Monday, September 16, 2019 8:17 am
Last week was so tumultuous, bitter-sweet; filled with different levels of national and international activities that I found it difficult to make a choice on a subject for my weekly essay. Of course, I could have gone abstract or philosophical as I often do when the week is filled with repetitive inanities, with clowns in power jesting over serious issues, trading in cow meat as a sign of development, and fools in paradise dancing like blind leaders of a directionless nation. But, the returnees from South Africa and the role of Peace Airlines, the death of a professor in the hands of kidnappers, and the tribunal verdict on the Atiku-Buhari matter compelled an intervention. Added to this were the death of Robert Mugabe and the ban on interstate movement of herders by five south east governors. While I was ruminating on these issues, the news of a University of Lagos driver who committed suicide after facing a disciplinary panel for a serious infraction hit the community, my community and fellow travelers on the anti-suicide campaign. Too much for one week, far too much for one week for any mind, for anybody!
As an aside I wondered whether the world had become more combustible or whether the combustions are better, crudely and widely reported these days especially with the advent of social media. Gory pictures are thrown at us routinely without respect for our sensibilities, without regards for rudimentary decencies. There is no peace for anybody. As for the buyer so with the seller, the good book says. We are all victims of a sort. Vicarious victims of bad news, even news from far away countries – from South Africa, The Bahamas, and Mozambique. Who would not be affected, traumatized by deaths of hundreds in a savage attack in a Kaduna community or the impassable federal road between Sapele and Warri or kidnappings along Shagamu-Ore-Benin road or deaths and destruction ofhurricane Dorian in the Bahamas or the forced return of Nigerians from South Africa after racist attacks by fellow Africans?
It started with the ban on interstate movements by violent herdsmen by South eastern state governors. If you asked me, I would say that they ought to have put a stop that insulting nonsense well before now without waiting for the federal authorities who I daresay cannot lift a soiled finger against those insane barbarians parading as pastoralists. Their origins are almost mythical, cast in the mold of the invisible like the Ugbos who used to attack Ife before the legendary Moremi came to the rescue of the town. For, we all grew up with pastoralists who carried nothing more than the stick with which small boys controlled those cows that we dreaded so much. Suddenly, these pastoralists morphed into Unidentified Roaming Objects bent on destroying life and property. Whole villages were sacked and hundreds killed while Abuja embarked in tooth-picking! Yet, elected governors waited for Abuja to decimate their kith and kin! A dream from a foolish mind in a foolish world! After the ban which also outlawed use of arms and ammunition some nincompoops came crying foul, proclaiming from their filthy mouths that the governors went beyond their briefs! What nonsense! The outside world watches how we treat our citizens at home and could then decide to give our brothers a black eye knowing that at home nobody respects them anyway.
Xenophobia is on the increase. In South Africa those street urchins are simply misguided devils, dregs of the earth who cannot stand the heat in the kitchen as foreigners do. Very lazy bastards threatening to kill all foreigners. The economy is in the hands of a small minority of white people. Most blacks are shut out of the sweetness of the economic power of South Africa. They cannot get jobs they are not as industrious as their black brothers and sisters from other countries. They just sit down and envy those who have toiled out of nothing to make something. If some Nigerians and other Africans are into the drug trade the laws of the land should deal with them. But that is not the problem. Who buys the drugs anyway? As Julius Malema rightly pointed out, those miserable worms of humanity who attacked and looted shops are plain criminals and should be dealt with as such. While the Nigerian government was pussyfooting over its reaction other African nations had not time for such foolishness. They acted immediately, boycotted the ‘boycottables’ and Nigeria which was led African in the anti-apartheid struggle followed behind. Which was a shame. By the time we recalled our High Commissioner the shine had been taken off. Even if we do not love our people at home let us pretend to the outside world that they cannot be killed like rats without repercussions.
The federal government could not even offer to bring back its citizens from a war zone. A patriotic Nigerian businessman who runs an airline offered and did bring back so many of the harassed and traumatized Nigerians. I can bet that most of the returnees will soon look for alternative mean to relocate. The beauty of decent infrastructure which South Africa represents must have given them an insight into what life should be. And this is the refrain of most Nigerians in the Diaspora: if you make our home a bit welcoming, we would rather return to our beloved homeland and make it big here. As we all know, it is easier to make genuine wealth in Nigeria than it is in the western world or any other place in the world! Nigerians abroad really miss home. Ask them. They simply wish the government would just get things right. As long as they have a government that manipulates the judiciary or pays more attention to cows than human lives, home will not be an attraction.
The Presidential election tribunal has given its verdict and dismissed all the points raised by Atiku. Ordinary Nigerians know a kangaroo judgment when they see one. I won’t say whether the verdict came from the orifice of compromised kangaroos. Yet there is a feeling of uncertainty and hopelessness which the whole exercise conveyed. So, we leave things to God and commit the President and the truth about the elections to God Almighty. After Chief Obafemi Awolowo was denied the presidency in 1979, he left things to God. Nigeria is still reeling from the hopeless policies of the Shagari type of politics which succeeding political parties simply copied and perfected with greater stupidity.