By Sunny Ikhioya
SOKOTO State almost boiled over under tension at the weekend following the misguided actions of some youths in a supposed tertiary institution that ordinarily should imbue them with knowledge.
Rather than being concerned about the sorry state of educational facilities in the country, the poor state of governance, lack of basic needs for survival, the prevailing insecurity and needless deaths, we have students who were only interested in fighting for the Almighty God and meting out punishment on His behalf.
In the event, they constituted themselves into a killer mob that descended on a poor, hapless Deborah Samuel, a 200-level student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto and murdered her in cold blood. Of course the tragic tale of their gory action is now, as they say, history.
The immediate consequence of this is that social and business activities in the state have been temporarily disrupted, curfew imposed, schools shut down while the mob is still baying for blood.
While we await the outcome of government’s investigation and decision on the matter, we must pause for a moment to reflect on the circumstances that have given birth to such barbaric killing in our land. We are beginning to lose our shared values of piety, togetherness, love, conscience, and have allowed the animal in us to betray our greed, selfishness and lack of conscience like blood sucking hounds.
How did we get to this sorry state? Where did our youths learn these strange behaviour, that hitherto, has been alien to us? Under what environment did we allow such to thrive?
The answer, as is usually said, is blowing in the wind. But that is a call for caution to the leadership that these are symptoms of a decaying society, a symptom of anomie in the land that represents a real cause for concern.
While the nation burns, our politicians and leaders are fiddling. Among the many aspiring and struggling for one elective position or the other, not one of them has spoken out and taken a stand on the killing of Deborah. I understand, one of them initially twitted his condemnation of the dastardly act, but deleted his tweet soon after for fear of losing Muslim votes in the North. That is what we have become in this country, where truth cannot be spoken and justice secured.
Indeed, we are playing with fire, unless very drastic reversal actions are taken. Let us not deceive ourselves by saying the brutal murder of Deborah was a symptom of a jobless and idle youth population, brainwashed by low brained clerics who themselves are willing tools for anarchy.
Our leaders must be careful because the day of the people will soon come and on that day, there will be no religion, ethnicity, rich and poor; everyone will be engulfed in it. We all witnessed the untoward consequences of the EndSARS protests; so many innocent lives were lost and property destroyed.
That will be a child’s play if we do not learn our lessons. We must decide whether we want to move forward, backward or remain stagnant. We must decide whether we want a truly Federal Government or we want a division into regions and structures. We must decide whether we really want a united Nigeria where peace and justice will reign.
The ball is in our court: we can play it anyhow we want; to our selfish advantage or to our general good. Do we really want a truly democratic state? From the Nigerian situation, democracy is a bastard; it has eaten its own, with the carcasses waiting to be cleared.
Where are all the champions of our democracy, from the North and South? Where are our human rights fighters? Where is our Judiciary? In the real sense of the word, are we really practising democracy in this country?
Established in the Greek city state of Athens around 405-408BC, democracy was termed as “a rule by the people“. And, this rule by the people have been adopted in several forms by different nations of the earth. It is important for us to know that “the rule by the people” is a contrast to autocracy, which means “rule of the elite”.
Looking at Nigeria today, which are we practising? Are we not closer to the rule of the elite, than that of the people? The revolutions and uprisings that we have witnessed in the past – some of which we read as history – did not just happen overnight, they were caused by the recklessness of leadership.
The French Revolution, the Soviet uprisings and the welfare state of the United Kingdom came about because of the force of change. It is either you adjust to the challenges that the forces of change demand or you are forced out by it. We seem to be courting a radical change in this country because our leaders do not seem to care; it is like they are impervious to the situation.
Why they have allowed this level of recklessness beats my imagination, and that is the reason for the uncontrolled behaviour of the Sokoto youths. A society can never move forward without good leadership, and that is where we are in Nigeria.
Many of our politicians are gallivanting over the whole place angling to be the president, but with no sense of direction, no programme, no ideology, no drive, no vision for a better Nigeria. The presidency has become so cheap; you do not need extraordinary skills and talents, you only need the mob or messianic support and all will be yours.
But that kind of leadership will never deliver to the people, it will only increase the vicious cycle. Without ideas, political will, focus, equity and fairness, there will be no progress.
If Nigeria must survive, things must be done properly, without sentiments of ethnicity, religion and region; we must begin to initiate reforms to actualise this, otherwise we will be playing with fire.
The consequences may not be immediate. But we must ask ourselves: what kind of legacy will we be bestowing to coming generations? History will surely judge us harshly if we fail.
The government by the elite, which we are currently practising, should be properly assessed; it is not helping us. The elite have their children in foreign schools, while the poor have their children in Nigerian schools.
The elite do not attend public hospitals; they either attend private clinics or go abroad; the masses are the ones you see crowding general hospitals. The elite can avoid the danger of road transportation by flying in planes; the people go by road and are exposed to kidnappers and terrorists at every point along the route. So, in terms of insecurity, it is the masses who bear the brunt.
The elites buy their products in bulk, which is gotten at a cheap rate, the people buy in units, as a result, increasing prices of goods and items are borne by the people, even to participate in politics now, the people have been conveniently shoved aside, as they cannot afford the expression of interest forms, with the exorbitant rate imposed by the political parties.
From the beginning, it is an elite affair, we are basically stratified along elite – people divide and if it continues like this, the future for this country cannot be guaranteed. The people must be properly integrated into the political structure and governance, that way, the interest of all will be factored in.
Ikhioya wrote viawww.southsouthecho.com