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NIGERIA: A PYRAMID OF HELPLESSNESS written by Japheth J Omojuwa

We the people of Nigeria…

Nigerians are the most deprived people in the world! They pay for power so they can use same to create wealth, they get darkness in return and the resultant poverty to boot. Nigerians pay for BlackBerry services and they get shoddy and frustrating disservice in return which does not change the fact that they’ll re-subscribe for same when it runs out. Nigerians dusted off their apathy to elections and suffered all of nature’s elements including the scorching heat of the sun, the outpouring of showers by the rain and enforced closures of their businesses just so we could get it right “this time,” but what did we get? The same heads, the same incompetence and the worst state of national security since the Nigerian civil war. You would think our biggest problems are as a result of the men in power but while that looks the obvious, it is not entirely the truth.

It is a pyramid, a triangle, a cycle of actions and inaction that have left us all wondering how we got to this state of helplessness, near hopelessness and palpable trepidation for our country and total lack of confidence in it’s leadership.

The truth of the matter is, we the people must take the blame for where we are and how we got here. A few weeks ago the residents of Igbo-Efon along Lekki-Epe Express road stood their ground as they insisted the construction company working on the road remove the blockage that had prevented the flow of the drainage that had almost left them living on top of a man made still river. Considering the fact that the same company had said nothing could be done about it, it was a pleasant sight to see the construction firm react to the people’s protest by clearing the drainage and solving the problem almost immediately. The people came together and dealt with a menace that could easily have left them all homeless and helpless.

We either decide we don’t want more of government’s waste and ineptitude or get on with it. Our moneys are being stolen left, right, centre, up and down and we are there talking about who stole what. Every Lagosian pays more than s/he really needs to whenever he pays for a transport fare or buys anything at all. Obalende to Ajah used to cost 200 Naira, after a private operator came to run the route via the state governments BRT strategy same route now goes for as low as N100. What this means is that the peeople paid an extra 100 for every trip. Who gets that money? Well the touts and area boys in Lagos collect the equivalent of the fares of two seats before any vehicle leaves a park (this apart from the ones they pay on the route and other items like Chairman’s weekend money, Chairman’s owambe money and other unprintable stuffs). Imagine if more private operators are allowed into the transport industry without the recourse to bow to NURTW and RTEAN and the other systems put in place by fellow Nigerians to make life even more difficult for other Nigerians. Whether or not you use public transport, you pay for this gross pricing inefficiency whenever you pay for anything!

Look at the BlackBerry service providers. The less said the better here. What is the reason we still have just four providers of GSM service in Nigeria after 10 years of the service in Nigeria? 150 million people are being served by four operators! That’s an oligarchy and we the people of Nigeria bear the cost!

Landlords are gods. You pay two years rent and are responsible for the completion of the house. You fix windows, doors, wiring and several other things. We live like we don’t have a government (we have governments as run by every man to himself). We live almost helpless! The previous administration had Governors who looted several hundreds of billions of naira and they are all still free men. Heck, those who left in 2007 are still free. Nothing has happened and nothing will happen!

Let’s face it, we are on our own! The police cannot protect themselves how will they protect you? Soldiers are back on the streets of Nigeria and residents of Maiduguri are escaping to nowhere! We look done for, lost, helpless, confused and without direction. We have become a nation that seeks the faces of murderers to appease them.


I am being tempted to quote some numbers but that will be left for my Nigeria of Numbers piece later this week! The president in his inaugural address was smart enough not to go specific about his promises… He looked to rouse the people’s feelings and sentiments like he did pre-elections. How long will that last? Things are fast falling apart and we need a saviour. That saviour is not one man, it is not one woman, it is One People! We all have to really see these brigands for their true colours. You don’t have to wait till night time to know the destination of a pointless runner because he ends no where. Opportunities will arise again to do the right thing and speak as one people, my fear and concern is whether you won’t sell your birthright again for a bowl of meal. Look Egypt did it the hard way, Tunisia did same and Libya is still battling Gaddafi. Theirs were easier because they had figures to battle, ours is more complex. We have a corrupt Dynasty of dynasties to battle, it is represented by the ironically named People’s Democratic Party and symbolised by Goodluck Jonathan – the puppet in the hands of many bosses!

We may not have to go the Tunisia route but we must be ready to go the democratic route when the chance presents itself provided there is equity and fairness, in the absence of that men always find ways of freeing themselves…how you Nigerians do it is left to you. Our helplessness is our making.

PS: This is not the end of the piece!

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Omojuwa

In the beginning...Let there be Light http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japheth_J._Omojuwa

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