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Olu Falae: Leaders Regard Citizens Accompanying Pains As Enrichment

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Chief Olu Falae is one time Secretary to the Federal Government and also the mutual presidential candidate of the All People's Party, APP, and, the Alliance for Democracy, AD in 1999. He, perchance, does not see Nigeria as that prison in the eyes of one Dwight D. Eisenhower, when he said in a recent interview with a national paper that Nigeria is being run like a big prison.

Nigeria is indeed not run like the type of prison which Eisenhower says that if you want total security, go to prison. There you're fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking is freedom. Rather, Nigeria is being run like that big prison in the eyes of Winston Churchill, which is, nothing can be more abhorrent to democracy than to imprison a person or keep him in prison because he is unpopular. This is really the test of civilization!

Without-a-doubt, governments at all levels in Nigeria have imprisoned us the unpopular and unfortunate with their unrealistic policies, with or without them knowing it. Just a fortnight, over twenty job seekers at the Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, lost their lives in a blatantly mismanaged interview across the country, where about 520, 000 applied for just 4,556 job openings.

Don't tell anybody that the about 520,000 applicants for the 4,556 job openings at the NIS, where each applied with N1, 000, were not the much amplified 'godly' Muslims and Christians. One is very sure that their Imams and Pastors must had told them of how employed they were already, before going for the overcrowded and mismanaged crowd interview, which turned out a merchant of death.

If the interview of the job seekers had not turned gory, the officials at the NIS in whose 'bank accounts' the job seekers money entered, would have gone to Mosque or Church to thank Jehovah or Allah of how faithful He is. Just times N1, 000 by 520, 000 and be shocked how people become dishonestly rich in this country and would say, 'God is faithful.'

It's because of this type of seemingly fraud that people make sure they go to university in this country. Even the applicants were merely going to NIS for the salary. Just bogus! And Nigeria continues to be a prison sentence to us, the hapless citizens.

This is a country that was blessed by providence, but cursed by man and his greedy escapades. The International Oil Companies, IOCs, has just informed that there is high rise in costs and these are causing the development of the country a setback. Yet, there have never been on-ground remedies to similar warning in the past, except those we have read in the newspapers, which died as soon as they were published.

Not even those assigned with the management of Nigeria's mainstream economy are telling anybody the truth. The incessant warning by experts in geology and oil related matters that Nigeria may run out of oil in about 20 years time and may be erased from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), has not been a cause of concern to the authorities.

As usual, what Nigerians got was petroleum geologists giving Nigerians hope that the country has 30 billion barrel oil reserves as at 2010. The permutation of experts in 2010 that Nigeria may be running out of oil is invariably what is playing out now. The Managing Director of one of the IOCs, Shell Petroleum Development Company, Mr. Mutiu Sunmonu speaking on March 19, 2014 at the Nigerian Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition, said that matters of cost ineffectiveness are competently killing the oil industry.

Where is not porous in Nigeria? We could remember that the Federal Government in 2000 boasted of meeting the 2015 Millennium Development Goal in education, whereas the UNESCO said recently that it would take more than 70 years for all children to have access to at least, primary education.

UNESCO, however, tailored the number of children who did not even get basic schooling in Nigeria to 10.5 million. Yet, somebody would be saying that the youths are the leaders of tomorrow. Please, what is worse than prison like when one has no basic schooling in the contemporary times? The mentality with which the leaders pummel the future of the children to the ground is the same as wondered by Falea, why any sensible Nigerian would prefer to go to the court to stop the national conference situated to address the woes of the country.

Nigeria, like the substandard prisons across the country, has made a lot of us to lose our sense of identity and well-being. Many have broken down and perhaps died, because there is nothing to hold hand on for today and, the future is so bleak.

Nigeria has become a special pain to majority of the population. Imagine the apparent recklessness in spending by the suspended Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanuni Lamido Sanusi and the billions of dollars fingered that have got wings at the brim of the country's oil sector and other places of the country like the Police pension fund and other related matters of financial improprieties ongoing in the country.

Nigerians are like the slaves their rapacious European masters and lethargic mistresses played ball with in the hands of our slothful leaders. But while the slaves suffered humiliations that were not even good for beasts, at least, they had works to do in the tortuous plantations; but Nigerian leaders do not have any special place in their hearts that jobs can be created for the swarming jobless Nigerians.

In Nigeria, human tears are the rhythm of the thankfulness majority of the people give per second, each day. While the Constitution was supposed to govern all, there have been formulations of views that do not work in tandem with the Constitution in the country by the leaders. There is a new theory of selfish internationalism that the Nigerian leaders practice in the cause of their duty.

With 400 distinct ethnic nationalities that speak different languages in the penitentiary called Nigeria, with 774 Local Government Areas and a population of about 160 million people, there was supposed to be considerate policies that have-to know what we suffer. We have waited patiently for Nigerian leaders to convert us to a better people, but to no avail. They forgot that they are not happy and do not enjoy any thankfulness, since the people are miserable. Maybe, they are!

They cannot always be overestimating their own achievements without equating that with what the masses are suffering. The leaders hardly know that mankind ought to live together in peace and help each other, for without it no human camaraderie and that people should stop insisting on gluttonous behaviours.

In the 'Letters and Papers from Prison', Dietrich Bonhoeffer warns mankind that if we look more closely, we see that any violent display of power, whether political or religious, produces an outburst of folly in a large part of mankind; indeed, this seems actually to be a psychological and sociological law: the power of some needs the folly of others.

Bonhoeffer continues, saying that it is not that certain human capacities, intellectual capacities for instance, become stunted or destroyed, but rather that the upsurge of power makes such an overwhelming impression that men are deprived of their independent judgment, and give up trying to assess the new state of affairs for themselves.

Although, Chief Falae might not be a saint and not far from one of those who caused the jail we are suffering in today, having served the government in the past, but his sense of saying that the country is being run like a prison, should be applauded.

The danger of this 'detention-center' is that it is located in the poor people's houses. And until we know, like Bonhoeffer admonishes, that those sentimental radio hits, with their artificial naiveté and empty crudities are the pitiful remains and the maximum that people will tolerate by way of mental effort, it's a ghastly desolation and impoverishment, we will not make headway in this country.

It is sad that instead of us to be very glad in this country owing to the abundance of natural and human resources we have at disposal, the leaders continue to affect us deeply in negative ways, and regard our accompanying pains as enrichment.

Odimegwu Onwumere, a Poet/Writer, writes from Rivers State.

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Articles by Odimegwu Onwumere