When speaking about Nigeria overseas, I normally prefer to be my country’s marketing officer, extolling her virtues and hoping to attract investments and tourists. But as we all know, Nigeria is battling with many challenges, and if I refer to them, I do so only to impress on our friends in the United Kingdom that we are quite aware of our shortcomings and are doing our best to address them (Buhari at Chattam House, 2015)
Since his ascendancy to power in 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) has sustained the culture of marketing the country very well. He does so mostly in colonial homeland of the United Kingdom as a strategic way of confirming neo-colonial mentality which our national leaders have refused to delete.
He has reason to feel obliged to doing so in the UK having been a beneficiary of a world class health facility to which we are denied in our homeland. Consigned to the ‘other room’, Nigerians have not been given the privilege of hearing from their president address them on critical issues of national importance; even his intention to run was relayed to Nigerians through his media aide. At home, the president is shielded from answering questions from the press but abroad, he is opened to barrage of questioning to which he attends to but not without slips.
At his last Commonwealth trip abroad, PMB marketed Nigeria as a country whose army cannot ward off external aggression from Fulani-herdsmen now transmogrified to “Muammar Gaddafi’s” mercenary soldiers killing farmers and clergy in Benue, Nasarawa, Kogi among others. The Gaddafi mercenaries were the same set of characters on behalf of whom the President pleaded with the Benue people to learn to accommodate as their countrymen.
PMB during the business forum portrayed an image of a grand-father of illiteracy with about sixty percent youthful population, largely unschooled but demanding free housing, health, and education in a nation where Local Government Chairmen, Governors, Ministers, National Assembly members, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Presidential aides, and PMB have sweated in the last three years to construct the best health facility as that of the UK. The ‘siddon look’ youth are too blind to see the world class educational institutions provided for them but they are still waiting for PMB to send cars to take them to school. This youth must be caned!
How blind can they be to see how PMB has reduced the two worlds: a tiny Island of prosperity and a vast ocean of misery he accused Goodluck Jonathan of creating in his Chattam house speech in 2015?
Illiteracy is a disease indeed. If not, why can’t the youth be silent against the wide gulf between the rich and the poor even when the National Bureau of Statistics snapshot of Nigeria inequality indicated that 58.4percent of national expenditure and consumption go to the rich while the poor majority takes 11.4percent. How daring could they be by demanding their share of national cake when the Governors in their progressive thinking go to retirement with legislated millions while civil servants of 35 years of active service carry placards to get two months out of the ten months arrears being owed them! Why can’t the youth follow the Yusuf’s farming example and ride power bike to their farms not necessarily to be injured.
If the youth are too blind to see the plunging of 6million formerly employed able-bodied Nigerians into the ocean of Nigeria’s unemployment market, at least they should be able to appreciate the 2million jobs already created by the government.
Let Leah Sharibu come out and be spanked for daring to go to school on a day that the security will be redeployed elsewhere. Why asking government to bring her back?Is she not intelligent enough to know the limits of rights or has the government not done enough in technically decimating Bokoharam? Don’t Nigerians know where we were before this government came on board in May 2015? If yes, why should Nigerians be bothering a government that PMB said ‘we are doing very well in security’ to check the ‘Gaddafi’ herdsmen killing spree? can’t we see that we do not need self-defence with the way our security men arrested those guys who came to steal Senate mace? Why will the youths join opposition parties who are instigating killings around the country but are too big for the government to arrest? Haba! Where did you see or hear the President utter the word, Lazy?
Chai! Nigerians don’t even know the difference between ‘a lot’ ,‘some’ and ‘all’. Can’t you see how the children of the rich are busy farming and occupying the tiny islands of prosperity in Central Bank of Nigeria, Federal Inland Revenue, Nigeria National Petroleum Company through the back door but the children of the masses are sitting down doing nothing instead of going to farm.
But like the killer who dreads sword dangling around his head, PMB detests to hear that his government is doing nothing yet he accuses the youth of sitting down and doing nothing. Hear him: “We have a very young population. Our population is conservatively 180million and more than sixty percent are below the age of 30, a lot of them haven’t been to school and they are claiming that Nigeria has been a oil producing country therefore they should sit and do nothing and get housing, healthcare and education free but let me tell you that recently my Minister for Education or for Information was constrained to answer a question from people who are accusing the administration of doing nothing.”
There is a problem when a government thinks it is doing very well in economy and does not understand that the majority who voted him to power are swimming in ocean of misery. If a government thinks that it is doing very well in security while those who are supposed to supply food to the nation are being killed and their land taken over by ‘Gaddafi herdsmen’ then there is a bigger problem. Was PMB and his team not told by Bill Gates that his investment in Education and Health was a drop in the ocean? Where then is the Education, health or housing on ground that people can boast of let alone ask for free? What is left to say if Nigeria still ranks among most dangerous places to give birth on earth and fourth in maternal mortality rate? Gates nailed it when he said “If you invest in their health, education and opportunities, the human capital, we are talking about today, then they will lay the foundation for sustained prosperity. If you don’t, however, then it is very important to recognise that there will be a sharp limit on how much the country can grow”.
The youth should stand up, register, pick their PVCs and be counted in 2019. This is how to show they are not indolent but have the agency to reverse the current trend to a country with an ocean of prosperity and a tiny Island of misery.
Dr Tade, a sociologist sent this piece via firstname.lastname@example.org