power. A mother begins to suspect every woman to be a witch when she’s lost her children in mysterious circumstances. That’s why Nigerians would never trust anyone easily. When tomorrow comes, our world banker would have been used to legitimise an unserious government. She may be dumped again when the fire gets too hot and the Mafia dons are waiting for payback. President Jonathan does not appear to me like a man who has the liver to take on these guys. That is the reason he would take such a decision that is capable of setting Nigeria ablaze.
The ability of Nigerians to suffer in the midst opulence is legendary. Our capacity to endure the most excruciating pain is world class. But there is a limit to how far you can push a slave. One day, the slave would kick and knock down the owner. Our politicians don’t seem to know when to stop their big mess. They have overstretched their luck and are likely to be resisted this time in a manner they never anticipated. There was no basis for the latest assault on the people. Nigerians had suffered enough degradation and did not deserve this insult upon injury. A government that chose to remove subsidy was not even ready with its miserable palliatives. It is like a husband leading a wife who has suffered miscarriages to the labour ward and asking her to give birth without a doctor, nurses, oxygen, blood, pain-killers, and more. Such a man would be charged for attempted murder. That is what President Jonathan and his disciples are attempting to do in our country.
I have no doubts that the removal of the so-called subsidy is tantamount to mass murder.
AllAfrica – All the Time