Hope you enjoyed your holiday. I did mine. It was spent with fellow dreamers talking up ways to make Nigeria better. Maybe some day we will upload our gist to YouTube, or just give up and start quoting vague statistics.
So two nights ago, a lot of people in Nigeria were glued to their television sets watching our President give something to a foreigner that no Nigerian journalist has had yet, a no-holds barred, exclusive interview. Says a lot about all of us, that we'd rather open up to foreigners than to our own, because make no mistakes about it, GEJ is not the first guilty party, neither will he be the last.
In the interview, the Prez told Miss Amanpour that poverty and unemployment were not fuelling the Boko Haram menace. Like almost all of his political enemies, I beg to disagree with that. When people are poor, and when they have no hope for the future, there is a tendency for them to turn to the next person who offers them bread and entertainment. Or something to do, even if that something is to pick a gun and go and shoot some of their fellow men.
As things stand, rather than keep a lid on the people's frustrations by creating jobs so that they can provide themselves with bread and entertainment, Kano has created yet another volatile situation. Various governments in Nigeria, from the Federal to the States tend to be very reactionary in their behaviour. Following the attack last weekend on Pa Bayero, the Kano state government has clamped down on achaba riders (okada for those of you reading from Lagos). What has happened as a result, is that a lot of these young men have started to desert the city looking for pastures in neighbouring states. Problem is, those states already have their own resident achaba riders who in most cases have saturated markets. So expect even greater saturation in those places, and a turf war to follow at some point as the "settlers" battle the "indigenes" for a share of the local market.
Cue Plateau state where yesterday people were dispatched in yet another "settler" v "indigene" bolekaja. The whole fiasco came about as a result of the discovery of the corpse of a young man who had been declared missing a few days prior. Having no faith in the ability of local law enforcement to find the killers, not to talk of bringing them to book, his group decided to take justice into their own hands, and in the ensuing tit for tat, another 19 people will be joining him in the afterlife.
Whether the 20 unfortunates will get the requisite prayers to accompany them on their trip to face the Almighty is another matter as the people who should be praying for them are at the moment, involved in their own bolekaja. At least those of them who profess to follow Jesus Christ...
Truth is, the lack of faith shown in law enforcement is quite justifiable. Why, we live in a country where the rather modest sum of $67 billions can take a hike without law enforcement even taking notice. In my not-so-humble opinion, there has to be a threshold where such profligacy starts to be viewed as criminal negligence, but hey, this is Nigeria, and we lack standards, so I can bet the result of this evening's whipping by the Zambians that a lot more than that announced sum has found its way out of the nation's coffers. Still the law enforcement agents remain in their deep slumber.
But then again, maybe we are being too harsh on the law enforcement agents. You see, as the old saying goes, "to whom much is given, much is expected from", and frankly, those boys in black, have had nothing given to them as we are beginning to discover. Why, following the rather humiliating pictures of the Police College, Ikeja that made their way to Channels TV, the Vanguard has jumped on the bandwagon, and driven 511 kilometres to Oji River. Their opening salvo describes the Police College there as "the worst case of infrastructural decay and total neglect at Oji River Police College in Enugu State". Honestly, I'm glad that they did not present us with a photograph. If there can be a place worse than what we saw at Ikeja, I'd rather not see it. I had a nice breakfast, and have no inclination to have it come back up.
Bits and bobs
The Senate wants to form another committee. This time, the sitting allowances will be distributed in a futile search for the reason the 2012 budget achieved just a 40% performance, well, according to them anyway.
The Petrol ichafo tells us that they have created 30,000 jobs so we should be happy. 30,000! In a country where our National Bureau of Statistics told us that there are 67 million unemployed people**. Oh well, since she's created 30,000 jobs in three years as Madam Fuel, expect her to take another 2232 years to create the 66,970,000 jobs required to fill the gap, especially considering that our country depends almost entirely on her ministry's product.
Papa Eagles have a match this evening. They will be getting dumped out of the ongoing AFCON by the defending champions. I'm certain that the sports ministry's lead tracksuit, Bolaji Abdulahi, a very nice chap, will not be too happy about that, but hey, we can't win them all. Watch Zambia 4-0 Nigeria on SuperSport from 4 this evening. If you don't have DSTv, save yourself the heartache. Go and suck a lemon.
*"The common people rather than caring about their freedom, only want bread and circuses," was written in Juvenal's poem, The Satires, Book IV, a lesson that Roman rulers took to heart, which ultimately led to the fall of their empire.
**The NBS's figures of 67 million unemployed are subject to debate. The Ministry of Youth Development disputed them and came up with a figure of 16 millions.