By Kazeem Azeez Idowu*
They warned us that we are living in a false sense of security but we would not listen. They told us that the nemeses will soon catch up on us but we ignore the warning. They prophesised that we are on the verge of destruction; that we are at the threshold of breaking apart; that what we are relying on will soon become a relic; that until we are ready to change nothing will change; and that sincerity is the starting point. Unfortunately, we pay no heed to this piece of advice, we denounce the possibility of this reality, we turn Nelson’s eye to this truth. Rather, we take interest in deceit, we create our own artificial reality, we continue living in the world of illusion; and we persistently continue fantasising about our self –made artificial reality concerning our future as a nation. But now that the reality beckons; that the truth is unveiled, that the possibilities become imminent; it is no longer the masses alone that will suffer the loss.
Around this same time last year 2012 specifically, the entire citizenry woke up with the hope of having a splendid New Year only to be greeted with a New Year package, subsidy removal. Several civil society organizations protested against the action of the Federal Government almost to no avail. However, after an extensive negotiation with the Federal Government by the Nigeria Labour Congress, the price was agreed to be fixed at N97 per litre. The gist of the matter is that when it appeared that the entire Nigerians were against the removal of subsidy, there was the allegation that the government allegedly sponsored some self-centred organizations to stage their own protest too in order to make it appear that Nigerians were divided as regards subsidy removal. What pains one to the bone marrow has nothing to do with what the government wanted to achieve with this, rather, it is the fact that some so called students’ bodies joined the list of the organizations allegedly sponsored. This is not even the point; the point is that the government was successful in its action and succeeded in projecting the false reality to the entire world. The distorted truth was given as bait to the international community to swallow with the assistance of these so called ‘leaders of tomorrow’ and the self-centred organizations. Now the poser: how much is petro sold today? Is it still the same N97?
However, the above is not even my concern. The nucleus of my concern is that I have some questions to ask and I need answers to them. What if ask where the proceeds realised from the remove of subsidy over the last 12months are? Undoubtedly, those that were given their own share of ‘the national cake’ just to support removal of subsidy must have finished spending it. But I ask again where is the proceeds realised over the last few months? How much is it? Where and what was it spent on? I will be most grateful to any one that answers these questions. I doubt if the Minister of Petroleum Resource himself could give reasonable satisfactory answers to these questions.
When subsidy was removed from diesel in the year 2000, the arguments canvassed to justify the removal is similar to those arguments canvassed by the government when removing subsidy from petroleum products in year 2012. Then the same questions go. Where is the proceeds realized from the removal of subsidy on diesel from the year 2000 till now? How much is it? If it had been spent, what was it spent on? I do not want to believe there is no answer to these questions though I cannot answer them myself, I wouldn’t know if you can.
More so, the usual excuse that has been trailing subsidy regime is that some people somewhere who, perhaps, were faceless like Boko Haram to the Federal government, divert the money to their private use. What would first come to mind is why doesn’t the government probe them, and if they are found guilty, be made to face the music? Of course, like every other investigations in Nigeria, investigation was conducted in to the subsidy regime with a view to bringing the wrath of law to bear on those people. But what is the result of the investigation? Can any one answer this? How could the culprit be punished when the supposed Honourable member of the House of Representative in charge of the investigation got his hand smeared in bribery in the processes of carrying out the investigation? It is not surprising that the case of Faruq Lawan v. Otedola was swept under the rug or probable carpet. Faruq Lawan, despite being involved in this dastardly act continues merry-making at the floor of the House. If somebody is worthy of being proclaimed a pariah and he is nevertheless shielded to remain in the mantle of leadership, then what message is the leadership of the House sending to the citizenry? I do not blame his partner anyway, probably because I did not have any high expectation of a business mogul like him.
Now, talking about the results of our various dastardly acts, the roads are as good as death-traps – you have a safe journey only if God saves you from falling prey. The aviation is but a threshold to the grave – the chance of flying onboard safely to your destination is very narrow. Travelling on water is like digging your own grave – the chance of returning safely is very thin. Riding on a bike, you risk the chance of losing your legs or death. And in fact, sitting at home under the comfort of your room, if any, even involves more risk than the earlier mentioned. To go to a place of worship is like signing a death warrant or obtaining a ticket to board a train to eternity. Nowhere is safe. If the Force Headquarters and the United Nation Building in Abuja could be bombed safely, then what is the assurance that you will even finish reading this piece before a bomb attack would make you a victim (God forbids).
Nigeria has gone to state that a man entitled to four or more hefty men as security, having a riffle gun or a cutlass within his reach, having the inscription on the wall of his house which reads: ‘this house is covered with the blood of the lamb’, and having under his pillow a bible which, opening to the relevant page it reads ‘the Lord is my shepherd’, yet could hardly sleep with his two eyes closed. If the president and the governors themselves are falling prey of the traps they themselves and their predecessors set sometimes ago with their own hands, then the life of an average Nigerian is a subject of dice. We claim to have a vision as a nation but never has there been any time we realised half of whatever vision we might claim to have. Vision 2012, vision 2015 or funny enough, vision 2020, when the president himself never know whether he would live to witness Xmas of next year. If Andrew Asassi and his colleagues who were involved in the helicopter crash had been told that they would not witness 2013, they might perhaps doubt it, but where are they today?
We have only succeeded in failing in the year 2012. It was the year that Nigerians witnessed the deaths of innocent souls more than ever in the history of this nation. Never, even during the civil war, where people lost their innocent souls to the mighty death as they did to boko Haram Bombing. Road accidents resulting from bad roads are countless. The fact that Plane crash is almost becoming a domicile of Nigeria loomed large in the year 2012. Poverty level increased, insecurity amplified, uncertainty trails people’s livelihood. Is something wronged with the year? I swear nothing is wronged with but something is wronged with us, Nigerians. Do you think this as still a good luck? Yes, Good luck indeed!
Now, that we could not help our conditions, we all become living witnesses to the grave economic predicament, insecurity and the uncertainty which an inept and corrupt leadership has imposed on our beloved nation. I am taking of the harsh and the intolerable conditions under which we are now living. Our economy has been hopelessly mismanaged; we have become a debtor and a beggared nation. We have gone so far in our insincerity and deceit in this nation that we have forgot where we were coming from. We have committed so many sins against our fellow beings that the nemeses have begun to catch-up on us. We have lost our value as a giant of Africa. We have so continuously and selfishly deceived ourselves all in the name of politics that we have now lost the track of who we are and what we are endowed with as a nation. We have come, we have seen and we have failed as a nation. Let me say without mincing words that the Nigeria of today is but the product of our thoughts, and if we desire a better Nigeria, we will have to change our thoughts. God bless Nigeria!
*Kazeem Azeez Idowu is an LL.b candidate University of Ilorin, a public analyst, a prolific writer who writes to right and a poet. He is a member of African Foundation of International Law. Contact him on [email protected] or visit immunityview.blogspot.com