Nigeria: Reckless Lack Amidst Abundance — Femi Adeoti Column

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We are a people? Perhaps! A people wrongly wired. A country of
abundant absurdities. The reason we strive hard to perish. How do we
explain this? We consciously make concerted efforts to fail.
That’s what we do, all the time. It is our deliberate policy to bite
the dust. We do that with uncanny relish. We have everything in
abundance. And suffer in great want.
We act the Bible’s Hosea 4 verse 6 for the wrong reason: “My people
are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”
Ours is not for lack of knowledge. No, far from it! That’s not why we
fall consistently. We have all it takes. Even at the palms of our
hands.
Our knowledge and understanding have no bounds. Our adeptness, and
grasp can’t be faulted. Our proficiency and mastery are serious envies
to others.
We excel in foreign lands. We shine outside our porous borders. We
conquer with ease. We have got the whole world in our hands. We are
stars in other climes. And that is where it stops.
We are what we are today strictly by our own undoing. It’s a choice.
What a tragic species we are. We have virtually nothing working for
us. Almost all things work for us in sordid way. Nobody but us!
Severe lack in the midst of endless plenty. Are we cursed for real? We
have everything. Yet, we suffer everything. What have we not have?
Nothing. What have we not suffered? Nothing.
That is the tragedy of our existence as a nation. What we have aplenty
is exactly what we lack equally aplenty. Stranger than fiction!
The list is legion. It’s limitless and ceaseless. We have oil
everywhere. Even in Bauchi-Gombe axis? We boast of oil in superfluity.
At the same time. We suffer unending fuel scarcity. They shamelessly
hang it on subsidy. Even when they never believed in it. It’s
government’s mischief to sustain our suffering.
Peter Obi put it succinctly. And in the proper perspective. He told
the Nigerian Guild Editors in Lagos on Monday: “Subsidy is organised
crime.” He is right, yes against the citizens. Obi is on the ballot
for the president. He is running on the platform of Labour Party.
Come to think of it. We have fertile lands, yet we are in dire need of
food. We suffer critical food shortage as if in drought or famine.
That drew anger from President Muhammadu Buhari. He was angry we are
hungry. He did not hide his angst: “Since we have farmland and God has
blessed us with rain, what reason does a Nigerian have to say he’s
hungry? If you are hungry, go to the farm.”
He claimed we were responsible for our predicament. He wouldn’t
understand why farmers deserted their farms. What would make them do
that? He wondered aloud. That was curious to him.
We are equally surprised he was surprised. Buhari forgot easily the
evils the killer Fulani herdsmen did and still doing. The atrocities
of bandits, terrorists and their likes. How they overran farms.
Killing, maiming and raping anything on sight.
All of these make farming dangerous if not impossible. What about the
floods that came ravaging thereafter? As usual, Buhari feigned he knew
all this:
“I’m aware that floods have ravaged some farmlands this season. But we
are still selling rice made in Nigeria and we can feed ourselves.” Our
President appears blank. Pity!
Buhari would not want us to mention this. We have to. We must. It is
germane. We refuse to be caged, cowed or cajoled. It is the root of
our quandary. Anyway, that is no longer feasible.
What he wanted hidden, Abubakar Kawu Baraje exposed. He did that more
than two years ago in Ilorin, Kwara State. We won’t forget him in a
hurry. He graciously obliged us this vital piece of information. And
on a silver platter!
Government was beaten to its dirty game. Outright! It could not muster
enough courage to contradict Baraje. It dared not. He was not
ambiguous in his confession:
“We brought foreign Fulani militias to Nigeria.” That is profound.
It’s insightful. He didn’t mince or mix words.
Baraje is a former chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress
(APC). He has since returned to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP),
his first love.
He insisted, APC brought the foreign Fulani militias to help it win
2015 election. They were ferried in from Sierra Leone, Mali, Senegal,
Niger and Chad:
“After the election, the Fulani refused to leave. I and other like
minds wrote and warned those we started APC with that this was going
to happen but nobody listened.”
Baraje once served as PDP national secretary. He was also chairman,
breakaway faction of the party. He had been one of them. He knew it
all saw it all and said it all.
Since he spoke, government has lost its steam. Baraje threw it off
balance. It remained dumfounded, bewildered ever since.
Now. This glaring exception; bad leadership! It’s the only item we are
not lacking. It is not contestable. We have that evil product in
surplus supply. It overwhelms us.
Certainly not in short supply. It’s a choice commodity. We cherish it
with glee. Very precious and dear to our hearts. Our heartless leaders
are such a priceless gift.
We have these awful and perverse leaders in reckless abundance. We
never lack them at any point in time.
They are phenomenal. They’re the crude export we have.
We have worn-out leaders in commercial quantity. Unfortunately,
there’s no viable market for them outside Africa.
Even the African market is not profitable. Most African nations have
their own share of this similar appalling leadership. They too have
them in careless opulence.
Where do we go from here? Nowhere in particular! There is even this
palpable fear. We may end up electing kidnappers as leaders. Doubting
it? Quiet possible.
Yes. In a Nigeria where anything goes! Nothing is impossible. We are
capable of springing unthinkable surprises. That’s our area of core
competence.
Dr Oludayo Tade is a criminologist. Without being particular. Neither
did he point accusing finger at anyone. He merely sounded a note of
warning. He called us back to our senses. Never to take things for
granted:
“As things are going, we may elect kidnappers in 2023, with the
successes they record from their operations around the country. We all
should know that they now have so much money for them to do whatever
they like. As you know about Nigerians, they may even vie for
political posts.”
Tade is a university lecturer. He gave the warning in a recent
lecture; “Rising Cases of Kidnapping: Beyond Ethnic Stereotype,
Mirroring Local Causes and Solutions.” He did it in Iseyin, Oyo State.
God bestowed on us a rare grace. He blessed this country like no other
nation. We have good reasons to showcase His exceptional favour. Alas!
We keep messing up. Are we truly under spell?
We have quality, best materials. They’re in good bountifulness. But we
always opt for the quacks. We prefer the laughable. We elect the very
opposite among us.
We are comfortably at home with inferior stuffs. This is how we
awkwardly packaged ourselves. And we want things to work as it works
in other clime. We goof!
It’s odd, wild and weird. Isn’t it?

*Last line
Sincere apologies for the two-week break in communication. It was
unavoidable but not intentional.

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