By Bayo Fasunwon
There are strong indications that come 2022, there would be more than two hundred per cent hike in the prices of premium motor spirit and other crude oil derivatives. For many private vehicle owners, the grim repercussion would be that it would become cheaper, though not safer and conducive, to travel or move around in public transport.
For many, travelling on public bikes could be very dangerous venture while owning a motor bike would take away a large chunk of their saving, it now being sold around four and fifty thousand naira. But for the insecurity, time wasting, congestion in the traffic, travelling through public transport system could be quite instructive and beautiful. It is in public transport that short lived enmity and love develops amongst travelers who may never meet again.
One of such ventures via public transport journey on an eight hours journey (actually, should have been 4 hours, but for bad roads and security checks) became possible in the penultimate week. The discussions that ensued in the bus inspired this column’s article this week. The gridlock that ushered us out of Lagos and that which welcomed us into Ibadan brought up the discussion. Prior to this time, the bus, for which we paid for full services did not have a radio to give us news and or music. The gap was filled by three young men, whom many had concluded were yahoo boys (given their appearances).
They brought out their big Mp3 device and filled the quiet bus with their style of music. We were glad that the void was filled and we forgot our initial labelling of these ‘good’ guys.
The scenario reminded me of certain realities in Nigeria. In the first instance, Nigerians are being cheated by all service providers. The Petrol attendant gives you lesser fuel than the meter shows; we pay for electricity and get darkness, pay high taxes for low services’ road worthiness paid to travel on unworthy road and now the Driver we paid suddenly becomes our Boss.
Instead of demanding for services that are commensurate to our investments, Nigerians have learnt to endure and accept the situation, and in most cases have found other means of getting services. Instead of demanding for a working radio, we take shelter under the trees branches we had earlier condemned. In the past, many Nigerians would have shied away from yahoo yahoo plus to avoid stains on family name.
Now yahoo yahoo boys are getting encomiums, titles and followership from people who see their ill-gotten wealth as means to service provision. As beneficiaries of corruption increased, so does the corrupted. So, if the corrupted could get the service provided, they would support the corrupt.
As we waited in the traffic, the driver tried to use Lagos sense in Ibadan, but the undiluted curses from diabolic tongues restored his senses to legal behavior. So, in Nigeria, we respond more to diabolic threats than to law enforcement agents. That may be the reasons Nigerians are clamouring for the employment of Witchdoctors as against Judges while swearing in political office holders, and why not? In the traffic, two friends started discussing about Nigeria. One was a Politician while the other was a Civil Servant.
The Civil Servant blamed President Muhammadu Buhari for the woes of the country.
He stated that increment in fuel price had not in any way bettered the country, and his economic policies had only brought tears and blood to the hard-working citizens of the country. He reeled out unemployment, government insensitivity, low value of the naira and insecurity as Buhari’s endowment to the nation. Every bad thing in this nation was attributed to Buhari.
The Politician friend was calm as his party, and party leader were being smeared in the mud, and then replied. He started by saying the present gridlock we were experiencing then was truly caused by Buhari. He explained that the President had approved the construction of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, and the construction was actually causing the traffic as work was ongoing.
To him, Nigerians lacked patience and understanding of what governance was all about. He explained that Nigerians wanted Buhari, who inherited a bad economy to act like God and turn it around in six days. What caught my attention however was that he concluded that everything that happens in every home – students bullying others; upsurge in yahoo yahoo; kidnapping; domestic violence; cheating couples; rain during harmattan and other countless personal reckless behaviours of Nigerians have been blamed on Buhari.
He reminded that in Ekiti, indigenes of the State were arrested and unmasked as Kidnappers and killers thus debunking earlier beliefs that the criminals were Fulani herdsmen. He reminded his friend that President Buhari had asked Local and States Governments to secure their States by all means possible, but how many, with the huge security votes Governors collect every month had acted like Governor Rotimi Akeredolu in Ondo State?
President Muhammadu Buhari has become the devil on whose head, blames are foisted for our wrong decision. Under the same leadership, some States are growing in leaps and bounds, while some are lamenting that the suffering of their workers is the handiwork of Buhari. The Civil Servants who circumvent processes, misguide political office holders, and teach them how to steal for their selfish pecuniary gain would also blame Buhari for the backwardness of the nation. Was it Buhari who asked Governors and Senators to hoard COVID 19 palliatives when people were suffering and dying? If not for the intervention of the Ekiti State and Ondo State Governors, we would have continued to blame Buhari for the high cost of goods in our markets.
The Politician concluded that Nigerians are in themselves wicked to their fellow men, and only seek for opportunities to hide under an excuse, this time Buhari, to exhibit their innate wickedness to their fellow man. As this year comes to an end, let us leave Buhari out of the picture, and think deep within us, what are we doing to kill ourselves and this nation? President Olusegun Obasanjo and the Presidency have agreed on one issue: President Muhammadu Buhari has tried his best. As Obasanjo observed and Buhari had once concurred, age is not on the side of the President.
So, as we prepare for an election season next year, let us wean ourselves from the Buhari blame capsule. It is in our hands to choose energetic, well informed, versatile and patriotic people to lead us to a new nation. It is often said that if government is bad and the people are good, then the good people would change the bad government. ‘Let him that has no sin cast the first stone’. The time is ripe for Nigerians to decide against exploitative profiteering. Before we change Buhari, let us change ourselves.
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