NIGERIA, BIKO WHAT IS HAPPY ABOUT THE NEW YEAR?

You made it to 2019, yeah? Thank God – but do not kid yourself because 2018 was not altogether a gChad 5FB_IMG_1534501867222ood one for our country, particularly when we remember (how can we even forget) that hundreds of defenceless Nigerians (especially in Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Benue, Plateau and Zamfara states) were killed – and insecurity took a new low as terrorists in the Northeast are now bold and are attacking military bases and camps, and killing our dear soldiers. In 2018, the life of ordinary Nigerians became cheaper and worthless. Nigerians, biko what is happy about the new year?

It was also in 2018 that the report card of many years of bad leadership and corruption in our country became evident as Nigeria became the capital of world poverty with 87.9 million of our people now living in poverty – many of whom are actually living below the poverty line, in absolute and abject poverty. These 87 million Nigerians are more than the combined population of over 20 existing countries in the world. The implication of this is that in 2018, poverty and hunger were institutionalized in our country – and partly explains why insecurity now reigns. Nigerians, biko what is happy about the new year?

For many of us in Nigeria, the only thing “happy” about the new year is that we are alive – but been alive is not enough. What is life when you are constantly hungry, unsafe, frustrated and deprived? What is life when you know that your leaders; people who are actually your employees, constantly steal from the states and national treasuries? What is life when death is what you pray for because hospitals do not have the equipment to treat you – whereas you see your leaders been flown abroad for the treatment of cartaarh. What is life when as a student, you cannot plan your life because government won’t release funds into the universities and polytechnics because their own children are in European and American universities? Nigerians, biko what is happy about the new year?

Being an ordinary Nigerian is not a happy thing – if we quit been (too) religious as we won’t to do. Religiosity is part of our problem in this country – because it has taught us to only pray (and complain) to God/Allah instead of furiously demanding accountability and justice from leaders. Didn’t the Holy Bible admonishes us that “faith without works is dead”? And people, “works” here means standing up to the injustice that has constantly bedeviled us as ordinary men and women in this country – for it is injustice that leads to nepotism, corruption, prebendalism, poverty, etc. Being an ordinary Nigerian is not a happy thing.

Nigerians, biko what is happy about the new year?

© Chad Otsapa 2019

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