Conversation Nigeriana (1)

Hope O’Rukevbe Eghagha

By Hope O’Rukevbe Eghagha

Emeka: I’m fed up with just everything in the country! No light. No governance. No leadership.No equity. No justice. No security. No fairness! No this, no that! Phew! I regret being born here and I think I should migrate to America now that Donald Trump has been booted out of the White House! Canada is waiting with open arms too!

Obukohwo: Hehehehehehe! Migration is not easy these days even without HRM Donald Trump the White Supremacist. Only God is available here in our country now. God! God! God! By the way business and life too are still available!

Aboki: Life? Is there life in this country? If there is life, it is too cheap. I can’t count how many people I know who have been slaughtered by Boko Haram or kidnapped or assaulted by bandits! Too many have been sent to paradise even when they were not ready!

Obukohwo: If they are in paradise, why should anyone complain? Its better to go to paradise than remain in tis hole, especially we people of the Niger Delta who have been recolonized. Except we are not sure the dead men and women are really in paradise!

Kalio: Even you Aboki? Complaining too about Nigeria? Come on! You guys are having a ball with power. This is interesting. We in the south are angry with the northerners who are ravaging our bushes, killing people, and destroying crops!

Aboki: This is the mistake you guys make about the challenges in the country. You think that we are happy in the north and that all northerners support the charade of governance in Abuja. My brother, insecurity is worse in the north. Anger against the government is higher in the north than in the south, believe me. The power elite in the north may be happy. Not so the ordinary people for whom hunger and uncertainty have become too familiar.Maiduguri and its environs are under siege. Zamfara and Katsina states are constantly under attacks. Katsina the president’s home state is unsafe. What about Kaduna? The latest is that a university in Kaduna was attacked, a security man killed, and undergraduates kidnapped. They have moved away from kidnapping secondary school students to abducting undergraduates. 

Emeka: I think it’s because the president comes from the north and has appointed mainly northerners to key positions in the country. So, there is a deep anti-north sentiment in the country!

Aboki: It is unfortunate. Most of those appointed to high office look after themselves. The level of poverty in my side of the country is scary. And the people are waking up now. As things stand, most of those appointees cannot visit their villages and hometowns! Victims of banditry are Christians and Muslims. Indeed, we need to publish the names of all victims of BokoHaram attacks. We need to have a figure.

Kalio: Figure of the number dead? Government is more interested in the number of cows! May God save us, save us from ourselves, save us from our rulers, and save us from official nepotism. 

Tunde: God doesn’t take us seriously anymore. He has given up on us because of our foolish ways. So, calling God! God! God! is in vain! Heaven helps those who help themselves!

Emeka: As for business, look at the climate. Inflation and a horrible exchange rate. The people don’t have money to buy things. The businessman is complaining, the seller is complaining, and the buyer is complaining too!Everything is jagajaga!

Obukohwo: I thank God still. We are better than Zimbabwe, Venezuela, or Lebanon! It could have been worse! We still get food items to buy. We still manage to import stuff. Somehow, we are coasting along. Out of the jagajaga, something good will come out when we get to rock bottom!

Aboki: For how long? How long shall we just depend on the elements to smile at us without our rulers doing anything concrete? Islam does not support jagajaga government. Is Saudi Arabia jagajaga? Or Iran? Indonesia?

Kalio: That is the big question. It’s the ‘big three’ ethnic groups that have got us into this mess. You believe the national patrimony is yours and initiate policies to favour your region. Now everyone is suffering!

Emeka: We the Igbo may be among the so-called ‘big three’ in terms of population, in the power equation, we are nowhere. The powers-that-be are bent on preventing an Igbo man from becoming president. It is unfair, antithetical to the ideals and practice of federalism. Nobody should be prevented from aspiring to the presidency on account of their ethnic background.

Aboki: In principle, I support the view that rotation should now favour the Igbo. But let me warn you in advance: it is no guarantee to development. As the people of the northern part of the country! Indeed, it could become an albatross. If an Igbo man as president tries to restructure the country, he could be accused of continuing the struggle for Biafra! So justice and fairness on that part of whoever becomes president is more important.

Kalio: I agree with Aboki. What did, how did the Jonathan presidency favour the Izon people or the South-south? Nothing. We gained nothing. I wish Jonathan had pushed ahead with the recommendations of the National Confab!

Emeka: Justice? Ok. Let an Igbo man be president first. Then you can start to talk about other yardsticks. Please, the tension in the south east is frightening.

Obukohwo: The tension in the whole country is frightening. We do not know what the next day could bring. Too many brigands spring up everyday around the country. Too many acts of impunity. The federal government is losing control.

Tunde: The federal government is sabotaging itself. I wonder what a character like Isa Pantami is still doing in the cabinet. Ive always believed that there are fifth columnists within the government who undermine the efforts of Mr. President. Something must be done.

Aboki: But the man says he has changed or dropped his extreme views on non-Muslims! Not that I believe him though. He should have enough gumption to own up to his past and resign. His days and actions are already tainted. This is my worry with some of my Muslim brothers. They make provocative statements to curry favour from some Islamic groups.

Emeka: It is good to talk. In beer parlour discussions, people tar the rest with one brush. We must return to this idea of publishing the names of victims. It will give us a number, add humanity to the colossal losses and make us review the situation.

Obukohwo: Exactly, let us meet again and continue the dialogue. I know that if there is a conflagration, the elite in the north and the south would jump into airplanes and abandon us all here.

Tunde: Yes, the ordinary people in the north and south should come together and tell the current rulers that ‘enough I enough!

All: Yes!

Aboki: It’s the way to go!

Professor Eghagha can be reached on 08023220393 and