A people marching on… By Bola Gidado

Here is a story of a nation, the story of my own nation. Where do I start? Well, on a cheerful note, lets all be happy at the very proactive PHCN for its latest intervention for our nation’s failed power sector. Its conclusion is that only by increasing the electricity tariffs shall there be sanity in the sector. June 1, 2012 marked the date for the start of the tariff increment…however from the way things seemed, the people have long stopped caring! Everyone, from Dangote Holdings Limited, to the Mama Sikira that sells roasted corn by my street corner, has a power generating set to pose an alternative to the PHCN’s inability to perform.

The majority of the people have since moved on from the government, we don’t even remember them as the last hope of the common man. It has since left the memory of the people, the duties and obligations of the government to them, that the government should indeed be accountable to its citizens, the people that streamed out to the streets, to vote it into power.  The most basic functions- education, power, healthcare, road networks, even potable water, have all become luxuries that only the wealthy  can afford, only  because they can self-provide.
A close acquaintance that had to undergo some medical procedure recently, had initially insisted on having it done at a government owned hospital, because, according to her, they had the best hands. A couple of visits to the hospital later, she changed her mind and would rather now have it done at a private clinic. She had obviously been traumatized by her experience at the teaching hospital while undergoing tests. The rooms were dark and dingy, smelling of death! A pregnant woman had lost her life in an epileptic fit while the hospital staff looked on in non-challant ways, complaining of lack of some equipment…that did it for her, she left! Nobody feels safe or secure anymore, and we all have to live with it? The level of bloodshed, violence and senseless killings has taken a scary dimension with the northern region of the country fast becoming a no-go area.
The fear of Boko-Haram has become the beginning of wisdom while the government is not tired of trying to give us false sense of security after each mayhem the BH commits! The regular parlance has become ‘we urge all Nigerians to go about their normal activities without fear’, ‘we abhor the recent bombings committed by the Boko Haram’, ‘we promise to bring all perpetrators to book’…but alas! Even my niece born yesterday knows that there’s no effort behind those words, they’re as empty as a drunk’s bottles! It has become a luxury to go to church and return home unharmed, to board an airplane and get to your destination in one piece… In Nigeria, nobody takes basic things for granted anymore, we praise God even for PHCN supplying power!
It is unfortunate. The government is inept, bad things keep happening, and the people have learnt to look away! They have become numb! No one reminds the government of the obligation they have to the people which they seem to have forgotten. We don’t remember again that a democracy is a government by the people, of the people, and for the people. That we, the citizens should actually be at the core of governance! We don’t get angry anymore when things don’t go right, we cannot, because we have become numb from the recurring decimals of our leaders failure at governance! It is sad! We have learnt to improvise for the ineptitude of our leaders. Indeed, you are looked upon as being strange if u speak up against some unfair or shabby treatment!
I charge Nigerians to wake up from our slumber! I charge us all to once again learn to demand our rights from our leaders! Let us dust off every lethargy and numbness, let us reject the spirit of half measure, let us say no to wrong things and embrace the right. Let’s tell the world that the ‘Nigerian factor’ is no longer acceptable. Let us learn to make the government accountable to us once more, let us make them realise that we are tired of bending over backwards to make up for their wickedness. Let us look forward to a time when we can go to our hospitals without fear of never returning home, when each family or business would not need three generators per head to stay out of darkness, when our Christian brothers in the north will be free to worship without the fear of bombs, when our lawmakers will stop being thieves in honourable garb, when our president will realise that declaration of assets is indeed a constitutional issue and not one of personal choice… Pessimists like me ask, is it ever possible? But we all know that yes it is! It only takes each and everyone of us to speak up a bit louder…



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