Temple Chima UbochiFriday, December 1, 2017
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Bonn, Germany


Continued from Part 4

We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid (Benjamin Franklin)

To know, is to know that you know nothing. That is the meaning of true knowledge (Socrates)

It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have. James (A. Baldwin)

When we have begun to take charge of our lives, to own ourselves, there is no longer any need to ask permission of someone (George O'Neil)

y people say that "a waist that has wrappers shouldn't go naked". Because of the spell on Nigeria, life is only nasty, brutish and short for the citizens. How can somebody explain why the citizens of a country so endowed should be walloping in penury, misery and hopelessness? During the genocide called civil war, the Nigerian government used starvation (hunger) as a weapon of war against the people of the former eastern region, but today, nemesis has made hunger a "famous" Nigerian "citizen", and a steady companion of many, as it's everywhere and is tormenting millions of Nigerians irrespective of tribe.

Infact, I feel for millions of Nigerians who're only existing and are no longer living. I wonder how Nigerians are managing to make ends meet. The worst hit Nigerians are those living in the cities, who do not have the possibility of receiving any help from other family members, and do not have a garden or land where they can grow some food on their own. Think of a man earning about N18, 000, living in Lagos or Abuja, with a wife and two kids - he must pay his rent; pay his children's school fees; feed his family; pay for transport; buy clothes for his wife and children; buy medicine or pay hospital bill, if any family member becomes sick - all from that N18, 000, and may be, he has an aged parents, in the village, who also look up to him for their own sustenance. How can such a person meet up, considering how expensive things are?

Due to hardship, Nigeria has about 11.5 million out-of-school population, and that's not good for its development. The suffering has taken another turn, as such that people are committing suicide, rather than face the hopelessness. The problem is even compounded by the non-payment of salaries when due. State governments receive their states' monthly allocations from the federation account, but some of them will pocket the money or waste it on frivolities. We read how unpaid salaries forced a Kogi State director to hang self after his wife delivered triplets. That senior civil servant, Edward Soje, a Grade Level 16 Officer in the State Teaching Service Commission, was owed 11 months' salary arrears as of the time he took his life.

Because of hardship, many Nigerians are risking their lives to leave the hell on earth called Nigeria. For many, any other country, except Nigeria, would be better, and many have made the greatest mistake of their lives by leaving without being so sure of where they're going, or what it will entail over there. Many Nigerians have drowned while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea into Europe. Many have died in the desert trying to make it via Libya into Europe. We read about the 26 Nigerian women who died while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea few weeks ago. I wonder how anybody can risk such. Many Nigerians in Europe and America are also suffering, and would have rushed back home, assuming things are a bit in order at home.

Nigerians in other Africa countries are also suffering. I read how they're being killed, anyhow, in South Africa, and I got a WhatsApp message about the plight of Nigerians in Ghanian prisons. One of the prisoners, serving a 130 years imprisonment, is appealing to the Nigerian government to come to their aid, as the condition there, according to him, has been unbearable for the Nigerian prisoners. He claimed that the Ghanaian police are fond of arresting innocent Nigerians, giving them high prison sentences of 50 years, 70 years, 100 years, 150 years, and 200 years. He also claimed that Appeals do not help them, and that many Nigerians have died in prisons in Ghana. What of the Nigerians sold into slavery in Libya, whose organs are harvested and bodies are mutilated and burnt?

While millions of Nigerians are suffering, at home and abroad, and many are starving to death at home, the political class is engaging in stealing and wasting of the funds it should have used to make life easier and more meaningful for every Nigerian. That's part of the spell. Few weeks ago, president Buhari sent a 2018 budget of N8.612 trillion to the National Assembly for consideration. There, Buhari proposed N136 million for his refreshment, and N132 million to be spent for his cooking gas. The best part of it all is that the crocodiles, birds and other wildlife in the Presidential Villa would be entitled to N65.431 million for their upkeep in 2018. Nigerians are starving to death, but animals in the presidential villa are enjoying, and are living better than most Nigerians. Who can imagine that? That amount to be wasted on those animals can save many Nigerian lives, and can send many children, who're out of school, due to poverty, back to school.

In 2015, candidate Buhari criticized his predecessor for keeping ten planes, promising that if elected; he will cut the number of the presidential jets from ten to two. Two years after becoming the president, he has failed to keep that promise. What he did now was to budget the sum of N7.26 billion for the Presidential Air Fleet, PAF, in the 2018 budget proposal. The Vanguard added that the Presidential Air Fleet, PAF, has remained a controversial subject, following outcry among Nigerians that the cost of maintenance of more than 10 aircraft in the fleet was too high, particularly at this time of tough economic challenges. On assumption of office, President Muhammadu Buhari assured his administration would cut down on the number of aircraft on the fleet inherited from former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015.

