|Saturday, February 9, 2019|
This place is Hellís waiting room (Steven Ramirez)
traveled to Nigeria, about three weeks ago, to experience, first hand, what Nigerians are going through, and to gauge their feelings or their situation prior to the upcoming elections. What I saw or experienced was worse than imagined. Nigeria is hot, perhaps too hot, in all ways. The weather is just like an oven; the harmattan season has gone too soon, and in many parts of Nigeria, the rain has taken over. Imagine that it was raining almost every day in Aba, in January, despite the fact that there are no many good roads over there. All the federal government roads in the south-east zone are in deplorable conditions, and so many states' and local governments' roads are even worse. What a country that cares less about the plight of its people, making them to be suffering in the midst of plenty? Why is it that "a waist that has wrappers is going naked"?
Poverty is written everywhere you go in Nigeria: People are starving to death due to hardship, and even so many children are now used to going hungry from morning till night. I saw a family of seven looking for only N1.000 to prepare a pot of soup for dinner.
A report just released by the BBC (on Feb. 9, 2019) says that "Nigeria is Africa's largest economy and the continent's biggest oil producer. But it is a country where more than half the population lives in poverty, and 60% of the urban population cannot afford the cheapest house. There are also some very rich Nigerians indeed and the gap between rich and poor is all too clear to see in the country's largest cities.
The unemployment rate provided by the government's National Bureau of Statistics is more than 20%.
Here's another key statistic - about 60% of the population lives in absolute poverty - measured by the number who can afford only the bare essentials of shelter, food and clothing. This figure is from a household poverty survey released by the government in 2012".
Due to hardship, promiscuity and adultery have become parts of life in Nigeria. Most married women have no other option than to be sleeping around in order to find money to feed their respective families or to solve other financial problems. It now seems as if that any married woman who is not committing adultery is missing something - they are even competing well with the unmarried girls who refused to budge in the game. What a country that has turned some upright and righteous women into waywardness for survival?
One thing leading to another, the hotel business is booming and is now ubiquitous. Hotels are where the married or the unmarried women, and their male friends, some of them married men, do their rendezvous (love nest). What a country that breeds hardship, as such that iniquity is now accepted as a way of life? Nigeria is now also a den of iniquity.
The government schools have become an eyesore and so dilapidated that I wondered if pupils are still attending them again. Private schools have sprung up everywhere, charging parents exorbitantly to educate their wards. Only children of poorest parents do attend public schools nowadays. What a country that sends children to places goat stalls are better than for education?
Many female students of higher institutions are not interested in acquiring academic knowledge; rather they are at their best when it comes to jumping from one bed to another for a price as low as N2.000 a night. Some of them do this in order to be able to pay their school fees and to take care of themselves. What a country that cares less about the education of its youths?
There are churches everywhere: The pastors and religious leaders are milking the poor people dry, divesting them of the little they have, and will be promising them salvation and miracles they canít bring about. While the pastors and religious leaders are getting richer, their worshippers are getting poorer. Truly, religion in Nigeria has turned into opium of the masses, as they now find solace in churches and worshipping places due to poverty.
Many Nigerians will be sick, instead of going to the hospital, they will turn to their pastors for prayers. Many have died because of simple illnesses any hospital can handle. Prayer can only work if the sick seeks medical attention in a hospital rather than relying only on prayers from his or her pastor or on concoction from a native doctor. I noticed that every health issue in Nigeria is being seen as the handiwork of that sick personís enemy. Nobody dies in Nigeria naturally without somebody being suspected of being behind it.
On the day I arrived in Nigeria, through Port Harcourt International Airport, I had enough time to ask so many people how they feel about the country, this government, and who will win the upcoming presidential election? What happened was that the vehicle sent to pick me up from the airport broke down along the way, so while they were fixing it, I exited the airport building and came to the airport taxis' section. I was contemplating whether to join an airport taxi to Aba or to any nearby hotel, but those coming to pick me up insisted that I should wait for them, for security reason, as you may never know what will happen when one joins a car driven by a stranger. As I was waiting, I used the opportunity to interact with the taxi drivers and some other people selling petty things in the vicinity.
One thing for sure is that all those I asked questions, that night, agreed that things are very hard in Nigeria than they were four years ago, and they blamed the government, Buhari, for all these. Almost all of them said that Buhari will never win the election, but they also expressed the fear that he will rig the election to remain in power. Some bold or outspoken ones gave instances why they felt that way, but do warn that rigging the election might bring Nigeria to an end, as the country is dancing on a crumbling precipice right now.
In the south-eastern zone, I was surprised that few people still see Buhari as the Messiah who should be given four more years to fix a broken Nigeria, but the majority was fiercely against his re-election.
Another thing for sure is that Buhari is not in charge of the government. The cabals are just using him to wreak havoc in Nigeria in order to achieve their parochial agenda, and their plan is to northernize the Nigerian government once Buhari is re-elected. It has already started! Or else, tell me why the president is a northerner; the senate president is a northerner; the speaker of the house of reps is a northerner; the CJN is a northerner; the heads of all the security, military, paramilitary, intelligence agencies, and almost all the departments in the country, except the Navy, are northerners.
Buhari might be mentally decaying, and cannot be in charge in such a state. I think he needs a roborant - something that can help him in the recovering of lost memory. Tell me how he doesn't know how to hand over his Party's Gubernatorial Flag to the bona fide candidate in every state he visited for campaign, as such that the APC hierarchy has now usurped that role from him; how is it possible that Buhari doesn't know the name of the state where he was campaigning?
There was news, with photo, where Yusuf Buhari, Buhariís son, joined the senate president, Bukola Saraki, to campaign for Atiku/Obi. Saying that his father is no longer in control of his government and that his administration has been hijacked by the cabals, while pleading that they should allow his father to rest (it has not yet been contradicted).
I saw it, first hand, in so many places, where Nigerians were sharing few bags of rice the politicians gave to entice their votes. Some of them were even fighting over the few cups of rice due to poverty created by the same politicians. In the words of Kamal Haasan (1954), I advise Nigerians ďDonít vote by comparing which leader is paying more for voting. Think about in whose hands you are resting your future and then vote for the deserving leader. Donít sell your future and self-respect for a pittance. Letís vote with conscience and promise that under any circumstance we wouldnít sell our vote. Voting is one of the important duties of every citizen. Out of the different duties, we are obliged to do for our country, voting is very important. Letís vote by understanding and realizing the capabilities of the leader contesting in the elections.Ē
The political atmosphere in Nigeria is dangerously hot as the politicians are using every means to have their opponents disqualified, and political thuggery is rife over there. Will Nigeria survive next week's presidential election? We will soon know.
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