Blackbox Nigeria

Opinion

Nigeria at the intensive care unit

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By Hashim Yussuf Amao

Across sectors, the tempest in Nigeria had doubled – and in cases – tripled with the failed administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. Sai Baba is not the sui generis of Nigeria’s woes, but he has forced Nigerians to tread more throes. Like Umar R.A would smile and sob anytime he remembered the dark days he made his god with Meccan dates, worship and still feast on it when hunger visits; anytime this writer recalls the days of his stellar support for the “godsend Buhari”, the superficial things he did to sell Buhari to his people, laughter and sadness would knock in synchrony. For, we had thought Nigeria was sick then, but now, it is at the intensive care unit – grasping between life and death.

Crippled economy, insecurity, hunger, hike in commodity prices, incessant strikes, corruption and disregard for the rule of law; frankly, in Adipele’s multi-layered dentition, I don’t know how many teeth to count. But one thing so clear, is: Baba Yussuf has failed Nigerians, deplorably, that his wife had once vent her vexation as a result of her “sense of justice, and not confrontation or disrespect”.

Nigeria ranks sixth in the 2022 Global Terorism Index (GTI), no thanks to Boko Haram, UGM, killer pastoralists, kidnappers, and other agents of doom that have provoked the peace of Nigeria. Sadly, Nigeria is no longer sitting on a powder keg; it is reclining on an atomic couch, while we hope it does not explode. Human lives have been devaluated that, sometimes, people get slaughtered in some parts of the country and there is low media coverage for the attacks. Boko Haram in the North, UGM in the East; bloodshed has rippled across states, and ‘Press Release’ is the highest we would expect, as usual, from a government that promised adequate security and welfarism of Nigerians. With their hegemonic mentality, armed herders seldomly strike in the South; when people are not killed in numbers, farmers and their farm produce bear the brunt.

80 million citizens languishing in penury had made Nigeria the capital of world poverty, before India came to claim the inglorious award in March 2022, according to World Poverty Clock, a data-driven website. Could Austrian-British philosopher, Karl Popper, had the Buhari administration in mind when he said, “Those who promised us paradise on earth never produced anything but a hell”?

Incessant strikes are just another bottleneck that has stifled this administration. The ordeal of university students who have been relegated to their homes for over four months because of the ASUU strike continues to send sadness down the spine. The time and future of millions of youths across Nigerian universities is dwindling away, while rich politicians fly their kids abroad for quality and uninterrupted education. This brings to wish, the policy of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s as Premier of the Western Region, which prohibited his cabinet members and families from seeking medical attention or sending their children to school abroad. Had the policy been maintained till date, it is without doubt that the lingering ASUU strike wouldn’t have seen the light of the day, let alone the mishap of younger students who were kidnapped at schools; like the Dapchi, Kankara and Jangebe students.

Victims of the March 28, 2022 Abuja to Kaduna train attack are still in the den of their abductors. The eleven of them who were released on June 11, and others who have bailed themselves do not deserve to be in the lair of kidnappers in the first place. Choicelessly, incessant kidnappings have been a source of trepidation for Nigerians. On the whole, queues at fuel stations return anytime they wish. In spite of Nigeria being Africa’s largest oil producer, Nigerians now buy fuel at all-time high prices. The bittersweetness of the 13,000 megawatt installation has not yet tackled the epileptic lower supply confronting the nation. Perhaps, till there’s more output than the current 5,000 megawatts, 85 million Nigerians—who have no access to light—would have a course to smile.

Buhari’s anti-corruption crusade rode on our emotions, but successfully, the same corruption has blighted his administration. From former SGF, Babachir Lawal’s’ ‘over ₦500million’ grass cutting scandal, to the ₦47billion fraudulent contracts awarded by the former managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr Nsima Ekere, to the ₦80billion fraud of the suspended Nigeria’s accountant general of the federation, Ahmed Idris to many others, it’s safe but sad to say the country still wreathes in corruption and public theft.

If there’s anything the Buhari administration could redeem its image with, it is not its vain braggartism about infrastructural developments across the country. For, unsafe and hungry citizens are not the ones who would happily travel through trains or ply the “beautiful roads” Sai Baba is building across the country – roads that predispose them to dangers and kidnappings. With the below-par performance of this administration, the “change” mantra seems clearer now: change from bad to worse, rack to ruin – while the ruins continue to hit the skids. Nigerians had thought Buhari was gold, but he’s only gold plated. Like his administration made us praise the past corrupt administrations, may the next administration not give us a reason to praise Buhari’s.

Hashim Yussuf Amao writes from Ibadan. Twitter: @LegalBard.

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