It’s Been A While

It’s Been A While

I have failed the second time trying to maintain a weekly post on my blog; in between my daily hustles and in the past two weeks being very occupied with ‘occupying’ Nigeria, I tried to jot something because ideas just fly about in my head like commuters jostling for a bus; so I tried to record my thoughts on paper. My failure didn’t occur to me until a faithful follower and friend sent a message to me saying ‘it’s been a while you posted on your blog’… so where did all my jottings go?

After reading her message, I told myself ‘it’s time to work’, so I set forth at dawn with my machete and axe to plough. Although, I wish there is a land, one still flowing with milk and honey. How I wish I could say the land is green; it is Nigeria of course, what other land can I plough? And who else I do intend to weed if not the government who likes to feed us with cruel policies that would choke us so that we would not be able to cry fowl.

After the Christmas bombing at St. Theresa Catholic church, Madalla, the news of the mother of all bombings spread across Nigeria; Boko Haram will attack again on New Year’s Day and we were warned against any form of gathering. On the so called ‘D’ Day’ rather than celebrate, we were security conscious that we avoided gatherings (especially those in the north). And suddenly, as we were about to heave a sight of relief the threats were empty after all, BOOOOOM!!!!!! It was deafening and utterly shocking! So disastrous that this time, not only a few, but practically every Nigerian was caught! Indeed it was the mother of all bombings; the fuel subsidy removal didn’t leave anyone unhurt.

The next day (trust Nigerians!), prices of goods and services doubled; some even tripled. Many people who couldn’t further their journey to work returned home, others went grudgingly and those who travelled during Christmas had to sell some of their belongings to return home. But then I ask which way forward?

The government resolved that fuel subsidy removal is the best way forward but to Nigerians that is the fastest way backward; an unreasonable decision, the polity will suffer and immeasurably too. The second week was massive, Nigerians set out to occupy what is theirs; nobody is saying fuel subsidy removal is wrong but the government is wrong by not cutting down corruption, tightening their belts, providing the basic needs of the people before removing anything. Of the world’s top 10 producers of crude oil, Nigeria’s minimum wage is miserly. At 18,000 naira, we are forced to eat cake crumbs, while government officials binge on the national cake; they collect allowance on everything including the smallest of things that their salaries should cater for and we are expected to carry the burden of fuel subsidy removal on our already burdened backs while the government continue to grow bulgy stomachs!

We had decided to plough on a sterile land, it was the fifth day and not an action from the government, not an action from me either because I had stopped reading articles and blackberry broadcasts about occupy Nigeria, the whole situation was getting to me faster than to the government and I recalled I had wished that this struggle will give birth to a Jerry Rawlings and Nigerians would live happily ever after. On the sixth day, I had hoped that while we rested at home the government would see reason and come to a conclusion but instead I see the government on the podium of unrest-in the name of meetings and negotiations- cracking the ribs of their cohorts at our expense. Well, at that time we still had NLC on our side even when people were beginning to loose hope; we felt they were fighting our course.  On Monday and technically the sixth day of strike, after all said and said and after unleashing the soldiers on us, the strike was suspended at a consensus price of 97 naira per litre. A protest of five days felt the sting of betrayal, all along our enemy was within stirring us to charge yet caressing the back of the government.

Although few Nigerians still think it is the best way forward, development won’t come if fuel subsidy is not removed. But I ask again, on which path are we going to tread? What has been laid that will make the journey traversable? The government making this policy, what exertions- in the very least- have they shown us to make us see reason? (Oh! They actually did, 25per cent of basic salary!) And how well have they prepared us for the journey? If fuel subsidy is removed and the prices of goods and services are increased, how does it improve a dead economy? We all want well for ourselves; a 51 years old woman deserves to reap the fruits from the hardships she had sown all her life. Fuel subsidy removal is not the issue; it is the government and their ways of implementation that is questionable and unreasonable.

