I tried hard if I could find something good to write on. Unfortunately, all the available options—topical issues—are horrifying; to say the least. A former president of Nigeria who cannot be exonerated from the mess we find ourselves said the present President has done his best and it is a waste of time to expect more.
Many could not agree less. But if that is true, I personally cannot controvert his assertion, we need heavenly intervention to survive in 2022. I mean God has to intervene.
Why 2022? Why not beyond? An average Nigeria does not think about the distant future anymore. Our concern is how to witness tomorrow—the immediate future— as death is considered nearer to many of us than our jugular veins.
It is already a norm in the present day Nigeria for newspapers to be awash with grievous and soul depressing news headlines. As someone said jokingly (though rightly), if you want to escape from the horrendous but reality shows and stories that dot our national landscape, just tune your TV set to the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA). That is where you see cultural displays and some other ceremonial events like book launching—as if all is well—when Nigerians are cremated on our highways as if the Country is next to Hell. NTA news indeed gives a momentary fake sense of relief.
Many Nigerians are apprehensive of the strange cloud hovering over them as we approach the end of 2021 which is about to pass over its baton to 2022. The baton is thorny and there is fear that the 2022 would not be able to hold it firmly. There is no single indicator that things will be well in 2022. This explains why many are apprehensive (including this writer).
Is it the removal of oil subsidy—which we naively thought had been completely removed in the last removal—that is not scaring enough or the new tax regime that might likely push back the frontier of poverty?
We should not forget the fact that there are multiple tax collection authorities now in Nigeria. Who you pay tax to depends on where you reside and which authority gives you ‘protection.’ Terrorists, bandits or government?
It is not also out of place to be taxed—manifoldly—by two or all of the above. Now you understand why it is difficult to find good things to write about Nigeria at the moment.
If you think Nigeria is different from Nigerians, you are wrong. Just as Nigeria is disdained in comity of nations, Nigerians are also not left out. The erstwhile giant of Africa is seen as gi‘ant’ because it lacks the wherewithal to behave like a giant.
Our dear country is being treated like leprosy which must be disdainfully avoided. I have in mind the travel ban saga. The United Arab Emirates shut its door—not just against Nigerians from Nigeria but—against Nigerians from any part of the world.
We are treated like pariahs just because we are Nigerians. Thank God that the international gang-up against Nigeria has been somehow resolved but there is need for serious introspection—it is as if something is fundamentally wrong with us.
What is more, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had been on strike since March 2020—the longest strike since the creation of Nigeria (if not in history). The Union, out of generosity (or should I say patriotism), suspended the longest strike in December last year to allow the Nigerian Government do what she promised to do.
But those of us who do not like to pretend were cocksure that those promises by government will not be fulfilled. It seems it is anathema to fulfil good promises in Nigeria especially if they are made by government.
ASUU leadership, though not ignorant, chose to feign ignorance of this reality—the reality that Nigerian Government is always predisposed to have ‘All Promises Cancelled’. The acronym for this is better pronounced than written.
The suspended strike—which was never called off—is overdue for resumption. ASUU did vow to resume its regular strike without notifying the Government in case the latter fails to fulfil its promise. But ASUU was generous enough to still give three weeks ultimatum—as if to a listening government. Anyway, ASUU’s generosity only amounts to flogging a dead horse.
I sense ASUU’s foot-dragging is out of sympathy for Nigerian students. This, at the expense of its own members. While ASUU strike always come as a bitter pill, we should understand that, in Nigeria, it is an annual rite. In a previous article I wrote “ASUU is warming up again for its regular—though justifiable—annual ritual. Not observing it seems to be a taboo.”
In the face of overwhelming insecurity, the Government is about to allow the youth roam our streets aimlessly. The consequence of ASUU strike—on our youth—in the face of incontinent insecurity can better be imagined that expressed.
If you think our President cares about anything, that he is on his way to Turkey should prove you wrong. While going to Turkey might not be a problem, the large entourage that goes with him makes an outside observer doubt if Nigeria is actually in debt, in crisis, and in blood pool.
If you think there is anything good to write about Nigeria, perhaps you are referring to a 90-year-old Katsina monarch who recently married a 20-year-old damsel. Hmm! This is what our leaders prioritize.
Since Nigerian Government is desperate to disdain and abandon us, let’s just hope our Creator shall never abandon us. While praying for leaders in Nigeria is considered a waste of time, Islam teaches that we should pray for them.
Though many are reluctant to do so, our reluctance is understandable. But for the sake of Allah, let us pray for our leaders. May Allah guide them, rectify and ease our affairs (Ameen).