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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Fainting soldiers, ailing nation

By Busuyi Mekusi

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The political blame-game that was for a very long time a veritable instrument by the ruling APC to de-market the prodigious PDP, and excuse its challenging resolution of critical socio-economic, infrastructural and security problems appears to be waning, unless for the renewed tantrums supporters of the presidential candidates of the two leading political parties have started throwing, even though campaigns have not commenced, officially. It is also very curious that the last holder of the office of the president under the PDP, Goodluck Jonathan, narrowly missed being fielded as a presidential candidate in the just concluded purported heavily monetised primary of the APC.

If the foregoing was true, that means the glorified delegates failed to heed the call by Buhari that the ticket of the party should not be given to the highest bidder. Interestingly, Goodluck Jonathan has distanced itself from the PDP, while he remains a regular caller in the Aso Villa. He was also at the Eagle Square, Abuja, for the commemoration of the 2022 Democracy Day on June 12. With the verisimilitude in the posturing of Jonathan and Jonah in the Bible, we would see soon whether he is on the political journey to Nineveh or Tarshish.

One Buhari’s remarkable political footprint was the acceptance of the validity of the presidential result that was to produce Late MKO Abiola as the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which was annulled and aborted by the slimy military President, Ibrahim Babangida. The consequent declaration of June 12 as Nigeria Democracy Day by PMB, as against May 29 that was formerly designated to engrave the handing-over date, was a consummation of other decisions made to enlist Late MKO Abiola and his then running mate, Babagana Kingibe, with the accompanying benefits, to the dignified Hall-of-Fame of former Nigeria leaders. Little wonder that Kingibe was introduced as a former VP during the Democracy Day celebration!

The 1993 June 12 crisis consumed both the young and old, but more of the lowly than the well-placed. While the strategic members of the elite group could migrate unconventionally to exile, the lowly and some notable NADECO members were victims of hostilities that were generated and perpetuated by government, on the one hand, and the ethnic dimension ascribed to the struggle, on the other. The carefully skewed reconciliatory transitional process that produced the Obasanjo-presidency was majorly to assuage the proponents of the restoration of the annulled result, that was then to some power brokers nothing but good radiance to bad rubbish.

Just as found in other instances of restitution, the restoration of the spirit and letters of the June 12 1993 presidential election reasonably edified and dignified the memory of the standard bearer and his murdered wife, Kudirat, but would not make up for the avoidable deaths that rattled the family, and put it in disarray. Curiously, some politicians still reference their June 12 credentials as reasons for their own political compensation, while others live yet with recriminations, and the people behind the inglorious annulment staging different celebrations instead of being made to face retributions. It was cheap that Yaya Bello appointed Hafsat Abiola-Costello as his campaign DG in his failed attempt at the APC presidential ticket in the just concluded primary, and adopted the slogan of ‘Hope’ to reincarnate the movement that was in 1993, as against the nonsense political ‘endowment’ that is in 2023.

Discussions about the desirability of the celebration of the Democracy Day were as variegated as expected of the politicisation of issues by Nigerian politicians, as members of the ruling party glorified the 23-year of unbroken civilian rule whereas oppositions decried the visible recession in political behaviours and economy. The ruling APC has severally characterised the PDP as a party of impunity, under whose 16-year rule; corruption was rife, insecurity was palpable, infrastructure was deficient, economy was dragging, etc., for which the party lost an election to an amalgamated opposition party. The PDP, in turn, has continued to insist that the APC should take Nigeria back to 2015, with the almost total blackout experienced in all sectors of life: worsening insecurity, weak economy, bloated corruption, etc. The sincerity of these politicians could not be gauged by their outburst, as political parties remained mere platforms; players are the same in thought and characterisation, and certified looters lock horns for Nigeria coffers. I hope the possibility of reflecting on tattered umbrella and blunted stunted broom would exist soonest.

Many average Nigerians are troubled by devalued naira, galloping inflation, unpaid salary, insecurity, trauma, and eclectic hopelessness. Drug abuse, unbridled sex, internet fraud, religious hypocrisy or bigotry, etc., are some of the pass-time of forlorn youths, who choose to worry less about another protracted ASUU strike.

Lagos hosted another absurd drama recently when a sex-buyer incited the killing of a sex-worker for keeping a copy of the Holy Quran where she plies her questionable trade. One would not be surprised seeing the Biblical model of Jesus that prescribes the one without a sin to cast the first stone as Nigeria has been reduced to a nation where vices are celebrated and virtues are condemned,  and where, at best, little infractions attract heavy sanctions, while heavy offences earn light punishments.

The menace of increased unregistered and unregulated Okada riders, mostly of northern or ‘Malian’ extractions, has been added to the security concerns and breaches hitherto attributable in southern Nigeria to killer herders, bandits, kidnappers, etc. We do not require any prophet, even the usual political ones, to remind southerners that they have burning coals on their roofs, given the recent murders in the Owo Catholic Cathedral. Interestingly, Ògún is being prepared by its worshippers in Òwò to avenge the killings of these innocent people, as one wonders if Ògún would not ‘step into’ the precinct of the church, to carry out its assignment.

One of the highlights of the 2022 Democracy Day parade at the Eagle Square, Abuja, was the fainting of three military personnel. These individuals were stretched out of the parade ground, aside for medical interventions, and later regained consciousness. The rigorous military drilling and training of military officers noticeably stand out, which could allow them adjust to very demanding situations and cope with tasking expectations. Without prejudice to human fallibility and the state of health of these individuals, one would be disappointed experiencing such a slip during a programme that held for few hours, forgetting that fatigue is also a constant feature of warped-up agencies. Ailing and fainting are human, and that explains why some political loyalists of candidates keep downplaying physical fitness in governance. It was instructive that while PMB, the Special Guest of Honour, marched gallantly on the red carpet, before mounting the military van for the inspection of the guards, that the three younger officer would bow to the pressure of a ailing nation.

The three fainting officers are a parody of people within the military establishment whose morale has been dampened by contradictions within, failed military operations, lack of adequate incentives and equipment, and by extension the ailing majority Nigerians, who are groaning under the weight of scarce disempowered naira, endless kidnapping and mindless killings, poor medical facilities and lack of access to available fair ones, collapsed roads that batter their automobiles, cacophonies of non-state actors that drive sleep away, both day and night, and so on. These common maladies have reduced human worth, made life precarious, and enhanced the desperation for migration. Undoubtedly, the Nigeria space is poisonously troubling and systematically annihilating. Where is our humanity?

With ambitious rhetorics already paving the Nigeria political space, it is not very certain we are going to have a change in the status quo, as public monies keep flowing into the hands of privileged few, particularly through crude theft; private monies are being mopped up by terrorists, former Accountant General of the Federation looted billions of naira belonging to government, while the acting AGF lamented their using loans to pay salary, even as politicians have dollarised the Nigeria economy to the detriment of the naira, as evidenced in the presidential primaries of the two major political parties. Nigeria is indeed an ailing anaemic nation in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

To resuscitate Nigeria and Nigerians, just like the revived three soldiers, people with stolen monies should surrender their loots back to the coffers; drains in our revenue drives should be plugged up; political offices should be made less attractive; more production should be done for local consumption and exportation; insecurity must be fought head-long; dollarisation of the economy should be criminalised, with the foregoing driven by genuine renaissance. It is wrong for the few rich to be firm when the majority impoverished continue to faint!

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