In the distant past, there was a kingdom. A kingdom with abundant natural resources, which co-existed peacefully with neighboring kingdoms, known for the relative peace and security in the land. This kingdom was known as Osimiri and the king, Igwe did everything possible to ameliorate suffering, poverty and hardship from the land. He was popularly called, “the man of the people.”
Things were going well in the kingdom under King Igwe until some top officials in his cabinet, led by Ichie Eze became power-hungry. They met secretly to discuss how to usurp the king’s authority.
The first plan was to make the kingdom insecure for everybody. Soon, the kingdom was enmeshed in a firebox of kidnappings, ritual killings, religious killings, politically-motivated killings and violence, inter-communal clashes, armed banditry and others leading to scores of deaths and/or abductions of innocent people, members of the security personnel and cabinet members.
This shook the kingdom. The insecurity exacerbated with each passing day. King Igwe was thrown into confusion. His enemies were laughing – his downfall has just began.
As the level of insecurity kept rising unabated, these power mongers started spreading gossips, poisoning the minds of the people against the king. In a short time, the “man of the people” turned to the “enemy of the people.”
To cut this long story short, the people vehemently demanded for a new king. Their reason was blunt: “King Igwe has failed us.” As expected, they wanted Ichie Eze to be crowned the new king.
Behind the scenes, Ichie Eze had all along made juicy promises to the people of how he would make the community a hub for investors; sponsor the youths to learn a trade overseas; nib the insecurity in the kingdom in the bud within three (3) months of being crowned king; demolish all mud houses in the community and erect a duplex for the family concerned; supply mechanized farm equipment to farmers to boost food production, among others if chosen to be the next king.
The people could not let this opportunity pass them by. Convinced of the several promises made to them, they dethroned King Igwe and crowned Ichie Eze the king.
A year later, it dawned on the people of Osimiri that they had been fooled; that all that glitters is not gold. They have been trapped. There was no going back; they had to live with their woes, praying earnestly for a saviour to come and save them from their angel-turned-devil king.
The case of Nigeria today is not different from that of the ancient Osimiri kingdom. Like the people of Osimiri, we were seduced by the honey-like promises of the APC. Consequently, we abandoned our first love only to realize that we were chasing shadows. Painfully, we have realized that all that glitters is not gold.
The APC came into power amid pomp, pageantry and great expectations. Nigerians believed that at last, we have gotten a crop of leaders who understands where the shoe pinches us, a crop of leaders with our welfare at heart, a crop of leaders who would turn Nigeria into an “African London.”
Nigerians had every cause to hope that their teething challenges would be a thing of the past as the APC has promised a new dawn with reckless abandon. Most Nigerians reveled in the belief that the Messiah who would take us from the woods to the Promised Land has come.
This explains why every APC supporter chanted, shouted and screamed during the 2015 election campaigns, “Sai Baba” which means Holy father. Indeed, Nigerians were convinced that a man with the Midas had come and that all their problems would soon be behind them. There was a firm belief that the “change” which Buhari and his party, APC promised Nigerians was certainly going to transform the country.
It is indeed shameful that almost seven years of being led by the APC, insecurity has gone from bad to worse; we are yet to make a go at resolving the country’s epileptic power supply, dealing with acute fuel shortage, unemployment, corruption, nepotism etc.
To make things worse, this administration is determined to suppress free speech and throw Nigeria further into the miry clay of death with a nebulous bill on grazing reserves. Truly, Nigerians have never had it so bad.
Expectedly, Nigerians are cursing their chi and wondering why they didn’t look before their leaped. It has dawned on us that there are two senses of the word “change” – positive and negative. The Buhari-led APC administration brought the later. Like the people of Osimiri, we were carried away by a deluge of unrealistic promises; and like them, we have been doomed to learn the hard way.
An old adage says, “Once bitten, twice shy.” We can’t keep bemoaning our past mistake but we can learn from it and make the right choices that will guarantee a better tomorrow.
Now that, I believe, we have learnt our lesson the hard way, it behooves us to desist from repeating the same mistake in 2023. We should all look before we leap.
Ezinwanne Onwuka, Cross River State.