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Leah Sharibu: The Prisoner of Conscience

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Anikulapo Macmillan

 

Her story has been like the story of Daniel in the den of terror. In the face of captivity her captors kept her just because she refused to call another faith. She is the mercurial of her own conscience. One of the first in the history that never denies her religion and She is Leah; but powerful than her co-mate in the scripture.

Leah Sharibu is our daughter. One of the girls that have brought our country to her kneels. Not just a martyr of faith but a girl whose spirit has driven us all to her struggle since she was abducted in Dapchi. And that abduction was historic.

It is seemingly a thought of a cohesive expression to the government. I see her than the way Nigerians see her. She is the girl that has made us to understand that religion is fate and faith is faith— in time of obstacle. Someone who doesn’t compromise her principle rather beseech in the spirit of prayer. That voice of Leah begins to come to us than it echoes to her captors. Meanwhile, she is supposed to be in school.

While some of her colleagues are intensely studying for the school certificate exam but she is here dying to be rescued. And Prof. Wole Soyinka has compared her to the late apartheid fighter, Nelson Mandela. In Soyinka’s poem titled: ‘’ Mandela’s Earth’’ the poem has a conjectural meaning that Mandela reverted to those who jailed him. ‘’ NO! He said’’

These particular words came out to Leah Sharibu as well. When she said— No! And perhaps in Wole Soyinka’s poem: ‘’ I am the rock, this Island. I toiled’’ this is what our own Leah stands for. However, the poem says: ‘’ in and out of time wrap, I am that rock/ in the black hole of the sky’’ truly, Sharibu has become the rock of human.

She has made us to understand that her release is important to us. That her struggle is to end bigotry and fanaticism in our country and perhaps to let everybody has the right to believe in faith. To have been in captivity for this time is terribly bad for a sixteen years old girl in her own country.

Recently, she celebrated her sixteen years birthday. In the den of terror, just because she is not ready to deny her own faith— meanwhile, if Jesus were to be alive he would have seen that Leah Sharibu loves him than her own life. And this means a lot for sacrifice. To a girl who has hope for her beloved country.

Probably, had it been her mother knew that such would happen, she would have been like the character in Toni Morrison’s novel: ‘’ Beloved’’ where the mother kills her own daughter because she doesn’t want her to face racism. Is this not a religion manhunt? — For Leah’s mother to cry helplessly for her beloved daughter to be released.

And I believed that the day she was abducted in her school with her other abductors, she would have recited the national anthem and pledge. That she was serving Nigeria with all her strength and now; is Nigeria serving her back? Or has the government forgotten that Leah is a citizen?

This means her life matters to every single Nigeria. And it is the duty of President Buhari to let her come back to her parent. Still, her life is not enmeshed, with wrong faith rather she has been the quintessential girl that knows how to identify her own right. Her life means a lot to all of us. Not that she is just a mere girl child, she is our daughter.

Therefore, it is the ability of the government to provide for her needs in captivity. To rescue her is even the major concern of all Nigerians. What is the point to the military if she can’t be rescued? Is it that our military are scared to fight the insurgency? All I know is that if Leah Sharibu is not being rescued that means her parent will lose hope in Buhari’s Administration.

However, she is the prisoner of conscience. She is the prisoner that has not failed to know her God.  She has indeed believed in her faith like one of the character in James Joyce’s short story, Dubliners. And, still her colleagues were released but she was held back because she refused to deny her faith. This is a simple meaning of a cultured girl. And she strongly believes in the article of faith.

Leah is an affable girl that knows that her right is to be freed from the thraldom of dooms. In a society of ours, because what she has done do not deserve this kind of maltreatment she is receiving. If truly, we have a government that understands the people— the Leah Sharibu of our time won’t spend these hours and days in captivity.

To make the system function, let us all know that, what happens to Leah Sharibu, could affect anybody. And prior to her abduction, we knew the Chibok girls’ story. Yet, the government has not found measure to liaise with the insurgent. And what I expect the government should have done is to take the military serious than ever. And the military needs to deploy tactics and strategy because this is like a fratricide.

For every life, it matters to us that, we should never forget to know that Leah Sharibu is still a piquant subject that can never be forgotten. Thus, her abduction is cumbersome. Perhaps, I expect the government to know that Nigerians want Leah Sharibu alive.

