By Muywa Adetba
There are killings in the land, everywhere you turn. There are bombers claiming lives and property and they are not limited to the North East alone. There are kidnappers claiming lives and property and they are not limited to the South East alone.
There are ritual killers again claiming lives and property and they are not limited to the South West alone. Cattle rearers who have become serial looters and killers are not limited to the Middle Belt alone. Armed robbers, business and political assassins dot the landscape.
The country is breathless with impunity, insecurity and violent deaths. It seems they are all coming together— all the warnings, all the predictions that have been routinely ignored and derided over the years.
They didn’t start yesterday. Not even five years ago when this administration took over the reins. The signs were there, looming larger and larger every passing day, but nobody wanted to address or redress the situation. It seemed easier to go with the flow, make your own money, empower a few friends and country men, and retire into a country home to pontificate about the state of the nation. Now, the chickens are coming home to roost….
For those who have been too blind or too self absorbed to see the signs, let me state but just a few…
There was a time in this country when most people got to the top through hard work and competence. Then we decided that the system was skewed against a certain section of the country and so introduced the quota system. This in itself was not bad as many countries had used it to correct racial, gender and regional imbalances. But we used ours to defile and destroy our system. People were given accelerated promotions in the states and routinely brought to the centre to boss those who were vastly superior to them in education and experience.
Not only did we destroy the Federal Agencies across board, we destroyed espirit de corps, we destroyed the ethos of loyalty and hard work and introduced a value system that was inimical to progress. Now, it is not your C.V that gets you a top job; it is your connection. As someone once put it, your face and tribe must fit. Unfortunately, when you get a job on considerations other than competence, then your output will be laced with sycophancy, gossip and back biting. You can not have an agency like that operating at an optimal level. Yet, there are times when the Nation will require that agency to provide critical inputs that will move the country forward. Like now!
When I was leaving secondary school, there were only five universities in the country. None of the Vice Chancellors was chosen on the basis of tribe. The result was that each VC was an intellectual giant, respected and recognised internationally in his chosen field. Now, the ivory tower is full of ethnic Lilliputians who care more about pocket than progress. Again, sycophancy, gossip and back biting have taken over our universities. The strikes go on unchecked because many of the lecturers have no character and therefore no conscience.
The result is the badly trained youths that are coming out of the university system. Youths who have been reared on wrong values of money, money, money. Many believe all they need is a varsity education irrespective of how it is acquired forgetting that what they need to succeed is within them and not in the virtual walls of any university. So we have youths who have degrees but no education; who are looking for jobs where none exists; and worse, who do not believe in the dignity of labour.
This, for any thinking nation is a sign of trouble foretold. But rather than redress the situation, we exploited it. Fifteen or so years ago when we flagged off the third republic, our politicians recruited our jobless youths as foot soldiers. They were armed and injected with the virus of death. And when political rigging turned into political killing, we looked the other way because the people to apprehend were the perpetrators. Soon the stakes were raised from the killing of council aspirants to the killing of gubernatorial aspirants. In time, some heavy weights— Harry Mashal, Funsho Williams and Bola Ige—fell. Again we looked the other way. Now these youths, these badly educated but now well armed youths, have been turned loose to armed robbery, kidnapping and terrorism.
When money meant for projects are shared by our leaders, and the following year, the same project is budgeted for and shared, soon the infrastructure will begin to fall apart which is they? They have been sidelined and sacrificed on the altar of expediency and nepotism. I doubt if any critical arm of government has the Nation’s 1st eleven, or 2nd eleven. All around us are square pegs in round holes. The Punch interview with Ambassador Dada was very revealing. This man warned severally about the goings on in Sudan but was dismissed as a Christian bigot by people who should look after our security but allowed religion to becloud their judgement. Now the chickens are coming home to roost.
I am not happy to say that we are today reaping from the sown seeds of corruption, ineptitude and a badly executed social, ethnic and religious system. Unfortunately, it seems from the activities of the National Conference that we have not learnt any lesson. So who will bell the cat?