Which Way Nigeria? —Akunna Ejim



The still unfolding events in the country all point to the inevitable fact that Nigeria is heading towards a decisive moment in its history. At this point, anyone can take his or her pick of different pointers that lend credence to this fact: the escalating spate of bombings and unrest in the North; the ever-widening tribal divisiveness as a result of the provocative persecution of the members of other tribes by a section of the country; the sharp inflation that is the direct outcome of the subsidy removal, in addition to the simmering discontent that was already in place before any of these escalating factors.

It is quite obvious that some elements with devious intentions are involved in the rising violence in the country, including outside interests that stand to gain from the division of the country. The infernal internal struggle for power and even more wealth by the already illegitimately stupendously rich, and also the quest by outside forces to gain unrestricted access to the crude oil reserves in the country as well as strategic control of a key African country also contribute to the volatility in the country. Everyone in the country can bear witness to the fact that the level of wanton disregard for human life, human rights and the seeming powerlessness of the government to curb it has never been this bad in the country.

Even now, perpetrators of various dastardly acts have not been apprehended and have been left free to roam the country carrying out even more serious offences. The killing of innocent National Youth Service Corps members and other citizens has been swept under the dirty rugs of the country and not one person has been punished for the offence. The same thing goes for the graphic rape of the young girl that was witnessed by many Nigerians. It is no longer news that the government has absolutely refrained from making the effort to fish out the rapists to face the justice they deserve. At this point, it would be quite correct to state that the citizens of the country should not rely on the government for protection, something that should be a priority of any responsible government. This is probably why the father who caught the young man raping his daughter decided to deal with the situation himself by making adequate use of his cutlass. To cut a long story short, that particular rapist will not be able to rape anyone again for the rest of his life since the enraged father made sure of that.

The value of the beleaguered Naira has further diminished in relation to other more stable currencies. And despite the theories spouted about the short-term difficulties as a means to future gains following the removal of the supposed subsidy, history has taught us that such a drop in value usually comes to stay. In the same way, the value of goods that shot up following the immediate increase of petroleum products following the New Year ‘present’ from the government has stubbornly refused to come down following the partial reduction in price of the commodity by the same government. As such, those prices are here to stay with the attendant hardship, due to the fact that incomes have remained unchanged. This means that life is much harder for the poor while the already rich will only get richer from the proceeds of the subsidy removal. It is really disheartening to think of what the really poor must be going through right now since they will bear the brunt of the Naira that does not go as far as it used to.

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It would seem that the country is definitely reaching a breaking point since the fabric that holds it together has been stretched so thin and is unraveled in so many places that a disintegration is the next logical expectation. Despite the atmosphere of doom and gloom, all it takes is one look into the hopeful yet scared eyes of the very young as they observe what is going on around them, to realise that the tomorrow they will inhabit will be decided today by the actions of those who are the custodians of their future, including you and I. The world in general is heating up with restiveness in different countries located in different corners of the globe.

The whole “Occupy” movement has spread its tentacles to different countries, even some rather unexpected ones. Despite the fact that the genesis of the whole movement is rooted in the same meddling by certain outside influences in the affairs of sovereign nations as a means to an end, it spread like wildfire regardless, due to the genuine frustration of the said people with the status quo. At this point, it seems to be a situation of apprehension mixed with an attitude of wait-and-see as the majority of the citizens watch the events in the country unravel.

•Ejim wrote this piece for TheNEWS magazine.

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