Friday, March 30, 2018

Nigeria: So Much Anger In The Land!

By Robert Obioha
There is anger in the land. Nigerians are not happy. They are fuming with anger and despair over failed electoral promises of the ruling party.  They are angry over their miserable living conditions. They are angry over the continuous rape of the country by her unfaithful political leaders. There is no mistake about it. Every Tom, Dick and Harry are bitter about the excruciating Nigerian condition. Even children are not excluded.
*President Buhari
The Nigerian condition is fast becoming beyond prayers and redemption. It has defied all logic and solutions including dry fasting and intercessory incantations. It can be easily felt from the north to the south and from the east to the west. Everybody in Nigeria is angry over the general insecurity in the country dubbed the giant of Africa. Apart from the menace of the Boko Haram insurgents in the North-east and other isolated places, the murderous campaign of Fulani herdsmen across the country has caused much pain and anguish in the land to the extent that a former Defence Chief, Lt. Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (retd), has urged victims of such mindless attacks to defend themselves. 
He said the security agents could no longer defend them. If Danjuma can ask Nigerians to defend themselves, then something is fundamentally wrong with our security systems. And if all Nigerians take up arms to defend themselves, there will be anarchy. Is the government ready to confront such anarchy? What has been officially described as herders/farmers clash is fast metamorphosing into a huge theatre of warfare and the Federal Government is handling the matter with kid gloves. The government is behaving as if there is no cause to worry when the danger signals are already everywhere.
The government has not come up with measures to tame the marauding herdsmen. Government has not deemed it fit to disarm the killers that mask themselves as Fulani herdsmen. The government has not designated them terrorists as it hurriedly did to the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The government has refused to use operation python dance or whatever code name to decimate the Fulani herdsmen as did to members of unarmed IPOB members in Abia State. This injustice and double standard is happening in one country under one law and under the watch of a government that lay claim to change.
Add this to the anger expressed recently by the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Rev. Matthew Hassan Kukah, over the violence and killings of Christians in Southern Kaduna, during the burial ceremony of the late Bishop Joseph Danlami Bagobiri, Bishop of the Diocese of Kafanchan on March 15, 2018. Bishop Kukah is not happy with the religious and ethnic divisions in his home state, Kaduna, ostensibly induced by Governor Nasir El-Rufai administration.
The story of Southern Kaduna reflects the story of power and even social relations between the North and South of Nigeria to a large extent. Kukah did not say anything new. He said what is already in the public domain. What is new is the language used to express his bottled-up anger against the Kaduna and Northern establishments and even the courage to speak truth to power using the funeral mass homily to do so.
There is anger over the politics of abductions and dramatic return of Dapchi schoolgirls and non-release of Leah Sharibu, the only Christian girl among the abducted on account of her faith and refusal to denounce it. That Sharibu was not released because she refused to be converted to Islam should worry the government. With the non-release of Sharibu due to her Christian faith, the country is gradually being dragged into a sectarian crisis of immense proportion.
I hope our leaders know the import of not allowing Leah Sharibu regain her freedom because of her faith. Those that negotiated the release of the 104 girls without Sharibu must do something to get her released forthwith. Leah Sharibu is a hero of sorts for keeping to her faith. She is a symbol of the Christian faith for refusing to deny Christ and the Cross. Let Christians all over the world rise in defence of the religious and human rights of Leah Sharibu.
The government that negotiated for the quick release of Dapchi girls after one month in captivity must also seek for the release of the remaining Chibok girls who have spent years in captivity. The celebration over the release of Dapchi girls and the accompanying photo shows in Abuja and other places are unnecessary distractions and politicization of human misery.
What is happening in Nigeria reminds me of Igbo myths and folktales. It appears that all the animal stories I have enjoyed as a child had the present Nigerian political characters in them. Some of the actions of our current political actors can be rightly located in some Nollywood films. Even some actions of the government can be interpreted from the mood and conceptions of Nollywood movies. That is why some members of the opposition read Nollywood in the dramatic Dapchi episode.
Poverty is another major cause of anger in the land. Nigeria is blessed with plenty material and human resources. Nigeria is blessed with oil and gas as well as other minerals. With plenty petrol-dollar in our purse, more than 70 percent of the population still live below $1 dollar per day. The rising unemployment in the country, especially youth unemployment is adding to the anger in the land.  The saying ‘a hungry man is an angry man’ has found a practical expression in Nigeria. When such angry mob visit, they maim, rape and plunder and cause more human misery. The anger of poverty is fueling insurgency, kidnapping, armed robbery, militancy, political agitations and even herdsmen menace blamed on desert encroachment and lack of green pastures.
The unbridled endorsement of candidates over the 2019 general elections, mostly based on selfish motives, is causing anger in most parts of the country. Even the endorsement in the ruling party is causing some divisions already. Such endorsements in Imo, Abia, Ekiti, Osun are tearing friends and party members apart. With these endorsements from left, right and centre across the country, the road to 2019 is fraught with palpable fears and dangers. It is going to be ‘a do or die’ politics again.
    Let the Federal Government address the many causes of anger in the land, especially those caused by herdsmen menace, poverty, religious and ethnic violence. Government must ensure the security and welfare of all Nigerians. Endorsement of candidates for the 2019 polls should not replace actual governance. The current obsession with endorsements by some political actors across the country is uncalled for. It is unnecessary distraction.  Above all, the visible path to a peaceful Nigeria is restructuring.
*Mr. Obiora is the Chairman of the Editorial Board of the SUN newspapers 

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