When Chika decided to check out of Nigeria early this year, he never knew that he was shooting himself in the foot. Initially, it wasn’t his intention to move to the United States. But the situation of things in the country frustrated him enormously. He had a job but salaries were not forthcoming. He couldn’t pay his bills.
When he landed in the US, he didn’t find life easy either. He found no job and became stranded because a friend who promised to accommodate him disappointed him. He ended up sleeping in a church. And hardly had he got a menial job in a supermarket when a sudden illness struck.
A few days ago, this frustrated man managed to bring himself back to Nigeria. He came to seek solution to his sickness as he believes it is a spiritual attack from his village. He spent days in the Synagogue Church of All Nations to no avail. He intends to go to some other churches and prayer groups, but there is no transport money. Now, his children are at home as he cannot pay their school fees. Even to eat is now a serious problem.
Many Nigerians are in Chika’s shoes. No money. No fuel. No electricity. No security. No salary. No market, as traders would say. Practically, the price of almost every item in the market has skyrocketed. The common refrain now even for a crayfish seller is, dollar is expensive.
To worsen matters, Fulani herdsmen are on the rampage. They have killed and continued to kill. They have maimed and continued to maim. They have raped and continued to rape. They have destroyed sources of livelihood for many people and have continued to do so. They have no sacred territory. Any town, any state is a target. Their current victims are citizens of Nimbo in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State. They invaded the peaceful community recently and massacred over 40 innocent people.
The best the governor of Enugu could do was to cry and call for fasting and prayers. Do you blame him? He has no full control of the security agencies. He has no support from his brother governors from the South-East. He has little or no support from the Federal Government.
It is as if we are in a state of anomie. Well, the President has belatedly ordered the Inspector-General of Police and the Chief of Defence Staff to halt the herdsmen menace. But how serious is he? Does the blood of a South-Easterner or that of any Nigerian matter to him?
Even his ministers inspire no hope. He spent months looking for perfect Nigerians to appoint as ministers. But the lucky ones who now occupy the cabinet positions have shown that the so-called change Nigerians voted for is a ruse.
All we hear from major functionaries of this government are rhetoric, excuses and buck-passing: “Oh, there is no gas to power electricity; greedy marketers are diverting fuel to hinterlands and neighbouring countries; the previous government is responsible for our current woes.” They left Abuja and came to Lagos the other day to feed Nigerians with their usual excuses in the name of town-hall meeting.
Everyday, we are regaled with anti-corruption exploits of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. The agency has reportedly recovered huge sums of money from past government officials. This is good. But Buhari will soon discover that Nigerians will begin to ask why these probes and recovered loot are yet to put food on their table.
These days, religion and superstition thrive most in Nigeria. A young man I called the other day to do some work for me in my compound gazed at the scorching sun that day and declared: “This Buhari has ill-luck. It’s because he is in power that we have this kind of hot weather.” Another fellow sincerely believes Buhari belongs to a satanic cult and that’s why we are buffeted by variegated crises.
Faced with hopelessness, many Nigerians have made prayer houses their home. Ask a typical Nigerian about solutions to our problems and he will tell you, only God will save us in this country.
Time is ticking for Mr. President. The All Progressives Congress-led government had promised to pay N5,000 monthly to unemployed Nigerians. This is cosmetic and will not work. Some politicians will simply feed fat from that policy.
What the President should do is to deliberately fashion out policies that will broaden the economy, create jobs and stimulate entrepreneurship.
Somehow, some Nigerians have devised ways of making themselves happy despite the odds. Last Tuesday, a Catholic priest told his congregation to sing Hakuna Matata at a prayer session. According to him, this means don’t worry, be happy. As the congregation sang, danced and prayed, the priest kept telling them to forget their worries and parcel their problems to God.
It came as some form of relief to many. But for how long do you think people like Chika will shout Hakuna Matata if the APC’s promised change fails to materialise?