Lament of the masses -by Halima Idris

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“Look, just look at what is happening again”, cried my colleague as we drove past a busy road. I looked at the right and left side of the road trying to catch a glimpse of what it is he was trying to show me. Noticing my confusion, he said, 'the fuel queue now'. I said oh that, what can we do, we are the masses. He was bitter and obviously agitated as he continued his vituperations.

Imagine the excess crude funds they are always sharing and stealing. Can't they use that money to build more refineries for us if the old ones cannot be repaired? What about our External Reserves? On and on he continued while I listened. When he got tired, I said, well you have made some good suggestions but Nigeria's problems are beyond elementary understanding and solutions.

How can we survive in this harsh business environment! No, we have to close down and move to Ghana, Gambia or Benin Republic. We spend N10 Million on diesel monthly, only for PHCN to bring N7 Million bill for the light we did not consume.

N17 Million on energy alone, add that to other overheads costs and you will understand what i am talking about. How much profit can there be? Where is the market, when every where is full of sub-standard Chinese products. We are mostly running at a loss. This cannot continue, we have to close down. This was a picture painted by a young entrepreneur.

These people should mind their business. What's their own if I have been wearing the same shirt for the past four days. It is the only wash and wear shirt I have. We have not had light in our community for the past four weeks. Is it my fault? He queried. You could see and hear the frustration in his voice.

Wanders they said shall never end. After the avalanche of plane crashes and near fatal crashes, it was only last week that our leaders awarded the contract for complete Radar coverage of the country. Two democratic presidents, hundreds of ministers and advisers, yet nothing was done all these years said Mr. A. What is democratic about the past and present presidents you are talking about, shouted Mr. B. In a democrazy, sorry democracy, the leadership cares about what happened to the populace. This is not the case here. The leaders are only concerned about what goes into their pockets and that of their cronies.

For all they care, we can go to hell. Look at what happened to the $19 Billion aviation funds, it was looted. This nation is in real trouble. Let's examine the bitter case of (dis)honorable Ndudi Elumelu, imagine him playing with our intelligence.

Unnecessarily overheating the polity with all those salacious scandals, using all the media houses to gain cheap publicity, only for him to turn back and do worst than the people he is accusing. Ndudi has soiled the youth of this nation, soiled the Elumelu's (thank God for Tony) and everything he stood for, Concluded Mr. B.

Do you think it is right to appoint a woman as a Chief Executive of a bank? This question was thrown at me. I was flabbergasted but didn't show it. I replied in the affirmative. Then the person said, did you read about all the scandals in Oceanic Bank, I said, yes and all the other banks too. He didn't get the message as he continued; I cannot take my money to a bank that is being managed by a woman. I was angry by then, but didn't want to show how upset I was so, I merely replied, “well it's your money you can take it to wherever you want”. I could not be drawn into an argument like that because I know how the men folk look at us.

Crooks are crooks as long as they are all men, God forbid let there be a woman amongst them then the whole scenario changes. Women are expected to live above board. We may continue to shout Liberalisation, equality, etc to high heavens, the reality of the situation is that a woman will always be looked upon as a woman first before any other thing even if she's Angela Merkel.

As a child in the 1980's,I remember watching Professor Ali Mazrui's documentary film 'Africa: A Triple Heritage'.In the film Mazrui showed a hotel room with a telly but there was no light to watch the telly,a tap without running water. An un tarred road that was barely passable was shown. Then he made the following comment “when developed nations are trying to get to the moon, in Africa we are still trying to get to the villages”. More than twenty years after that comment nothing much has changed.Light, drinking water and roads are still issues we are grappling with.

Agreed there are little developments here and there, but they are no where near being commensurate with the huge amount of resources that has come into this nation as a result of the high proceeds realised from the sale of petroleum products.

Then they talk about Budget Deficit.7 Point Agenda, Rebranding etc.When there was so much money in the system, the masses did not feel the effect, lack of it will definitely not bother them. Deficit or surplus makes no difference because the situation remains the same.

1, 4,7,20 or more agenda's doesn't bother the common man. All he is after is to see change in his life. Let his today be better than his yesterday.Rebranding! Yes we surely are being rebranded as a banana republic where kidnapping is becoming a lucrative business.

To be fair to some of our leaders, some go out there with the real intention of wanting to put in their best to move their fatherland forward. However on getting there things take a dramatic turn. The intricacies, riddles, horse trading, scychopancy, backbites and so many other things combine to change people who ordinarily would have been good leaders.

Like the CBN governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi said”it is no crime to owe, it is the criminalisation of the debt that rankles”. There is certainly no crime in being in a leadership position; it is the abuse of that position that lacerate.

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