Since 2009, 935 people have died in the Boko Haram attacks and nothing has been done except that 100 million naira was paid as compensation to the family of the late Boko Haram leader. On the 20th of January, 162 precious lives were lost in the Kano bombings and barely 24 hours later, 11 people also killed in Bauchi. How people’s lives have turned goat meat; our lives are not secured even in our own land. When we manage to catch a Boko Haram suspect alive, he escapes; if he dies, the government compensates his family while the victims are given a mass burial. For how long are we going to tolerate this insensitivity? How many more deaths before the government realizes that this madness must stop? Citizens now live daily in trepidation; they can’t walk freely on the streets without being blown up by bombs, shot or mobbed.

Thus, I wish to weed the government and its corrupt practices; I wish to weed the continuous trend of ‘chop- I- chop- while- the- masses- suffer’; I wish to weed a government whose judicial edifice has more or less crumbled and in its place a shanty, of glaring corruption and injustice. This is the government I wish to weed… I wish there is a land, one still flowing with milk and honey. How I wish I could say the land is green.

16 thoughts on “It’s Been A While” by Chioma Sylvie (@cylvie)

  1. Nigeria! Nigeria!! Boko haram!!! Corruption!!!!

    God, where art thou?

  2. You write beautifully.
    I have stopped reading the Nigerian Newspapers, no more listen to Naija news…you wanna make me leave NS too?

    1. Me and you both homie!!!!!

    2. I rarely do to, still it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t write about what is happening in my country. You are safe here Kaycee, no need to leave. Lol

      1. @kaycee, I think I’m missing something… Thank you.

      2. it is the work of the artist to mirror the society and show it as it is with beautiful work of penmanship. Yes beautiful, i mean, in the use of words even when the story bleeds the heart. that’s what you just did chi. ride on!

  3. If you that concerned about weeding Nigeria…why don’t you start with you…??
    As far as I’m concerned…the government is corrupt because we are.

    Those guys aren’t martians…they are Nigerians.

    In a country where you have to pay N50 extra to buy a gallon of fuel…in a country where you sleep with a graduate to give her a job…

    I don’t blame the government. I blame us.

    1. @seun, you know any female graduate that needs a job?
      Give her my pin.
      I will help her out.

      1. Trust you to do that @kaycee

        Don’t bother. I don’t know any such people.

    2. You have a point @seun but in this case, I choose to start weeding from the top and that is the government.

      1. If a tree’s roots are rotten…what is the hope of the tree top?

        My point is…if you start from the top – the people who are going there are only going to continue in the steps of their predecessors.

        Why bother?

  4. Be careful how you weed and where you weed. You may have to weed out some members of your extended family who have been benefiting from this corruption. I’m sure that you’ve heard this saying that if you throw a stone into the market place, you may hit your relative. I recently heard that a prominent man of God is reluctant to pray to God to “rain down fire and brimstone” on corrupt politicians. He says he’s afraid that some of his so-called pastors may be affected by the judgement. So what do we do meanwhile? Clean up our own acts before we begin to fight injustice. If I’m going to fight for something, I want to be sure I do it with a clear conscience.

    1. My point exactly… If I do not strive for it then I wouldn’t dare write about it. And should hurting a relative keep me from doing the right thing?

      Thanks Ymoweta.

  5. The change begins with us, almost everyone is corrupt! The lowly civil servants, the market women, the agberos, the government, most businessmen, some pastors….almost everyone! Are you corrupt? If you had the opportunity to serve Nigeria, would you remain corrupt free. The N.I.M chairman in Abia told me once of how he had tried to remain corrupt free in a corrupt ridden environment. His car was the oldest version of volkswagen, he also said that he did a brief stint in the state house of assembly but had to leave when it was apparent change would not come through that route. What could he have done when during sessions, big-ghana must gos came in filled with money? The first time he used a phone call as an excuse to leave the chambers and the second time he used the fact that he had a running stomach. How many times would he have used the excuse before his colleagues got wind of the fact that he wasn’t that kind of person and either kill him or something else? So he left the house because of his integrity. There are other cases but my laptop battery will not permit me.
    The change starts with you and your wisdom to avoid certain compromising places…

    1. You are right Enoquin, but it still doesn’t mean the government should be allowed to do whatever they like.
      Thanks Enoquin.

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