Ogun workers suspend strike after four days
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We stepped out of the airplane into the discombobulation of the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos. The ten-hour flight from Washington DC kept me wide awake with nagging thoughts about Nigeria’s next presidential election. Will Nigeria get it right this time? Will the country ever become home to millions of us shuttling back-and-forth between Lagos and the Western world? Will our prayers be answered by the One who answers by fire? Many more thoughts brewed up in my spirit.
I know my ways around the Lagos airport. But I could still use some assistance in helping to load up our luggage on the cart and push it outside to the parking garage half-a-mile-away from the airport hallway. A few fellas by the baggage carousel dashed at me and my wife; marketing selves as help in time of need. We eventually assigned the help we needed to a young man who said he was from Abia State in the South-East region of Nigeria. He told me his name.
“Welcome to Naija sir,” he said courteously.
Even with bombarding stomach-churning news about Nigeria, I am always happy to be home.
“Yeah; this is home. I’m happy to be home,” I responded.
We grabbed our belongings and headed for the doors. I made a few good comments about the immigration and customs services. Immediately, the young man swung into yakking about Nigerian politics.
He said, “Nigeria will be better than this from next year sir.”
“I pray and hope so” was my response.
He went ahead, “Sir, I can assure you, it will be better than this. That man saying “Emi l’okan” doesn’t know what he’s talking about. It’s our turn.”
I didn’t ask him who he referenced as “our.” But I know the ‘Emi lo kan” line. It has now become a bestseller song of sorts on social media. In this election season, spouses fight each other over who becomes President. And children are daggers drawn with their parents over who is best suited to sit in Aso Rock next year. I have no streak of fire in me discussing politics.
The young man was not pulling for the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu. I had a hunch who he might be pitching for among the candidates. But I had to ask him.
“PITOBI;” he bawled with confidence as his face lit up in radiance drenched in unmistakable hope when he dropped the name of the Presidential candidate of the Labor Party, Peter Obi, in this election cycle.
Nigerians around the world are angry because the government isn’t working for the governed. Health care system is decrepit. Political leadership has failed to fashion out ways to rebuild a failing country endowed with much wealth. The young man was frustrated at a system that has failed his generation. One-third of African hidden treasures are buried in Nigeria. But poverty is a metastasis. Hunger is pervasive. Nigeria’s wealth is in the hands of a few gluttonous people. Life is unliveable for a vast majority of Nigerians. Nigerians with power and authority are intentionally greedy! They kill tomorrow with their actions today, and don’t care a hoot who gets burned in the process.
I hate to burst your bubble a tiny bit as you read this. Many Nigerians aren’t zealots and partisans. You may choose to be an acerbic hater, or an intense lover of either Tinubu or Obi, but the next presidential election will not be about one billionaire folk from Lagos or Anambra that tub-thumpers scream about in adoration. Nigerians are sick and tired. The 2023 general elections will be about that person who can take the country out of the prevalent doldrums and into a glorious future.
While many express hopes about Nigeria’s tomorrow, the facts about everything, from the economy, to security and general quality of life, erode any great expectation. The Muhammadu Buhari regime promised not too long ago that 1 litre of fuel would be N94. Recently, it reneged and now contemplating that the same may sell for N500. His administration reportedly spent N50bn to acquire software to track and monitor all tankers that load fuel all over Nigeria. The country loses $700m daily because of oil theft, and the government men in charge have not been able to put in place a tracker to determine how much oil is produced daily. In the 2022 budget, a whopping sum of N443bn was set up for oil subsidy. In June, the President submitted a supplementary budget that increased the total 2023 budget to N4tn. The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, recently said by the end of 2022, the budget may be revised upward to N6.5tn. If you believe what the minister said, there may be no money for capital projects next year. It seems as if Armageddon is coming! The next general elections will not be about personalities, it will be about Nigeria yesterday, today and into the future.
Every evil befalling Nigeria is designed and executed by Nigerians. We are our own enemies. The Roman philosopher and political theorist, Marcus Cicero, put it more lucidly, “A nation can survive its fools and even the ambitious, but it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city. He infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear.”
Depraved characters, thieves, killers of destinies, and agents of wickedness dumped Nigeria in the pit she is today. To survive these bad times that may likely get worse. Nigeria needs more than a mealy-mouthed politician who will only be looking out for himself and crook cronies. Nigeria needs a candidate who has a sincere concern about the downtrodden and the weak among us. The country needs someone who can unite, not a cuddler of ethnic taradiddle and tribal flapdoodle. We need a candidate with an undeniable track record of accomplishments, and one who knows what it is to run a business. Nigerians deserve a candidate who has mentored boys to men, and girls to influential women of power. The next general elections will not be business as usual where riggers take all. Puerile prognostication will fail. Perverted postulation will fall flat. Real voters with permanent voter cards and the readiness and yearning to vote are largely quiet. They’ve made up their minds who they’ll vote for. They hate public or private arguments with partisan zealots and noise making caterwaul. They’re only waiting for Election Day. Three billionaires are the leading candidates so far. Victory will be handed to one.
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