Of Nigerian Rats And Akwa Ibom Noise Makers
By Essien Ndueso
When did Nigeria got reduced to this comedy theatre where our pride and integrity as civilized people could be bastardized and traded for a few self seeking individuals’ ego to be massaged?
That a country where the President had been absent for several weeks, could witness the president returning to put off all activities at the highest seat of power on a flimsy excuse of dancing to the tune of a rat? What did we do to deserve this? How did we get here? If our Number one citizen is now being chased around by rats, what happens when confronted with the myriad of problems confronting the average 180m Nigerians. Obviously if a rat can chase the President out of Aso Rock, then obviously a snake will pursue him out of Abuja, and what happens when the much talk about hyenas and jackals come calling, he runs to UK again? Haba!
All the handlers of Mr President and the seat of government do everyday, is to think of one lie or the other to cook and distract Nigerians from the basic question of poor governance that has bedevilled the populace. None of them thinks of the repercussions of these actions. For example, in the international community, Nigeria is already losing it all with a tepid show to real essence of governance, indicating that the wellbeing of the people and the integrity of the nation is not important to its leaders. First it was the presidential spokesperson Femi Adesina calling all critics of the president, wailing wailers, then Alhaji Lai Mohammed described Senegalese and Ghanaian meals as the best in Africa. Now, it is Mallam Shehu Garba with rats conspiracy theory.
So many people are u able to recover from the shock that after three months of being away for undisclosed reasons, the president came back to narrate a conversation he had with a dead former Nigerian military officer, who is no more around to confirm the story, and expects that to address the puzzles on the faces of Nigerians. Not now, we cannot resort to extramundane communication, we need physical and verifiable actions. Everyone knows that several sectors in the country have been crippled owing to his absence, and the lost time needs to be regained like a speed of light so that a bit of sanity could be restored in the polity. Alas, that has not happened, the president has went further to put off the weekly federal executive council meeting, the first he ought to have, after a long period of absence. Is this what we had been waiting for? This means that all official engagements are put on hold. If the rat fairy tale is being used in the work -from -home theory, then what anecdote will they publish for cancelling the meeting of the highest decision body in the country which in the true sense of it, has not been held for three months? Is this what is applicable in sane climes, or will investors from those countries take us serious as a nation?
It is always said that money, or investments can only thrive in secured and sane environments. In our native parlance, it is said that “when a house owner labels his house as dilapidated or unworthy, he gives room for the neighbour to burn it down.” The actions of the present federal government have put Nigerians and Nigeria in a worse light among people across the face of earth. Investors, even those who would just love to play around with money, are reluctant to bring in their hard earned money into a country whose president says in bold terms that there is no good medical facility, and there is no intention of making any available. This President Buhari has said through his numerous foreign medical vacations.
The labelling of Nigerians as corrupt means that for anyone to invest, he must bring double the amount he needs for the investment, and secondly, he must bring in trusted saints from outside the country. Corruption is endemic to development the world over and no reasonable investor is willing to be conned in a country whose president admits everyone is corrupt yet no significant conviction has been recorded in more than two years.
Late Gen Sani Abacha’s era may have been Nigeria’s most dreaded junta, but he had the most excellent professional brains surrounding his table, striving to ensure that even with the numerous international political and economic sanctions, the condition of living was bearable or seemingly bearable for the common man. They worked hard towards a good image for the country, and urged the people to hold their heads high in pride. This is now democracy and we are no more proud of our country, why are the various advocates of good governance keeping quiet? Is it because we now have improved security in the country as we were promised or is it because there is remarkable power sector improvement?
Taking Akwa Ibom state into cognisance, the federal government said in the 2016 appropriation law that the Calabar -Uyo-Lagos Railway would commence. Then in June 2016 came the news that the Federal Government and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the execution of the 11.12 billion-dollar Lagos-Calabar railway project. The modern day activists took to the social media to malign and attack all the previous administrations in the country, and score political points. More than a year later nothing has been seen on ground. Thereafter, earlier this year, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved N54 billion for the reconstruction of popular but collapsed Odukpani-Itu-Ikot Ekpene federal highway to link Cross River with Akwa Ibom state. With four months to the end of the year, nothing is seen anywhere as a scratch to show that the work claimed to have been given to Julius Berger will commence this year. No single federal government project has been executed in the last two years, even though the 45% resources of this country, used in fighting rats in Aso rock are generated from the state. In all sincerity, the only federal attention in this part of the country is the few roads’ potholes patched by the intervention agency, NDDC alongside a couple of generators to few health care centers.
I have decided to use Akwa Ibom as a case study, not because it is generally peaceful and is attracting significant investment, but because the most fiery critics and petition writers in the history of this country, have their roots here. These sets of people are reportedly constantly available to the highest bidder disparage successive governments in Akwa Ibom state. I sincerely believe that as a journalist, it is not fair to base my convictions on mere myths and speculations. I recalled the negative noises we heard when former Godswill Akpabio set out for his uncommon transformation agenda, we are witnessing the noises despite the significant achievements by Governor Udom Emmanuel. Two weeks ago, the internet was flooded with ramblings of million youths gearing to protest against Governor Emmanuel for the most flimsy of reasons, even though the number of people that came out first in Lagos was only 13, and then in Uyo about 56. We expect that as people with conscience and interest in the wellbeing of their people, these same people who are few but highly inflammable in their mode of operation could lend their voices and for one cry out that, we the youths in Akwa Ibom are disappointed and disenchanted by this show of laxity in governance and the u fair treatment to Akwa Ibom. We want to witness their noise over the disrepute and economic meltdown that this country has been plunged into, under the watch of their idols.
Ndueso, a journalist writes from Uyo, Akwa Ibom State