‘Governance is ruled by greed; and corruption has become its tool, our ‘leaders’, its prophets! -Gbenro Olajuyigbe in ‘Why Terror & Grief Grow’
Sixty years after independence and over 50 years after it struck oil on her land, Nigeria still wholesomely export crude oil while importing refined petrol from even countries that have no clues to how oil is explored and exploited.
With governments with legendary records of aversion to transparency and accountability, she continues to run on this high track of graft powered economic race to perdition. It is however not all sour taste! A professor at the helm of affairs at the National Raw Material Research and Development Agency recently broke the ‘good news’ of our breakthrough in developing a ‘Kilishi’ Making Technology by the research agency that had existed for almost four decades. This is a grand testimony to the grinding mill of corruption that has taken the nation to the threshing floor of the thrashing mill. Nigeria is not only about crude oil. There something worse than that. Its crude rulers have halted the journey of her destiny and turned her to a huge joke in the comity of nations. Most tragic is that many of her citizens are trapped by the hemorrhoid that they can no longer differentiate between a stimulated governance and real good governance. They are victims of bad governance induced prolonged stress disorder. The burden of trauma has taken thoughtfulness away. It has driven logic into mire of survival; and cast out courage from hitherto men and women of courage. Voice of reason has departed the rulers, voice of courage has died in the people; living the rulers with wide field to expand their penchant for greed and insatiable appetite for graft. Oil resources mismanage in the last fifty years is enough to bring Nigeria’s development to that of Britain or conservatively, the level of an average state in Europe. Bare theft, looting, misappropriation, embezzlement, stealing, among others are frequently encountered words in Nigeria’s daily lexicon. These are frequently used when you discuss Nigeria’s petro-economy, the military and the terror war in the North- East, the Banditry in the North- West and North -Central. They are ubiquitous on the streets of South West, South -South and South- East while Abuja remains the epicenter. Ask yourself what the Service Chiefs are still doing in the theatre of war with high turnover of casualties among civilians and the military?
The kindly Tolerance of Service Chiefs by the President in times of palpable despair and hopelessness does not add value to decision process. ‘Your best is not good enough’ supposedly presidential warning is a statement for a worker on 6-month probation. It is not good enough for Armed Trojans whose incompetence has turned houses of joy to houses of mourning in the last 5 years! Every misfortune has become template for corruption in the hands of our rulers. We bashed Goodluck’s government for his Goat and Yam theory of corruption. Today, the evil continue to expand under a government that continues to wear the cloths on integrity on skeleton of graft. Something is telling me now that Goodluck is somewhere, patiently laughing at Integrity, a new Specie of Goat that eats Yam, roasted with humanitarian peeper and COVID oil! What is now left, if the NDDC’s Interim Management Committee members appointed to halt corruption and who do not fall in the category of vulnerable persons could say they spent 1.5 billion Naira on themselves because of COVID? Do you now blame ordinary Nigerians that say “No COVID, na just to chop money?”
Little wonder it was said that COVID started as a disease in China, it became epidemic when it got to Europe. When it got United States, it became Pandemic. The moment it reached Nigeria, it became business. Suddenly, they have shifted from Crude Oil to COVID Oil! The price of crude oil has fallen in global market but the stock of COVID keeps on rising grievingly and dastardly! Harvest is high from the viral death but that is hardly their concerns. Their bull eye target is what is in it for them. The jungle has matured and their trap has caught one of their own specie. A hunter has been hunted down, wounded and licking his wounds. The darkest hour in the life of any government is when its Angel is discovered to be the first born of Satan. Those who were drumming for him to dance naked have disappeared into thin air. Now that there’s rumble in the jungle, where are the dirty Jim NGOs, grandstanding as Anti- corruption banner raisers, using the mangled man as canon folder for their own iniquities? Magu might not have gotten much right as EFCC Chairman, his professorial thesis of ‘Corruption as the COVID’ is particular relevant in the season of thoughtless National Response that has heightened more risk than it was set up to reduce. What type of shitty National Response is this? Last week you asked students in Examination Classes to resume. This week you declared that Unity Schools will not be part of resumption. So, other Nigerian school kids not in Unity Schools should walk into their graves?
It is a harmful easy response strategy for a Minister of Education to contemplate closing school as long as COVID lasts in a disaster whose ultimate solution depends on learning, research and development. What the National Response Team should do in respect of education and school activities is to; Map Vulnerability of children in school, identify enablers and inhibiters of safety with the contexts of COVID’s characteristics and characterization of child’s group behavioral pattern. Then after, plan for vulnerability and risk reduction, respond to emerging threats within protection model that addresses issues of prevention, environment building and plan for remedial actions. We must come up with adaptive strategy that responds to child’s vulnerability in the contexts of COVID. Front teach and front load students with lesson notes through WhatsApp or other simple but appropriate technology or media aids. Plan revision, reduce school time and shorten length of stay for examination period. Also, stagger and alternate classes during examination period. We must never place our fate in the hands of the virulent virus. Most miserable and most hopeless people I know are those who think they are helpless in any situation. Those who throw their hands on their heads seeking salvation from the same people who dumped them into nadir of shithole they found themselves. Something tells me that Nigerians have taken ownership of such dangerous fate. COVID can’t change anything in land of people who won’t change their indolence. Nigerians have the duty of salvaging their country. Wake up, with more efforts, we shall conquer. The kingdom of holy Rogues and pious criminals sustained by pillar of fraudulent integrity is collapsing. Where are the Masons, the Bricklayers and the Irredeemable Abobakus? Hope beckons!
Gbenro Olajuyigbe is the Executive Director of Emergency & Risk Alert Initiative