Her parent has cried for too long; to the extent that, they talked like the English poet, Andrew Marvel, in his poem: To His Coy Mistress, which says: ‘’Had we but world enough and time/ this coyness, lady, were no crime.’’ With truism, she has no crime. But, if Buhari forgets to do the needful, Leah Sharibu’s spirit won’t make Nigeria rest just because she is innocent.

Let us know that a sixteen years old girl has decided to hold on to her faith; and this makes her to be the prisoner of conscience. Even with a conscience heart, we pray for release.

@Babatunde_Mac

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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COLUMNISTS

Pendulum: The Adventures of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi

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PENDULUM BY DELE MOMODU 

Fellow Nigerians, please permit me to start, uncharacteristically, with several preambles, rolled into one today. You will discover why in a jiffy. I’m out to establish some principles that drive and guide me. I hate any form of oppression regardless of who is concerned or affected. One of the reasons Nigeria has been in this monumental mess is due to the wickedness and vindictiveness of our leaders. Lest I forget, the followers, the so-called lumpen proletariat are not left out. Government after government seeks to outdo the other in doing evil to fellow citizens, and the hapless hoi polloi regale themselves with the tales of the unfortunate victim’s misfortune, forgetting that the dehumanisation of one person is the bastardisation of all.

I often wonder why we gloat and relish in the display of rabid hatred and pure evil by our leaders, to the detriment of our sense of fairness, good and justice. However, it seems that our make-up is such that the thought of harm and bad tickles our fancy so much that we are glad to vicariously experience the power of those who wield the baton. Our leaders spend ample time chasing irrelevances and looking for who next to destroy. We wittingly or unwittingly join them in this pursuit and by so doing encourage the damage they do to our psyche. It is as if they will ultimately obtain Olympic medals in how much pain they can inflict on their hapless victims. And we the so-called masses will collect the lesser medals by virtue of our tacit and complicit acquiescence. Shame!

The focus of my epistle today is very simple. I’m a good student of Nigerian history. If wickedness alone could build a nation, Nigeria would probably be the greatest country in the world. Unfortunately, that is the least important requirement for good governance, if at all it is. There is nothing force, or malice, can achieve that love and affection can’t get better and faster. Let me start with my personal example. I will try to summarise the evil event that changed my life.

In 1995, July 22, to be precise. I had gone on a visit the day before to my professional godfather, Chief Olusegun Osoba, in the historic city of Abeokuta, and was returning to Lagos. The battle for the revalidation of the June 12, 1993, Presidential election, which was clearly and most definitely won by Chief Moshood Abiola, was raging. Chief Osoba and I had spent the better part of the night chatting and ruminating over the pestilence that had descended upon Nigeria. Chief Abiola had been picked up the year before and detained in General Sani Abacha’s gulag. Not just that, Chief Abiola who was undeniably one of the most distinguished Africans of the 20th century, was kept incommunicado, for no justifiable reason. We were deeply worried about his personal safety and the state of his health. I left Abeokuta early and was looking forward to a blissful sleep on getting home because I was very tired. But this was not to be.

My dream soon vaporized and evaporated. My God, I never bargained for what awaited me. On my way home, I saw my wife’s car, which was strategically parked so as to make it easy for me to see it. That was it. My life would change from that of a free citizen to that of a refugee, just in a matter of days, something I never wished for my enemies. My wife informed me some men had come to tip her off about my impending arrest by the dreaded secret security agents. And anything and everything may be tried, including charging me for treason, was on their plates. I never planned to live outside Nigeria, in this my current lifetime. I had visas to several European countries but never spent beyond any booked days. On this particular occasion, things were different. There was a new Sheriff in town who was ruthless. So, I was advised to vamoose. No time for rigmarole. I dialogued with my feet and opened a new chapter in my book of life, rushing into the open arms of uncertainty because I had no choice.

On July 25, 1995, I escaped through the Seme border, like an inveterate smuggler. I meandered my way from Cotonou to Lome and from Lome to Accra that evening. I left Accra on July 28 and landed at London Gatwick on July 29, 1995. It was one of my saddest days on earth as I was journeying into the unknown amidst great insecurity. To cut a long story short, I would spend the next three years in exile. But this is not the main story. The real meat is what I managed to do and achieve during that period.

