Everywhere you look inside Nigeria, violence seems to be gaining currency. In all the above, we see the common theme of provocation leading to violence, pain, death, destruction, disrespect for law and order, collective punishment and disgrace. In most of these cases, men are the protagonists of violence. Folks, is there a better way of life besides being one who glees over the pain of another? Must mental or psychological violence always lead to a physically painful response? Is provocation a good reason for a mental meltdown?
Sometime ago, Atiku, Buhari and the rest who were their party flag-bearers from the north in the 2011 presidential election sworn that they will make Nigeria ungovernable if they were denied the return certificate to rule us. We’ve either lulled ourselves into believing that this problem does not exist or frankly don’t care because after all, the alpha male rules ferociously in Nigeria. I am talking about the sensitive comments which ghoulishly walloped all of us into smithereens. For a moment, I thought that ex-military president Babangida was caving in by asking the Jonathan regime to back off when he clamour for Speaker is Aminu Waziri Tambuwal 2015 presidency.I am ashamed that he has mustered courage to apparently veer away from the coarse coercion of the Nigerian family. Please help this Nation out no matter her shortcomings.
During the past decade, silly utterances on has been linked to state crimes: crimes of aggression, torture, police crime, corruption, state corporate crime. In Nigeria,aggrieved politicians frequently cause more harm than the violence it purportedly addresses. They fuel political divisions and conflicts which underpin the violence they say they are countering. It becomes part of an escalating cycle of violence as violent expressions by non-state actors are justified by the ex-politicians response through terrorism measures as the Gboko Haram.
Ex-politicians who sit by the public window have served as a pretext for imposing far-reaching restrictions on civil liberties, cracking down on political dissent, pervasive secrecy, indiscriminate detention, arrests and torture. Since September 11, 2001, Politically-induced reprisal attack have re-categorised in Nigeria particularly when it involves the use of force ,not simply criminal actions. Repression has intensified in Maidugari, hundreds arrested or detained on suspicion of being opposed to the Gboko haram sect, possessing ‘suspicious’ literature, or, for peacefully demonstrating against the occupation of Aso Rock by a helmsman from southern Nigeria. Civilians, including professors, medical doctors, other professionals lives are not spared, churches and clerics are set ablaze, or innocent citizens and youth coupers kidnapped, raped and killed. Is this political vengeance or religious discrimination? Does it define ethnic violence or agitation for compensation from economic deposit and natural endowment as carried out by the ex-militants from the Niger Delta?
The topic of violence has always intrigued me for several reasons; I see several calumnies to unseat Mr. President by the north, I sense the southerners agitating to have a slice from the oil money. Yet pains and panics abound, how then can we define violence? While I congratulate the Jonathan’s government and the people of Nigeria for the recent signing and hopefully the subsequent release of FG to share $2bn Excess Crude Account with states, local governments, it is my fervent hope that this amount of money will be wisely invested and put to a maximum good use to impart positively on poverty reduction and economic development in Nigeria. Just signing and receiving the money are not strong enough reasons for jubilating but how the money is used will determine if Nigerians have cause to rejoice or not.
Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State, who disclosed this to state House Correspondents at the end of the National Economic Council meeting at State House, Abuja, said the money was to facilitate various development projects being executed by the different tiers of government across the country .We hope it does and if good policies are put in place it should not take long for all to see the results. May be in a year or two we must see the revolution in Nigeria’s economic groundwork. This money should be used wisely, it should not go the way the fuel subsidy money went. Many people are questioning “where did the fuel subsidy offcut money go”? It made no impact at all, did not even scratch the surface of the government’s Poverty Reduction Strategy program. We must work for results, and the President for example must put aside his loyalty to long time allies and demand accountability and results from his appointees. If you do not produce results, as a Minister (of State), a State Chief Executive, a local government chairman, a government appointee, you are gone and more likely replaced by much younger and more efficient person.
The Excess Crude Account money should be used in boosting agricultural production and also in boosting the access of the poor to basic social services and the infrastructure that support it. On my recent visit to Akassa in southern Ijaw where oil is as well explored in Bayelsa State, I visited a village just a few kilometers from Oporoma the council headquarters, and there was no public toilet in the village, just one rusty-water bore hole pump that served a community of over 5000 inhabitants, there were fights every morning in front of the pump as school children and adults struggled to fetch water, the villagers told me there was a kindergarten, a primary school, and a junior secondary school in the village a few years back, but they have all closed down and the school kids now have to walk several kilometers to the next village to attend school and this has affected the enrollment rate in the village. This I think is not peculiar to that village and it is happening all across Nigeria. Instead of moving forward as some countries in the sub region are doing we are moving backwards or at best stagnant as the example in this village near Akassa shows. In so many villages across Nigeria, the school building, or the only social amenity in the village was put up during Lord Lugard’s era, it has broken down and there has been no repairs and no replacement whatsoever. Things have gotten worse !
We need to invest in our people, in their basic needs, if we are serious about cutting poverty. We need to invest in the health and education of our people. Education is a human right and a fundamental social duty of the government to provide it. Health is a fundamental social right and it’s the obligation of the state to provide it and guarantee it as part of the right to life. We need to set up more clinics, maternity centers, and health posts manned by specially trained health personnel who live in the community. The concept is that these professionals properly equipped with the tools of preventive medicine must be at the disposal of the people at the time and place they need them. This is better and it shows that the government is at work and it cares about its citizens than blowing $20 million on parties and celebrations. The $20 million can set up about 100 such clinics across the country and operate them efficiently.
Anyone with a grain of common sense knows that Nigerians cannot afford to blow such a huge budget on celebrations and partying when urgent social needs that impart positively on our people’s life are crying for attention. Governments exist to cushion the harsh effects of economic imbalance on its people. Government subsidizing petroleum products, health services, a glass of clean water here, timely medical treatment there, the ability to read and write, a modicum of law and order, and justice for all, are the barest minimum majority of Nigerians expect from their government and I think governments exist to do that. A virtuous politician thinks about the well being of his com