By Zacharys Anger Gundu
There is disorderliness, impunity and madness in the land. Some saw this coming. Others are seeing it now. A tiny tribe of Nigerians is yet to see it and appreciate the import of what is hitting us as a country. In Nigeria today, it’s difficult to see an orderly system whether you are in traffic, on a queue for a service or in the Church waiting for a miracle. Impunity is also everywhere. The Fulani herdsman shepherds his flock indiscriminately across borders and farmlands killing and destroying. Government systems at all levels are not spared. There is hardly any accountability and those at the helm of affairs are emboldened to the point of acting out scripts that are oblivious of consequences. In this season of madness, impunity and disorderliness, money moves easily from official accounts to private accounts, public servants close from work going home with bags of money after successful conspiracies with contractors and consultants most of whom have no regard for their professional reputations.
Much of the built environment in Abuja and the State capitals are directly traceable to public servants and politicians. The elegant houses doting Abuja and the state capitals are not built with mortgages or loans. They are built with the proceeds of deals and white-collar crimes. No one is also paying taxes on these houses. There is also no property verification number so we are even not able to know who has built what. Government institutions are a law unto themselves. Some are unaccountable and are a government within a government. In the past several years, how has the NNPC been run? Who can verify what comes in and out of their accounts? How accountable has the institution been to Nigerians?
What about law enforcement agencies? The entire End SARS conversation is about the impunity of law enforcement in Nigeria. The Police have been killing at will. Same for the military. Extra judicial killings are sad not only because life is sacrosanct, they are sad because, citizens falling at the hands of law enforcers in such circumstances have been betrayed by the state. Politicians and others in the temple of justice have twisted their systems to skew justice in favour of the highest bidder. Each system is skewed and each person in his little corner and within his sub system is doing what he can to benefit at the expense of the system and the people.
There is confusion and more in the land. Talk of madness and take a look at what leadership is doing to our country. It is clear that we are in the direction of self-destruction in the country. Can a people destroy their institution and still survive? We have destroyed and ruined Nigeria Airways. ‘Little’ Ghana, Rwanda and Ethiopia are still flying. We have destroyed our Railways even though everyone knows that a rail system is basic to an industrial take off in a country the size of Nigeria. We have destroyed and ruined our public primary schools. The famous Nigerian primary school classroom is under trees. Our public secondary schools and our public universities have also been destroyed and ruined. The famous Nigerian secondary school is the miracle centre where literally anyone with sufficient money can go in and pick up a certificate of his desire. Our universities have their famous laboratories where kerosene stoves take the place of Bunsen burners. Our public universities are unique today to a point that we are manning them with ‘professors’ and support staff who have no business with the university idea and have elected to drop their brains at university gates upon entry just to reclaim them after their retirements. Every single federal university has been cleverly captured by elements in its local environment. It’s difficult if not impossible now to have a Vice Chancellor at the University of Ibadan who is not a local Yoruba hegemon. The same can be said of the University of Lagos and University of Ife. The Vice Chancellor at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, University of Sokoto, Maiduguri, Bayero Kano, Yola, Calabar, Port Harcourt, Nsukka, Makurdi or Benin must also be a local hegemon serving some myopic interest. Local hegemons are in firm control of our universities. There is careless talk of ‘total control’ and the damage to the system is monumental. The local champions packaged to represent their areas as Vice Chancellors are on the loose. Their institutions are awarding research degrees even though they are not doing any research. They are ‘research universities’ because they are milling research degrees. Their students still use the bushes around their institutions to defecate. Their teachers in the name of unionism are ready to disrupt classes for months on end. Talk of research universities.
We have destroyed and ruined our public utilities. Water. Light and Housing. Nigeria is the only country in the world where the bucket finds a place in the bathroom of a three star hotel. There are cities and towns built by river channels like Makurdi with no running water. The country is the biggest market for generators. Public electricity is epileptic. Public housing is not properly planned and is sub standard. We have destroyed our public civil service including the judiciary- yes our judiciary at all levels. With a bag of money and the ‘right’ political connections, one can desecrate the temple of justice and this has been done time and time again.
Up to now, no one knows in our country how much crude we produce and sell at the international market. Even though everyone agrees that our strength as a country lies in our being one of the biggest markets in the world, we are more of a dump for the industries of the world than a responsible market capable of insisting on value for what it purchases from others. More than sixty years down the road, we are still net importers of raw materials feeding into the industries of the world. We are ‘making’ money from selling crude whose quantity we have no idea of. We sell raw cocoa and buy European chocolate in return. Today we have allowed an illegal run for gold deposits in the country masterminded by foreigners and ‘useful idiots’ in our midst.
How can a country carrying an elephant on its head still be irresponsible and mad enough to be searching for mollusks with its toes? How can we be pissing on each other’s heads and clapping that it is raining? Who are we deceiving?
The looting, arson, vandalism and killings in our country today are notices that we have turned a mad curve. What happened at the Lekki Toll Plaza is signature response. It shows the youths have finally caught up with the disorderliness of their fathers, leaders and teachers. The youths have also caught up with the acts of impunity by their fathers, leaders and teachers. They have caught up with the madness of their teachers, fathers and leaders. Who will be safe in this country again? There is no way we can explain the widespread looting of warehouses and stores across the country except that our leaders have also looted the public and institutional treasuries of the country without restraint. How can we explain the torching of police stations, palaces and personal premises except that the sanctity of the police station had been violated by abuse and neglect, the sacred nature of the palaces of traditional rulers have been violated by governments over and over through arbitrary and strong arm moves. How can we explain the jailbreaks and killings of police officers whose only crime is that they were on duty at the wrong place and wrong time? Did the youths forcefully open the prison gates because many of our leaders living large and free today have done more damage to our land than the hapless prisoners in jail today?
How could our youths be this disorderly? How could they act with such impunity and madness except if they were borrowing a leaf from our leaders, our teachers and parents? There is disorder, impunity and madness in the land because there are no consequences for infractions in the country. In orderly climes, those who are disorderly suffer severe consequences that deter them from further acts of disorderliness. What they suffer helps to deter others from similar infractions. It’s clear that the actions of our parents, teachers and leaders have emboldened the youths. They are convinced that disorderliness, impunity and madness pay. The acts can get you ahead of the other person. They know that if you are sufficiently disorderly, if you can be audacious in impunity and truly mad in your actions, you can do anything, just anything- including wining an election, getting that appointment, killing the one on your way and destroying that institution. It’s all about the absence of consequences. This is why Boko Haram is waxing stronger in Nigeria today. This is one reason why the Fulani herdsman will ravage the Nigerian countryside today with death and blunder crossing international borders and grazing on the streets of cities. All these and more happen when there are no consequences.