Many people laughed scornfully at the supposed foolishness of my support for Chief Moshood Abiola. “Are you Kola Abiola that you want to kill yourself for nothing…?” But truth was I was not fighting because of Abiola. He had the capacity to defend himself and family. I was fighting for the rights of man. If a man as fabulously wealthy and powerfully connected as Abiola could be so easily oppressed, then we were in big trouble! I needed to put up a fight, within my limited resources, for the sake of myself, wife and the future of our lovely children. I wish some of us woulcld have this mindset, albeit it is a bit selfish because in the end it will benefit all of us.

Many gave up on me, wrote me off, and concluded I was finally finished. But God was not done with me. He was ready to show me off to my critics as yet one of his miracles in progress. It was during this period of my excruciating travails that God handed me a beautiful and priceless gift, Ovation International magazine. And this taught me a lot of lessons, one of which is that if there is life, there is hope. Never give up on a man or woman who God wishes to favour. This has since remained my guiding principle.

Let me repeat, I hate oppression with all the fibres in me. This is why you will find me crying louder than the bereaved every now and then. Which leads me to my next preamble. Sorry, we are getting closer to our destination. I will be brief, please, because I know you can’t wait to get to the end of my salacious and sagacious tales today.

I’m sure you remember how Sanusi Lamido Sanusi launched a blistering attack on some banks and its management when he was governor of the Central Bank. While I thought our banks needed to be sanitised, I vehemently disagreed with the modus operandi being employed by Sanusi. SLS (as he is affectionately known by his millions of admirers) was hailed by the usual pepper-them-gang. “Kill them,” they chorused in unison. I’m sorry to note and confirm that many Nigerians suffer the kill-and-go syndrome. We all complain and grumble about corruption but join them as soon as we get the opportunity to be in government. In short, we are all saints, or seeking angels from outside, until we become one of the beneficiaries of the unethical and immoral practises, we so much frown against. That was one of the major attractions of the second coming of Major General Muhammadu Buhari in 2015. We often studiously ignore the fact that nations are not governed by saints but by PERFORMERS.

So, I took on Sanusi as he demolished the banks and scattered its owners to the winds. I wrote an article THE BULLY CALLED SANUSI. And all hell broke loose. Sanusi’s supporters came after me in droves. They claimed that I must have been paid by Erastus Akingbola and others. For some who knew that Akingbola came from the same neck of the woods where I had sojourned and grown up in Ile-Ife, their conspiracy theory was fulfilled. Never mind that it had been a long time since I saw Akingbola, and I simply had no business with him. Those who had no principle whatsoever saw like minds in their mirrors and mentality. All entreaties that we must defend and protect the rights of man fell on deaf ears. All they wanted was instant lynching. But I knew today will come sometime and some day. The same impunity you employ to catch a devil would be used against the saint. Impunity begets more impunity.

Sanusi and I would later meet inside the elevator of the Intercontinental Hotel in Lagos and he exclaimed: “Dele, your pen is very wicked, very wicked…” And everyone on the lift laughed. It was obvious he respected my boldness and audacity even if he possibly detested my guts. I was shocked when he asked his Assistant to give me his number. And that was it. I was later to learn that he never detested me at all but was appreciative of my constructive criticism. The hallmark of a true leader. I rarely contacted SLS and only sent him congratulatory and goodwill messages when the occasions arose. I later visited His Highness in the Emir’s palace in Kano. My best friend, Prince Adedamola Aderemi, and I visited him, and he gave us a first-class treatment befitting of Princes.

Let me give two more examples, but simultaneously. Here’s the story of two Mallams, Nuhu Ribadu and Nasir El Rufai. Once upon a time, they were the two hottest items, as Chairman EFCC and Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, respectively. They wielded enormous powers. I wrote an article warning Nuhu Ribadu and assured him that he did not know Nigeria and Nigerians well enough. The person whose head is used to break coconuts hardly partakes in its eating. I knew the day would come when the hunter would become the hunted. And it came to pass. Both Nuhu and Nasir absconded from Nigeria and spent considerable time in exile, like me.

Early this week, the kings of impunity came back to haunt Emir Sanusi II and grabbed him by the jugular. I was not surprised because it was a prophecy long foretold. All manner of conspiracy theories soon emerged. The most popular one was that it was a strategic stunt by the North to ease Sanusi out of the gilded cage he’s been kept in the Kano palace and it was time to set him free. The object, the false prophets proclaim, is to make him extremely popular through the dramatisation of a charade of dethronement and then lead him to the next stage of his dramatic rise to the summit of Nigeria! Who knows? Nothing is impossible in Nigeria. All I know is that even if Sanusi wasn’t considering the Presidential contest before, the phenomenal surge in his popularity rating in the past few days must make that very tempting and possibly irresistible.

