No road to 2023 here

Tue Dec 4th, 2018 - Benue

By Yinka Odumakin

IT’s a funny season for the foxes Nigeria is afflicted with as leading politicians spin yawns that do not correspond to the pathetic reality in our ground zero. The country’s economic and political scene is wobbling on perdition lane.

Atiku and Buhari

The country is daily disintegrating with social collapse staring us in the face. Hope is fading fast, and our overfed politicians are totally inured from the imminent catastrophe, only interested in political permutations while the country careers dangerously on the edge of a precipice .

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A diary of deaths published by Vanguard last Sunday showed the depth of a terminal crisis Nigeria is enmeshed in at the moment .The report partly read: “2018 has been a harbinger of death, tears of blood and gnashing of the teeth for a host of people and families in all parts of the country. No state was spared the anguish of gruesome murders.

Literally, Nigeria could be described as a killing field in 2018 as no fewer than 6,562 Nigerians, according to Sunday Vanguard’s checks, were slaughtered through the Boko Haram insurgency, herdsmen and farmers’ clashes (a misnomer!) cult clashes, sectarian and communal clashes, kidnapping, ritual killings and armed robbery, among others.

“The Boko Haram insurgency and herdsmen and farmers’ clashes (again!) accounted for the bulk of the deaths. The North-Central, North-East and North-West zones were the apex theatres of the killings with states like Borno, Benue, Plateau, Zamfara, Kaduna, Kogi, Nasarawa, and Taraba being the epicentre of the killings.

The death figure is conservative because it is based on but is not even limited to reported incidents and deaths. Many killings were not reported or the casualty figures not disclosed. If those who died in the custody of kidnappers were added, the tally would be much higher.

Epicentre of the killings

The 6,562 deaths recorded since the beginning of 2018 exclude those who died from illnesses, accidents, flooding, infant mortality, Lassa fever, malaria, HIV/AIDS, etc.

Those killed include civilians and security agents as well as the insurgents. In the first 10 weeks of the year as tallied by Sunday Vanguard in March 2018, no fewer than 1,351 people were mowed down. In January, 676 Nigerians were killed, and in February, no fewer than 517 people died violently, across the country.

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For the remaining months, the death tolls are as follows: March, 485; April, 670; May, 508; June, 639; July, 357; August, 363; September, 926; October, 1,033; and November, 388″. While we are still mourning the mass murder of our soldiers in Metele by the “technically defeated” Boko Haram, a new terror group emerged in Sokoto in the past week. Residents of Tangaza Local Government Area of the state are owning up to the fact that an armed group is currently imposing compulsory levies on them and punishing defaulters.

The armed group that is carrying sophisticated weapons is currently in control of the council by applying ‘strange laws’ and punishing those not cooperating

A resident of the area, Mallam Bello Tangaza said the armed group was invited by leaders of the communities few months ago. He said that though only 10 members of the armed group were invited for security purpose, but they have ended up with the mob that is reportedly from Mali. The Federal Government has yet to make any statement on the development as I write this. We are in a season of anomie of a sort.

But for our political merchants it really does not matter what ails the country; it’s only power calculation that matters. Minister of Power, Works and Housing (we have not seen much in any of the three), Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola was in such mood when he declared at a town hall in Ibadan recently: “You know that power is rotating to the South-West after the completion of Buhari’s tenure if you vote for him in 2019? Your child cannot surrender her waist for an edifying beads and you will use the bead to decorate another child’s waist.

A vote for Buhari in 2019, means a return of power to the South West in 2023. I am sure you will vote wisely.”

His counterpart in the Ministry of Labour, Productivity and Employment (all distressed), Senator Chris Ngige who is also one of the Igbo leaders canvassing a second term for Buhari equally said that Igbo must vote overwhelmingly for Buhari in 2019 to be able to negotiate well for the 2023 presidential ticket. “Our people should vote for Buhari so that we can produce the Nigerian president of Igbo extraction in 2023,” he said.

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For these politicians and their ilk, it does not matter that we are now the global secretariat of poverty with six Nigerians going into extreme poverty every minute. That we are losing four million jobs annually is not an issue. We should not bother that there is no economic direction at the moment. That human blood is the cheapest item in the land today makes no difference to them. The many fault lines being widened by an insensitive and incompetent leadership can continue to fester for all they care.

It has been said that part of the driving force for some politicians from the East of the Niger running into the villa at the drop of the hat and speaking words that don’t make much sense is the calculation that four years of the pains on ground now is shorter to the rat race. Citizens who are not blinded by the kind of political desire that is so cold and detached from the temperature of the polity must be able to see the situation clearly and act wisely.

Nigeria as presently constituted is fast disappearing, and unless the drift is arrested, there may be no country in which any 2023 ambition can be realised by any section of the country given the fact Nigeria has become a stalemate project.

The more debt the country acquires now, the worse things become, against the known law that injection of capital makes a business better.

Nigeria, of course, has become a bad business. For it to become viable again, 2019 is the year to rebuild the business through retooling by restructuring the country so we can go back to the era of productivity.

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We need a leadership that accepts the fact that we can’t go on like this if we want to renew the lifespan of the country. We have travelled so long on this wrong road of running a country as diverse as this from a central point. It’s time to make a U-turn.

We must prune the 68 times on the exclusive list to less than two dozen and allow power to go to the federating units, especially in the areas of mining mineral resources, law enforcements and running local affairs culturally.

This is the imperative of 2019. If we don’t address these issues we may not be able find our way to 2023 as a country. The earlier we ignore the 2023 guys and address 2019, the better for us.




source: Vanguard