Being a Nigerian comes with so many intrigues and implications attached, these days to many they believe that it is more of a curse than a blessing to be associated with being a Nigerian citizen, well I cannot really fathom the reasons behind those convictions which I believe are rather personal but nonetheless I ask myself if it is really a curse to be a Nigeria or if it is a blessing. Well why I choose to think of it as a blessing, there are many factors which I think might or will definitely give many a second thought or a deep sigh before answering this question. Sometimes on the pages of the social media, Twitter particularly there was a trend whereby Nigerian Twitter users were made to pick between Nigeria and Canada, at first it was hilarious based on the indices and metrics used by Nigerians to compare between the two nations. A larger chunk of those who were on this trend picked Canada over Nigerian, some even went as far to saying that they will trade their Nigerian citizen over money. This as I said might be hilarious but then on a deeper scrutiny or reflection what do we or can we claim to have benefitted as individuals from our years of struggle as a nation. Except from the online battle for who cook the best Jollof rice which we always win over our Ghanaian brothers, or the occasional flick by the Super Eagles of Nigeria, what we can point to as a legacy which we have built over the years that can last a lifetime.
While we can continue to count our tears drop and pains at being a Nigeria, we must look back and take a cheeky look at the various factors that has brought us to this point in the course of our national history. Policy making within the Nigerian system has been a major contributing factor to our inability as a nation to advance our country despite its numerous resources. Maybe if our political class has gotten their acts right, maybe we will truly have a lot to be grateful and proud of as a Nigerian.
Talk about job opportunities in Nigeria, talk about infrastructural and industrial development, talk about security, and the blind can attest to the fact that we are lagging behind. The Nigerian political class who were elected and were given the mandate to rule the affairs of the nation continue to make policies that leaves the common man no hope for tomorrow. From economic policies that are nothing but polices that offers no hope of growth and expansion and are tailored to kill both the small and medium scale enterprise to many other eyesores which could have been avoided if we get our policies right and are tailored to meet the needs and interest of the people, the masses, the ones that they swore to protect at all times.
The Punch newspaper on the 31st of July 2020 bore a rather sad headline, “Widows, IDP knock FG over amnesty for Boko Haram fighters” and I will proceed to share some of the extracts from the interview with these widows and internally displaced persons, “I have not received any assistance. I am left with four children. The kind of life we live now is some days we eat, other days we have nothing to eat and then you [government] say Boko Haram Fighters have repented and you take care of them. I have spent six years in the IDP camp”.
Another victim who lost four brothers to Boko Haram attacks said, “They drove us out of our homes. Are these the people we are going to live with as if nothing happened?”
“I am sad government is releasing insurgents who killed my husband, abducted my daughter” -Widow
It will be recalled that a week ago, the federal government said that 603 repentant Boko Haram insurgents, who had completed the de-radicalization programme would be re-integrated into communities.
These are words from hurting victims of the Boko Haram attacks who have been left by the government to their own while they face the architect of their woes, the ones who made their lives miserable, and the one who took from them what no one could ever replace. Some are living with maimed bodies, scarred lives with emotional burden and psychological imbalance, some lost their wives, husband, sons or daughters to the terrible and devilish works and activities of the Boko Haram sect. Imagine while the government who is meant to alleviate your suffering and ensure that you find hope and solace neglects you to embrace those who caused or were the reason behind your predicament, what will the response be when asked if you are proud to be associated with them or the country they claim to rule over.
The ills of the Boko Hram sect is not a new piece of news in Nigeria, for a sect, a terrorist one at that which was created or founded in the year 2002 on the basic of religious extremism who has vowed to destroy everything the nation stand for, bringing down the infidels, that is anyone who is not within their ranks down to death all because they are against westernization and education, but will rather prefer the Islamic education or the adoption of the sharia law over the constitution of the nation despite the fact that the nation Nigeria is a pluralistic one which has adopted a secularism approach in the light of its multi-faith structure.
How do we explain this to the future generations or the children of the victims of these deadly sect that the government or so called leaders who vowed to keep and protect them and ensure their security has decided to neglect them while they rots in despair and hopelessness but have decided to embrace the ones who caused them so much agony, and they never stopped at that, they continued by not only embracing them but to tend them all in the name of rehabilitating them with the wealth of the nations, one which the deadly members of this sect swore to destroy. Putting more salt to their wounds the government made them live with these killers.
At this point we must ask ourselves if we elected robots who are devoid of the human feelings and emotions; even if they do not have any conscience then we must ask what the essence of the constitution which advocates justice is.
This is another sorry case of policy making not only gone wrong buy rogue, this is nothing but a policy which will inevitably set a bad precedent for our legal cum judicial structure. An offender must be made to face the wrath of the law which they have acted against. It is high time we take our lives and the issues of this nation at heart with all sincerity and honesty. With power come great responsibilities, if we fail to act right as a nation, then the future for the coming one is an endangered one.
The youths are the future of the nation Nigeria, and if the average Nigerian youth will have a second thought on his allegiance to the country Nigeria, then we must retrace our steps, embrace the need for a re-structuring, one that will give us the much needed atmosphere to make the right policies and not ones that will bring nothing but tears or reasons to question our citizenship.
By Marcus Amudipe