I wonder why Governor Abdullahi Ganduje couldn’t ignore nor tolerate the tantrums of Emir Sanusi, if indeed, he could classify his profound dissection of the problems of the North and the solutions he proffers as such. I still can’t fathom what Ganduje thought he stands to gain by sacking Sanusi unceremoniously. Now the cookies have crumbled. And the Governor and his friends must be wondering what happened. Nothing other than that the apotheosis of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is now assured and guaranteed. A man of adventure has been served his food, a la carte!

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COLUMNISTS

OKADA RESTRICTION: SANWO-OLU’S ACTION IN THE BEST INTEREST OF LAGOS

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By Gboyega Akosile

‘’If you care about the security of Lagos State, support your Governor on the restriction of Okada and Keke.’’ This was the submission of the former Governor of Lagos State and current Minister of Works, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola at a recent interaction with newsmen in Lagos.

I have followed news reports, commentaries, opinion articles and street reactions for and against the restriction on the commercial operations of Okada and Keke by my principal, Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu in some parts of Lagos State. While some appear as balanced argument, especially along the economic line, which can’t stand as good reasons for policy reversal, several others were pure sentiment and emotional outbursts, mostly lacking in logical reasoning. A careful analysis of the subject matter has shown that there is a consensus among the protagonists and the antagonists that commercial motorcyclists and tricyclists have become a danger in Lagos; everybody knows and agrees to this red flag! In fact many of those against the Okada restriction, whether knowingly or unknowingly have called for total eradication of bicycles and tricycles in the city of Lagos.

A columnist, Bimbo Adelakun in the back page of the Punch newspaper on Thursday February 6th wrote:

‘’In principle, I am not against the ban on those vehicles themselves, but the timing and the execution of Sanwo-Olu’s decision. I believe that okadas and kekes have to go at some point. They are an urban nuisance, an ungainly sight, a blight, and an ugly blotch on Nigeria’s botched landscape. Those vehicles desecrate spaces and painfully highlight the un-citiness of our cities.”

Same with Bashorun Dele Momodu in his pendulum column at the back page of ThisDay newspaper submitted that:

”Apart from the population explosion and the stupendous traffic jams, Lagos is bedevilled by a major security conflagration. This arises from its metropolitan nature and its willingness to welcome and absorb all those who genuinely want to be a part of its miracle. The flip side of this welcoming attitude is that Lagos will also attract shady characters and nefarious elements. The recent influx of unidentifiable immigrants into Lagos is just a sample of this major headache and has further compounded the bad situation.”

There are several other writers who have taken a position either for or against this restriction. Many of them have offered what they, in their opinion think should be the best solution to the Okada menace. I see this as a good development for our fledgling democracy. However, one must remind these opinion writers that most of what they offered in their write ups were at one time or another, part of several suggestions placed before Government. One must also educate them that Government didn’t wake up to place restrictions on the commercial activities of bicycles and tricycles in parts of the city.

Deaths were being recorded on a daily basis as a result of the reckless nature of Okada riders. Security of lives was threatened, as Okada became the easiest form of mobility for criminals. Recklessness, disorderliness and total disregard to the traffic rules reigned supreme among the Okada and Keke riders.

Their behaviour has taken a toll on the social and environmental well-being of the people.

Government has a responsibility to protect the lives and property of its citizens. As Governor Sanwo-Olu said during the flag off of the commercial operations of Lagos Ferry services, his administration deemed it necessary to restrict the operation of commercial motorcycles and tricycles in some parts of the State, especially in six Local Governments, nine Local Council Development Areas (LCDA), 16 major highways and 41 bridges, where there have been records of security breaches, disobedience to traffic rules, accidents and untimely deaths caused by motorcycle and tricycle riders. The decision of the government is definitely in line with what he promised over 22 million Lagosians during his inauguration on May 29, 2019.

“We intend to make history by making for ourselves and our children a better future…Let us vow to ourselves, and to posterity that we shall not just dream of a Greater Lagos. Let us agree this day that we shall collectively rise up to build the Lagos of our dreams.

