Time to draw the Curtain
The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) is one organisation I would not touch with a long pole. But even the devil talks sense at times. It issued a statement last week asking questions that can be pigeon holed into the rhetorical about the state of the nation. That was a time hundreds were killed in parts of the north amidst apprehensions that the killings could get out of hand.
And is it actually true that three police officers were arrested days ago for allowing Hon Farouk Lawan to go home and sleep while he was supposed to be in police detention? I did not ask that question seeking an answer. No. There will never be an answer from a system that is inured to the shocks normality shares with whatever is shameful. The Catholic bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Rev Father Matthew Hassan Kukah also struck a chord last Monday in Lagos when he looked at the security break down racking the nation and warned that time was running out for Nigeria. I doubt if it is just not too late already for the nation. Where do we start the reclamation of the horribly eroded beach of sanity and morality? Where?
Last year in Indonesia, revelations that a tax official, Gayus Tambunan had "bribed his way out of jail while awaiting conviction for taking kickbacks to cut companies' taxes" shocked the entire nation. And that country's leadership quickly saw the need to arrest the drift. Indonesian tax collectors now have intense "military physical training from the president's security forces to build up (their) muscles and moral fiber." You may laugh at this Indonesian prescription especially if you look at it from the local realities here. But the truth is, that country was appalled by the audacity of the acts of the felons and took corrective measures. The last time we may hear of the Nigerian case would most likely be the news items we already read about the police officers' arrest. Es pirit de corps will take care of the rest and the cess pool of shamelessness continues to stream into the fountain head of our collective existence.
There are very decent officers in the Nigeria Police. I have met quite a number of them in the course of duty. I have also met quite very undesirable ones. They are creations of the Nigerian system, a system that has lost its head to the rotteness of pecuniary justice. In all sectors here, the common strain of illness you see is race for excessive wealth accumulation even where it is not logically possible. Nigerians like squeezing water out of rocks and they see opportunities in everything. Did the guys who "helped" Lawan go home from detention do it as an act of charity? Did they act alone or were they obeying orders? How do we know or get answers to these questions? And from who do we seek answers in a world where cool, calm, fine rhetoric very often cloth beastly acts and motives? President Barack Obama early this month under the Kingpin Act, blacklisted a prominent Balkan businessman, Naser Kelmendi for alleged drug trafficking. As is typical of the third world, it took a decision taken in Washington to draw attention to suspected acts of criminality of this man who has never been tried in his country for any criminal offence. It is very significant that the man is so influential in his country to the extent that he is reported to be "in negotiations to become Bosnia’s new Minister of Security." Imagine. But even here, no one cares who you are as long as you have the money and you spend it. Would the nation have had its current security problems if it had played all its games by the rules? Would elements who abet rule- breaking not look away when security breaches are being committed?
And killings, bomb blasts and reprisal attacks continue to shame our common humanity. Can we see that these problems are a coterie of complex class and regional/ethnic struggles? Did you watch that special sitting of the House of Representatives on the Farouk tragedy two fridays ago? What strange thing did you notice in the unity of the House? Did you observe that there was no ACN or PDP or CPC or APGA or ANPP in the consideration of the stands they took? I don’t know if you also noticed that the primary concern of those guys was the preservation of their individual and collective privileges as members of a special class of Nigerians.
And beyond the tragedy of that House, will you also agree that this country can just not continue to flounder as it does now? Did you listen to Niger State governor, Babangida Aliyu last week as he gave official stamp to strange thoughts in the north that some vile forces outside the region were responsible for the violence in the north with the aim of destroying its economic base? What sense is in that statement? Huh? Sir Lewis Harcourt (after who Lord Lugard named Port Harcourt), in 1914 celebrated the union of Nigeria as a marriage between the North (husband)and the South (wife). Hear him: “We have released Northern Nigeria from the leading strings of the treasury. The ‘promising and well conducted youth’ (North) is now on an allowance on his own and is about to effect an alliance with a ‘Southern Lady of means’. I have issued the special license and Sir Frederick Lugard will perform the ‘marriage’ ceremony.” Almost 100 years after that solemn marriage, the “well conducted” man of 1914 is now gasping for breath in self inflicted suffocation. It is now looking for scape goats and pointing at the wife, the “lady of means” as the source of his misfortune. The structure has cracked down to the foundation. Now, shouldn’t we decide if we really want to continue with the union? Shouldn’t a marriage that has been a cocktail of pains and tears and blood and abuse be determined? What are the terms of the separation (or is it divorce)? And if we want to continue to stay together, should we not redefine the terms of the marriage? Is it normal for a supposed union of equals to have monstrous masters and hopeless vassals?
The ACN would really not likely get answers to the posers it raised last week on the state of the nation but the country stands to benefit if genuine attempts are made to answer them. If the government is too lax to think of an answer, at least the media should do it. Are there elements profiting from the insecurity in the country? Who are they? Where are they? Or are we so dumb or bought over that we cannot think straight again? Or do we simply join those who believe we should file for the liquidation of this Nigerian enterprise if it cannot be saved? Should we not say enough of bailouts paid in human blood for an enterprise with all the symptoms of a complex terminal illness? Should we not draw the curtain on this tragedy?
Everything we do with ourselves now just bear out former South African apartheid leader, P.W. Botha, when he says, ‘‘Blacks are not capable of ruling themselves; give them guns and they will kill each other.’’Share