I have always told myself that Nigeria is not a republic and I still hold that fact to be true. For those who have been dreaming that we are a republic, welcome to the real world. We are a monarchy where several kings hold sway. In this country, kings and their minions rule over 160 million subjects. If you see meaningless titles like president or governor, it is just a mirage. We are not a republic. This is a place where kings reign without recourse to the law. It is a place where the subjects are treated with disdain and utter contempt.
In this monarchy, over 160 million subjects live below one dollar per day. They struggle to find meaning to their lives while the monarchy thrives. When the kings fall ill, they travel to Europe and Middle East to be treated and the subjects have to make do with a nonexistent healthcare. As for the roads, they are just worn stretches of broken down asphalt that are death traps. In the past, people like us who use them decried their pitiful state and held on to the hope that one day the kings would pass on these roads with their convoy of exotic cars and witness the horror their subjects endure on a daily basis. We hoped that they would see just how terrible the roads have become and embark on nationwide road rehabilitation. We held on to that hope for long but not anymore.
The kings have taken to the skies, this time, not in the aging planes that drop from the skies as a result of the ineptitude of their minions. No, the lives of our kings are far too precious to be wasted for nothing. Like the roads, they have left those old planes for the lowly subjects. When the news of the airplane crash involving the governor of Taraba state, Danbaba Suntai and some of his aides broke on October 25, many were left scratching their heads as to why the governor, a trained pharmacist would be flying a plane. Little did we know that our kings had caught the sky bug. From every corner of the kingdom today, they are buying bombardier jets worth $45.7 million (about N7.4 billion) or those of N3 billion while their subjects manage roads that have been eroded by water or just simply try to keep their head above water as their means of livelihood, homes and possessions are washed by flood waters.
So great is this sky bug that some kings will take flying lessons and build air strips in their hometowns, citing reasons of convenience and official responsibilities for their obsession. It does not even matter if the country is plagued by problems of poor education and lack of basic amenities like water, and electricity, our kings will do anything to own a jet.
I don’t know how long this bug will continue to bite or how long the subjects of this kingdom will continue to look the other way as their commonwealth is used to purchase air crafts running into billions of Naira by these corrupt kings, but one thing is sure, while the poor subjects of this kingdom manage the bad roads or old planes with the usual perseverance that has stunted the kingdom and denied them the development they yearn for, the kings have taken to the skies and left them to behind.
Umari Ayim is a lawyer, published author and a thinker devoted to the Nigerian cause.
Her column ‘Revolution Woman’ where she will be dealing on topical issues runs every Monday.
Follow her on Twitter – @Umariofficial