“My administration will ensure that we walk the talk as far as transparency, the rule of law and fiscal discipline are concerned. We will make sure that we create the right environment in which security and safety of lives and property are guaranteed…On this day, I vow as your Governor that I will serve the public cause with my utmost ability and commitment,” Governor Sanwo promised while delivering his inaugural address titled ‘Awakening a Greater Lagos’ on May 29, 2019 at Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS), Lagos.

Therefore, as a man who is passionate about pursuing his dream of a Greater Lagos, it is expected of him to do the needful in protecting the citizens of the state who trooped out en masse during the March 9, 2019 governorship poll to elect him as the Chief Executive of the commercial capital of Nigeria.

There is also a need to remind these commentators that one of the rare qualities of a leader is his ability to make tough decisions especially in the best interest of the people. As a great leader, Governor Sanwo-Olu believes in the greatest good for the greatest number. On the strength of this, Mr. Governor has said his decision to restrict the movements of Okada and Keke in the publicized locations is irreversible because it was made in the best interest of the residents.

Governor Sanwo-Olu, while launching eight locally manufactured speedboats of the Lagos State Ferry Services, LAGFERRY held at Badore Ferry Terminal, Ajah, reiterated that the decision was for security and safety reasons.

His said: “We will sustain the restriction on Okada and tricycles, mainly because of security and safety reasons. The security and safety of citizens are paramount to any government. As a responsible government, we will not fold our arms and allow any security breach in the state.

“We will continue to ensure the safety of our people on all fronts. There have been reports of serious security breaches and safety concerns in areas where these operators ply. We had to respond to these concerns because lives and safety matter to this government.”

Reports from different quarters have shown clearly that more people, including opposition parties in the state are fully in support of the step taken by the Government. None has outrightly disagreed with the restriction policy but many of them have raised concerns about provision of alternative for commuters and riders who were affected by the order.

In answering the above question, less than 24 hours after the enforcement of the restriction, Governor Sanwo-Olu ordered the release of 65 buses to immediately begin operations. There are plans for additional 550 buses for the feeder roads. This is to ameliorate the challenge being faced by the residents. Also, the continuation of massive rehabilitation of roads across the state is part of efforts by the government to give the residents a great lease of life.

Corroborating the Governor’s position, the National Publicity Secretary of the Action Democratic Party (ADP), Mr. Adejare Adeoye, in a press statement he signed and issued on Monday said: “Sanitising Lagos State and getting rid of these lawless miscreants that have been invading Lagos in droves for many years is a welcome development and good step in the right direction. Many of them hide under the pretense of riding Okada and Keke during the day, while they strategically distribute themselves in inner and exterior parts of Lagos State committing all manners of crimes and untold hardship on residents.

“Security of lives and properties in any part of Nigeria is a business of all citizens of Nigeria, so, undocumented invaders, should not be allowed in any part of the country, as there is serious need for vigilance due to the growing rate of terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, thuggery, mindless killings and other criminal activities.

“Many of these guys are invaders, who must be checked and be sent back to wherever they came from. At least, on two occasions, they have shown their true colors, when they went to attack Ejigbo Police Station in Oshodi-Isolo, around 11pm at night, which caused panic in the area. At another time, they went to attack a local government, because a task force official of the local council demanded for the normal levy, which they refused to pay, hence their bike got confiscated, instead of following lawful ways to get the issue resolved, they resulted to lawless act by setting the local government council on fire. This is brutal, crude, mindless, and must be stopped.

“We cannot afford to open our eyes, while these aliens take over the entire Lagos, because if not quickly arrested, we won’t all be able to sleep, as another type of insurgents might spring up, and will be troubling everyone of us in the State. When our lives is threatened by invaders, we must learn to eschew politics of bitterness and stand by the truth.”

Also speaking on the issue, a security expert and President of Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria, Dr. Ona Ekhomu, said the restriction was necessary to bring sanity back to Lagos roads.

He disclosed this during an interview published on Saturday, February 1 edition of The Punch Newspaper.

Ekhomu said, “The ban on okada and keke on some routes in Lagos has some advantages. I think the government has done well in a civil manner by listing the roads where they are to stop plying. Any commercial motorcycle or tricycle rider that is affected should simply look for other routes to ply because it is good to have sanity on the road.

“Those that used to ply Ikorodu road around the Ketu and Mile 12 axis had hitherto constituted nuisance. A society without rules and regulations is a lawless society, so, I think that they should abide by it.”