The National Assembly members are not better: About a year ago, I pointed out how they are sharing our resources while doing nothing for Nigeria. The 360 members of the House of Representatives, like their counterparts in the senate, own new exotic cars worth billions of naira. The senate ordered, in 2015, Toyota Land Cruisers for its 109 members at the cost of N4.7bn; while the House of Reps spent N4.3bn to buy cars for its 360 members. These people are taking their car allowances, and still, Nigeria had to bleed more to buy them another 469 expensive vehicles. Something is wrong with our politicians!

Not only the national assembly members are divesting Nigeria; even those who have enough already are still taking from Nigeria. That's heartless! Even if it's their statutory rights, in this austerity time, they're supposed to forego some of these things as their own sacrifice in these hard times. The ex-presidents and former heads of state are pocketing N50million as car allowance every four years, while former deputy presidents or the equivalent, accordingly, receive N30million, and this is outside other perks of office and pensions they are paid monthly. According to The Sun, Nigeria spent N400million for the eight past presidents and heads of state, and N120million for the five former vice presidents and chiefs of general staff as their car allowances in 2016. That amounts to N520m for their cars alone. For me, that's reckless, senseless and un-necessary, because, these people don't need the money or the vehicles, afterall, they looted enough to buy themselves any vehicle of their choice.

A human rights lawyer and activist, Chief Mike Ozekhome, spit fire, by saying that that even if there is a law backing up remuneration for former heads of state, they also have to make sacrifices in the same way the common man are being called upon to make sacrifices. Hear him: "It is most insensitive and uncaring for our leaders to be spending an elephantine sum of about N520 million to buy cars for former heads of state, many of whom were actually military dictators. It is like saying to hell with the masses of the Nigerian people; it is like saying the Nigerian people are only good to vote for these leaders and once they carry out their civic duty of voting, they are forgotten and relegated to the abysmal dustbin of history until the next round of election comes up again. That is not how to operate democracy. That is an exclusive, oppressive and repressive democracy. I condemn this largesse in totality. It is not good at all in this period of austerity when Nigerians are suffering and groaning in pains. As former heads of state, they have already enjoyed the perquisite of office with their wives, their children, their mistresses, their concubines, their schoolmates, and their political hangers-on. What more do they want? Such law should be amended, if not totally abrogated".

Because of the spell, President Goodluck Jonathan, achieved a lot, but remained unsung, he was rigged out, and he handed a much, much better Nigeria to President Buhari, who has failed to sustain the tempo, and has, in only two years, taken Nigeria back to what it was in the 1960s. Look at what National Network Online reported (Jonathan Speaks Out..."I Didn't Hand Over A Collapsed Nation To Buhari"):

"Former President, Goodluck Jonathan has replied his critics who accused him of handing over a nation at the verge of collapse to his successor, President Muhammadu Buhari. Jonathan recounted the achievements of his government to include, handing over a country that produced the richest man in Africa. Jonathan said:

"I took over a Nigeria that was the second largest economy in Africa with a GDP of $270.5 billion in 2009, I handed over a Nigeria that had grown to become the largest economy in Africa and the 24th largest economy in the World with a GDP of $574 billion. I inherited a Nigeria in which the trains were not working, and handed over a Nigeria in which citizens can safely travel by trains again. I inherited a Nigeria that was a net importer of cement, and handed over a Nigeria that is a net exporter of cement. In 2009 the richest Nigerian was the 5th richest man in Africa, but I handed over a Nigeria that produced the richest man in Africa".

You can't destroy what that belongs to others while keeping your own intact. Nemesis will sooner or later take its course: Who can believe it that despite the fact the persons of northern extraction have ruled Nigeria for more than 40 out of the 57 years this country has been independent, and still, the northern region is more backward than the southern region; poverty, ignorance and diseases are more prevalent there than in the south. Look at what the north has, and still, it's so backward, and that's the paradoxes, caused by the spell cast against the entity called Nigeria, because the rulers have failed to do the right thing in order to right the wrongs of the genocide called civil war:

President - North

Senate President - North

Speaker, House of Reps - North

Chief of Staff - North

SGF - North

INEC Chairman - North

President, Federal High Court - North

National Security Adviser - North

Chief of Army Staff - North

Chief of Air Staff - North

Comptroller, Custom services - North

Defence Minister - North

MD, Port Authority - North

MD, NDIC - North

Comptroller, Prison Services - North

Comptroller, Immigration Services - North

Comptroller, Fire Service - North

Highest looters - North

Richest man in Africa - North

85% of Petroleum Marketers in Nigeria - North

80% of Oil Block Owners in Nigeria - North

99% of beggars in Nigeria - Northerners

99.9% of Almajiris - North

Highest rate of child marriage - North

Boko Haram - North

Fulani herdsmen militia terrorizing Nigerians - North

90% of Nigeria's past president/heads of state - north

Yet, the poorest states in Nigeria and educationally backward areas in Nigeria are in the North. Now, ask yourself, what's the problem of Northerners?

No headway for Nigeria, if things continue like this:







Continued from Part 4