The Lamentations of a Citizen

by Ahmed Dodo

“As long as I have any choice, I will stay only in a country where political liberty, toleration, and equality of all citizens before the law are the rule.” – Albert Einstein

I don’t know how you might feel, but I think it is important to voice out my worries and publicly lament the deplorable condition in my dear country, Nigeria. Though, it is said to be untraditional for an African man to cry out, I will rather cry out than allow a few of my fellow country men and women, whom we had erroneously entrusted into their kleptocratic hands, the affairs of our country, to kill me in silence.

As such, I see it as an obligation to myself, my nation and importantly to God, to openly lament on their woeful performances over the years.

I am highly piqued by the insecurity in our dear nation and the dehumanized face of poverty as it has boldly taken over most homes. The insincerity of our leaders and their wasteful years on the seats of power is nothing that gladdens the heart. I am crying out against the injustice going on in our judiciary, where petty thieves, who might have hungrily stolen a loaf of bread, are not spared by the long hands of the law. Ironically, the hands of the law become shortened when those in the corridors of power and in our various government establishments siphon billions of public money. Discussing the oil subsidy thieves is subject for another day.

I have an objection to a government that weekly inaugurates and constitutes ineffective committees on important and urgent issues that affect the country. Painfully, their reports are thrown into the dustbins, not giving ‘a damn’ about the taxpayers’ money that go into these sittings. I am lamenting today over our expensive politicians across the various states and the federal capital. Their self-centeredness, quest for materialism and visionless steering of the wheels of our rich nation leaves much to worry about.

Please pardon me if I have gone against the African myth of keeping quiet amidst pains and suffering. I definitely cannot keep mute about the daily killings, kidnappings, and armed robbery going on across my country. I think I should grieve over the continuous extra-judicial killings of innocent citizens, the daily ethno-tribal and religious exterminations going on in some states, notably in the Plateau, Borno, Yobe, Kaduna, Bauchi and Kano states. It is even more lamentations when the failure of government to have a clear cut solution to these man-made wahala is pondered upon.

It is indeed lamentable the unambiguous mask of fear daily hanging on the faces of many of my fellow citizens, a frightening new look hitherto unknown since the end of the Nigerian senseless civil war. Our women and children, including our youth and elderly now live in fear; they walk around with fear, work with fear, trade with fear, worship amidst fear and even go to school and study in the classroom with fear of the mysterious ‘unknown’ gunmen, a lexicon our security operatives should be ashamed of in this 21st Century.

Why should I not lament on the public thieves that have, over the years, been shamelessly stealing our old citizen’s pension funds? It is, to say the least, disgusting, the unpatriotic attitude of government to the slow prosecution of this ungodly cabal that have caused the death of our various patriotic retirees who gave their all to the sustenance of this nation.

I do not know if there is any wisdom in my lamentation, especially on the various imported foreign policies that, over the decades, have failed to work in our system and the illusive, overinflated yearly budgets annually presented by the various states across the country. I won’t lament but cry over the poor state of our roads, our outdated public schools, our hospitals, better regarded as eyesores and our famous epileptic power supply, including the disgraceful and alarming number of the unemployed in our land.

These are parts of my lamentation, a worrisome anguish I am certain many Nigerians share with me. While countless have decided to keep suffering in silence, I have thought it appropriate to openly cry out, cry my voice to hoarse or perhaps until I am heard. This is in the hope that many frustrated voices across the country would sooner or later join me in these lamentations as citizens of this great neglected nation.

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