A governorship candidate in the 2019 governorship election in Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Gbadamosi, without any iota of doubt is a passionate Lagosian who wants the best for Lagos State and this is the reason he contested to govern the State on three occasions. Despite the political differences between him and Governor Sanwo-Olu, Gbadamosi hailed Lagos State government for taking a bold step to restrict the operation of the commercial motorcycles.

“There is no doubt in my mind that something needed to be done about the clear and present danger that many Okada & Keke operators had come to constitute to the lives and limbs of Lagosians, as well as their safety and security, with the invasion of Ajeromi-Ifelodun LGA HQ still fresh in our minds, as well as several recently reported incidents of attempted lynchings by mobs of Okada riders over traffic incidents. To that extent, one must commend the government for making some kind of decision,” he stated in a Facebook post titled “Transport for Lagos PT 2” on Tuesday, February 4.

The icing on the cake is the support by the ruling political party, the All Progressives Congress. Commenting on the restriction, the State Publicity Secretary of the party, Hon. Seye Oladejo, said people remained the focal point of Governor Sanwo-Olu’s administration.

His words: “Let me recall that the law being implemented has been in place for over six years after painstaking efforts by the Lagos State house of assembly to incorporate in-puts from all stakeholders. The gradual implementation of the law is a reflection of the thoughtfulness of the government not to create a shock in the polity.

“While he noted the reasons for the partial ban, it was convenient not to acknowledge the measures put in place by government to stem the impact. May I use this medium to acknowledge and appreciate the voluntary compliance of some operators in line with the laws of the state. We also wish to encourage the riders to take advantage of opportunities offered by the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund, the Lagos State Vocational Training Institutes, the ministry of women affairs and poverty alleviation, civic engagement etc. The people remain the focal point of the Sanwo-Olu administration while not losing sight of its onerous responsibility to ensure the safety of lives and property of the citizenry.”

Reading through the views of many people, it is clear to me that this action taken by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration is in the best interest of Lagos State and all the residents.

It should however be noted that this is not the first time that Lagos State government will be restricting the operation of commercial motorcycles in the State. Former Governor Babatunde Fashola’s administration in 2012 banned Okada in some parts of Lagos due to increase in crimes and high records of accident victims in government hospitals, a move that saw a drastic reduction in crime rate and Okada-related hospital enrolments.

 

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COLUMNISTS

NIGERIA DEMOCRACY, YOUTH RESTIVENESS AND DRUG ABUSE

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BY: Ademola Orunbon

          It is the belief of many that democracy should guarantee people good life. A stable democracy piloted by visionary leaders who possess the intellectual clouts to see issues at their broader and more complex perspectives should ensure a strong, stable, vibrant, virile economy with an enabling peaceful and stable political environment. Under a condition like this, the citizens can benefits maximally and fullest from democracy – good living condition, employment generation, security of lives, property and equal opportunities for self-actualization.

It must be the quest for a society where every individual can pursue his or her own aspiration using his or her God given potentials to the fullest that made many Nigerians take the battle for democracy with seriousness it deserved. But our democracy had been bastardized through bad leadership and non-challant of our leaders that tends to stay in power for the rest of their life, although Africa countries has trends of ‘sit tight’ syndromes.

Indeed, I don’t see any concrete reason why youths of nowadays will be canvassing people to vote for a 70 years and above old man into power, as they did in the last year general elections, while the youths of 40 plus roaming around the streets without job opportunities and which could not even have access to ordinary State House of Assemble ticket, instead of National House of Assembly due to the high cost of nomination forms and financial constraint to pursue his/her political carriers.

Imagine after Fifteen (15) years of uninterrupted military misrule during which the most cherished values of Nigerians were destroyed, with cavalier arrogance, by a band of ruthless, atavistic and self-seeking soldiers, the hunger of Nigerians for good governance can be understood. For fifteen (15) years, we all watched helplessly, albeit painfully, the systematic denigration of all decent norms and the deliberate pauperization of the citizens of this country. But for the pursuing of good governance and government of the people by the people and for the people ‘Democracy’ which ushered in our present transition that people earnestly eagering/aspiring for but the reverse is the case as we all watch without any rebuff, our activists had gone to sleep in the present of draconian legislation and military mentality/junta of the present administration.

Presently, no activists, group of people dare challenge the government, if they dare mobilize for protest or anything else, they will be framed up and end up in questioning by the Economic Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) or Department Of State Security (DSS) for unknown reasons. People now opt to keep mum instead of reacting to their style of governance. When are we going to put enough to all these maladministration, witch hunting of innocent people of this country for goodness sake? After all, the era of military junta is over and our constitution entrench everyone free of association and expression which we are now depriving of.

