A salad of troublous issues
It the end of my tethers as to what matter to interrogate this week, I began to draw a list of what I called troublous issues in the public arena in the last one week. In a short while I had a list of over a dozen items. Permit me to serve you this salad of issues as food for your soul. In no particular order, let us see how many can be accommodated.
Boko Haram: Despatches from Cameroon: Recall that for about five years this plague called Boko Haram came upon Nigeria, our Francophone neighbours, Cameroon, pretended it never existed until recently when the Chibok dimension happened and France practically summoned us all to Paris. Since then, Cameroon has swung into action in its fight against the insurgent gang. In a professional and methodical manner, her gendarmes have taken to the northern border towns routing the miscreants.
The latest report last weekend is that about 50 Nigerian businessmen, who have been collaborating with the hoodlums, have been nabbed. In an intensive and clinical sweep through border villages, the Cameroonian soldiers also confiscated vehicles and large caches of arms. Did you ever hear our military arrest any sponsor? Since Boko Haram seems to have permeated our institutions, maybe we should bring in the Cameroonian gendarmes?
Our Super higgles: Members of our national team, the Super Eagles, are a smart bunch, but sorry to say that only by half. They probably knew they were at the end of the road at the tournament so they insisted on getting all their cash upfront before the day of debacle. Their Ghanaian neighbours did the same. Our dotting president was forced to effect a trans-Atlantic cash shipment before the eve of that last game against a better-squared French team.
But it is just as well that they made their cash call because as they know too well, they would never have got their due. What is due to them would have been lost in the dark, hoary entrails of our football officials without anyone asking questions. Not even the presidency would have been able to help them. It happens all the time, it has become our stock-in-trade. Our football house has over the years become unashamedly mercantile and lost in such state of pedestrianism, our football is the worse for it.
The team has done its best within its poor, wingless, circumscription. How could a bunch of old balding eagles be expected to soar too high? Though they won’t say it, I wager that the average age of that team would be about 35. A 35-year-old can only run so much against a 25-year-old. Have you ever wondered the average age of players in our local league? Don’t you feel the lads that won the under-20 World Cup (the Iheanachos and Alampasus) if groomed by a sound coach, should have been playing in Brazil? Do we really want to play football or do we want to play around?
ASUP for supper: We are a country assailed by ribald incongruities aren’t we? In a world where nations can only rise to greatness through scientific learning and technological know-how, our polytechnics have been virtually in the doldrums since 2001. That was the year the Federal Government reached what seemed like a ground-breaking agreement with members of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP). But 12 years down the line, government has reneged on that agreement (which in itself must have become badly jaded now). Now for nearly one academic session, ASUP has been on strike making a 12-year-old from the government.
Do we have an education minister? What on earth is he doing allowing this strike to last an academic session? Something must be wrong with that office; or the government or both. One doubts whether this can happen anywhere else on earth. Yet the minister organised a jamboree he termed: Education Sector Transformation under President Goodluck Jonathan’s Administration. What manner of transformation might that be if an entire chunk of the sector is left behind. Something terrible has befallen our education indeed; Philistines rule supreme.
De-looting Abacha loot: One day someone would sit down and draw up a list of a thousand incongruities that form the fabric of the polity called Nigeria. Why has our government become so awkward and left-handed (or under-handed if you like)?Mohammed Abacha, the son of the late junta head of state, Gen. Sani Abacha, who is being prosecuted by the Federal Government for warehousing about N446 billion stolen by his father may soon be a free man. More galling, he may be handed a ticket by the ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), run for the governorship of Kano State.
Charges have recently been dropped against him by the government ostensibly to make him return close to $1billion stashed away across the globe by his light-fingered father. When Transparency International (T.I.) kicked against government’s penchant for oiling impunity and corruption, government insists it is all for a bargain.
But the message to Nigerians is simple: if you have access to the treasury, loot it well enough so that you may just return a little and be free from prosecution and punishment. Only those stupid enough to steal a little will go to jail. Let us call it de-looting or re-looting if you please; plea-bargaining is the new graft industry, the murky water where secondary corruption is legitimised. Weep not T.I.
Doctors too down tools: What really do ministers do? One would think the minister of health would go out of his way to ensure that workers under his ambit, especially medical doctors, never go on strike. Not after a prolonged warning. But in spite of the fact that doctors across the nation under the aegis of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) gave ample notice to government, nothing was seen to have been done and a strike of doctors had to be called last Monday.
This is sad indeed when government officials are perceived be starkly insensitive. It does not seem to matter to anyone how many compatriots would suffer and how many souls will perish in all of this. We have become so stone-hearted; no milk of kindness flow in us anymore. It is worse with our fattened government officials. What a pity!
And many more: We can only take so many but so many more are left on my list. One is the reported threat by ex-Niger Delta militants to cut off oil supply to the North if President Goodluck Jonathan is not returned for a second term. So this is where we are today – an illiterate country being dictated to by miscreants who should be behind bars. Why don’t these fellows simply decree the abolition of elections in Nigeria! There is also the forming of the National Unity Forum (NUF) by some members of the National Conference; people like Mantu, Ita-Giwa, Jo Anenih, Jerry Useni, etc. We knew it would come to this. We knew perfidy would rise and subvert the so-called talk. Here they go, ‘generals’ of that noxious art…
Finally, two more points: one, the U.S. declares they have no idea where the Chibok girls are and two, the U.S. will dominate ‘light ‘crude export soon. You may use your tongue to count your teeth on these. Cheers.
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