I have been watching with unkeen interest how insecurity in Nigeria has degenerated to a point where we now have Boko Haram, bandits, killer-herdsmen, insurgents, terrorists, kidnappers, and then the most recent addition, unknown gunmen.
Whatever group you belong to among the above-mentioned titles, I have a few things to share with you and I hope you will see reasons with me.
Without mincing words, one of the key reasons for the skyrocketing insecurity and what some of you have turned to business – now one of the most lucrative businesses in Nigeria – is the growing poverty rate. Perhaps, there are some of you who are determined to work and make legitimate money but the jobs are not available, there are some who are determined to do business but the capital is not available and so you have opted for kidnapping to earn a living.
In stanza four of Ambassadors of Poverty, POC Umeh said:
Ambassadors of poverty are
The political elites
In air conditioned chambers
And exotic cars
With tearful stories of rip offs
Tucked away from
Their impoverish constituencies
With death traps for roads
Mud for water
Candle for light
Underneath trees as schools
Rat for protein
Fasting as food
And alibi as governance
I needed to show you this poem to let you know the source of Nigeria’s problems. The African giant is blessed with enormous resources but those at the helm of affairs have prioritized their belly at the expense of the masses.
I don’t want to believe that you’re ignorant of the fact that the nation is being impoverished by its leaders. If truly you have this understanding, how is it that you’re going after the common man? Why are you killing innocent and helpless citizens like you? Why have you decided to clamp down on students?
If at all you claim to be fighting a just cause, why not take the fight to those who have impoverished the nation? And again, can killings ever be a panacea to any lingering problem? If truly that poverty, unemployment, lopsided appointments, injustice are the reasons you have embarked on this unscrupulous fight, how and why is it difficult for you to take the issues to the originators of the problems and leave innocent and helpless citizens alone? Those you have been killing, are they not your brothers and sisters?
Nigeria is operating a democratic system of government and as citizens, you have the rights to table your issues before the government of the day, you have the right to demand good governance, you have the right to hold the government accountable.
Today, I urge you to stop killing citizens. I urge you to drop the guns. I urge you to legitimately table your issues before the government. I urge you to engage the government in dialogue with a view to providing solutions to the issues birthing the killings and kidnappings.
In stanza nine, Umeh said
Ambassadors of poverty are
All of us whose in-actions
Steal our collective joy
Because of what we should do
Which we never do
As we bargain away
Our conscience in the market place
Under the weight of poverty
To assuage our hunger
And our master’s will