Now, the consequence, of course, were devastating; hunger, disease and ignorance became the lot of Nigerians. Life became a thing to endure rather than enjoy. But with the birth of the democratic dispensation, in 1999, millions of Nigerians were imbued with hope, hopes that at last, beautiful things were about to happen to the country that their sorrows and distress would soon be the thing of the past and come to an end totally. What with the avalanche of promises made to the people by the democratically elected leaders! But after twenty-one (21) years of transition programme, the democratically leaders are yet to make the people see the difference between this civilian regime and the plundering military junta that for long held the nation hostage.

Although, it is commonly said that the worst civilian regime is much better than the best military administration, Nigerian will want to see this betterment in very concrete terms and forms. Nigerians will wants to see food on their tables, have access to effective health care delivery system, good roads, potable water etc. There must be a remarkable difference manifestable in the quality of life of the citizens of this country. The life become harder for the people, people are committing suicide by jumping into the rivers and hanging themselves for the fact that they cannot meet up with the present situation of the Nigeria’s economy, no more middle class, it is either you rich or you poor, corporate beggars become the order of the days, no one is now feeling shy to beg for money. Please, what sort of democracy are we practicing?

We surely know that the problems of this country are too numerous to be solved even within the short period of any administration irrespective of any political parties. But one would have expected that after twenty-one (21) years of civilian administration, any serious government should have laid the foundation for finding lasting solutions to these problems. Regrettable, however, our politicians have been busy chasing shadows. All we have been hearing are ganging-ups impeachments, combat between governors and his deputy, accusations and counter accusation of corruption both real and imagined – while the social problems of the people have been neglected. When will the politicians stop pursing all these fruitless ventures and for once start working to make life better for those who elected them into office or will they allow the hope of Nigerians to die off?

Imagine from obscurity, oil boom catapulted Nigeria into global economic limelight in the 60s and 70s, and the doom of a profligate nation was held in abeyance by time. Very soon, corruption came knocking, but boom wedged its foot against the door ajar, inquiring who the intrusive visitor was. Corruption is an albatross who never travels alone. Ethnicity, impunity, nepotism, arrogance, disunity and unimaginable leadership were on its entourage. Corruption shoved down boom out of the doorway, tearing down the door for his entourage to march in. Ever since, Nigeria has battled corruption, its entourage and other forms of evil without success.

Of all the evils bedeviling the country, however, none is as frightening and as potentially calamitous as the evil of drug abuse afflicting her youths. Not corruption. Not defections. Drug abuse is the very Sword of Damocles dangling high above the heart of Nigeria. Drug abuse has scaled the fence of higher institutions and entered into churches and mosques, the holy of holies. Indeed, the drug abuse has been on the increase, but I never knew it has entered into places of worship. Imagine the viral video of a young cultist girl in hijab then, who confessed of killing several people.

If you can recall then, when some Abia state University students beheaded fellow students and used their heads as goalposts, the federal and state government didn’t see drug abuse as a predisposing factor. When armed robbers killed over 50 persons in a bank robbery in Offa, Kwara state years back, the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), didn’t see drug abuse as a factor. Government  didn’t see drug abuse in the squishing of countless victims’ head by Badoo Boys in Ikorodu, and the ritual killings by Yahoo-Yahoo Boys. Oh Allah, where are we going in this country. We hardly govern ourselves successfully. Shall we call for emissary to do so? if we couldn’t do it then.

The Presidency and National Assembly are lost about redeeming Nigeria’s drugs-crazed youths, but are very much alive political pettiness. Cultism doesn’t reside in tertiary institutions and secondary schools anymore, it has moved into primary schools, mechanic workshops, hairdressing salons, butchers’ association, viewing centres, eateries and beer parlours. No family is immune; the threat is real. There are times when parents must maintain eternal vigilance on their children. While the children of the rich do cocaine, heroin, amphetamine etc, those of the poor sniff gum, human and lizard faeces, urine and gulp Tramadol. Marijuana is now like peppermints to our future generation.

Orunbon, a journalist and public affairs analyst, writes from Abeokuta, Ogun State.

Can be reached via: orunbonibrahimademola@gmail.com, or 08034493944 and 08029301122

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