29 Nov 2012

Our Nation At Arms

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Giant of Africa... Bothered by a hoard of lilliputian... Sounds funny when you relate it to Gulliver's travels and his travails, however it seems like a very appropriate adjective to describe what is going on in our nation today. The Giant is slowly but surely bowing to the effects of the combined efforts of the little things that threaten to bring it to its knees. When I think of the problems we face in the country today, I wonder, how did we get here? How did this manage to catch us napping?. One would have thought that the woes of our past would have at least taught us a few lessons and thus effect a change in how things are done. However, it seems like the only thing that has happened is our leaders have perfected the act of playing us "wayo". There seems to be no end in sight for the suffering masses.

The recent happenings in Lagos State is one of such acts. First, I might be able to understand some aspects of the new traffic law, and how its meant to "decongest" Lagos roads; but the part I don't understand is where the Nigerian Police Force gets away with abusing these laws. Now by abuse I mean creating several subsections by themselves, thus making illegal and unconstitutional arrests. Terrorizing the very people they swore to protect and serve!. It is common knowledge by now that the Police has never been "our friend", however, these new traffic laws in Lagos have given them enough leverage to keep reminding us of this already known fact. The other day I was reading a blow by blow account of how a Kunle Bello was abducted by the police while minding his business on a Friday night, and taken to an unknown destination. Thank God for mobile phones, and social networks like Twitter, no one would have known what people go through in the hands of the Police in Lagos.

The Police in question fall short of their duty to provide protection for the people when the need to do so arises. Instead in some instances, they scurry away at the sight of aggressors! Yet when it comes to threatening and man-handling unarmed civilians, they are at their very best. This not only happens in Lagos, its obtainable in most parts of the country too. This is only a fraction of the problems that currently threaten to bring this nation to her knees. The Boko Haram have been allowed to terrorize this country with their incessant attacks on innocent civilians. Their activities has made Nigeria unsafe and even unattractive to would be investors who might have had any interest in coming here to do business. Personally, I believe the BH are sponsored by politicians in the different states they plunder. I believe they are being used as a tool to scare the ruling government(s) to surrender power, and as long as they continue to stay in power, their nefarious activities would continue. It is so sad that a few people somewhere would come together and play chess with the future of our nation. And unfortunately, in this game only the pawns keep dying, while the "noble" are protected by the anonymity in their fortresses.

Our nation is indeed at arms, whether we like it or not, we are at war. The northern region of this country is slowly becoming an "Iraq" in its own right. Most of us in the south west and the east might feel it doesn't concern us, but the truth is, it does. The NYSC scheme is a sad reminder of this. Most of the graduates from the South West and Eastern part of the country get posted to serve in the North. In the not so distant past, there have been incidents of corp members being killed while serving in some states in the north.... So it concerns each and every Nigerian. I would have advised that we kneel down and say a prayer for Nigeria, but I have come to realize that it would not suffice to save this country. We need a radical change.... Change that would redeem our country from the powers that be, change that would give an "ordinary" man the chance to move this nation forward. Change that would make the Police able to focus on their primary duty, change that would make any part of the country suitable to living and survival wouldn't be of the "fittest"..... Till then people like me can only write.....

by Opeyemi
2012 9JEducation.org work-study

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