A MISSED OPPORTUNITY? - Lauretta Onochie

Nigeria has been seething. This is no more news. A lot has been happening and still continues to happen. The elasticity of the patience of Nigerians has been stretched beyond those of any known people on planet earth. Yes corruption and all sorts of evil have made Nigeria their abode. None of these happenings has brought joy nor reprieve from the sufferings of Nigerians in recent times. We just sit tight and take it all in our strides. We moan a little bit and then we move on to the next unwholesome news.

What is wrong with us? What sort of fabric are we cut from? "What is wrong with us?", I ask again. No one can fathom what is wrong with Nigerians. The world keep wondering about us and we keep amazing them with our docility.

We have gone through the fuel subsidy scam to its investigation, to the concerted effort by the Jonathan administration to discredit and kill the fuel subsidy scam report, using monarchs, government officials and PDP leaders. Nigerians reacted to the scam but went to sleep when nothing, till date, came out of the Fuel subsidy Scam Report. Mrs Diezani Madueke, Femi Otedola, Lawan Farouk, etc, are still free people, raping us freely. All the 61 recommendations of the report have been consigned to the bin. What is wrong with us?

We have gone from the ridiculous to the outrageous. We have seen Femi Otedola and Lawan Farouk play a game of hide and seek with our money. We have seen a court bar the government from acting on the fuel subsidy scam report and we have endured the then Attorney General, Mohammed Adoke Bello,  say that the indicted fuel marketers will not be prosecuted. We curled up and went home. What is wrong with us?

We have witnessed The Nuhu Ribadu-led Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force which indicted Pres Jonathan and NNPC in a huge scandalous scam. We endured another attempt to discredit this report and till date, nothing has come out of it. What is wrong with us?

We have endured the clean slate given to some of our most notorious criminals in high places. EFCC discharged and acquitted Peter odili. Bode George went home a fresh man. Diepreye Alamesieyegha is now set to storm the National House of Assembly as a senator of the federal republic of Nigeria in spite of being wanted for money laundry charges in the United Kingdom and elsewhere.

Who can forget the pension fund scams that took away the only means of livelihood for some of our senior citizens. And then there was Mrs Stella Oduah's scandalous purchase of dubiously inflated armoured vehicle for her use in a nation that is not at war. We are still not able to trace the whereabouts of the unaccounted $20b, 1.7t Naira etc

How have we endured the senseless abduction of our young girls into sex slavery and the massacre of our school children in the North East of Nigeria.... Nobody knows for sure how many people have been killed  since the Boko haram insurgent. No one knows how many of the dead people are truly Boko haram and how many are innocent Nigerians. No one knows how many soldiers have been sent to their untimely deaths. We have not seen grieving families of these soldiers. We have not seen any national burial ceremonies for these soldiers. When soldiers die in the line of duty in other nations, they are not smuggled into some unmarked graves, they are mourned by the whole nation for whose cause they died. Are they all unknown soldiers? Yet we endure!

There is no nation on earth where people wake up to news, not fiction, real news of the corrupt practices of their leaders the way it happens in our nation and we do nothing about it. We have become the butt of jokes around the world. Come on now, fellow Nigerians, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, used us Nigerians and our corruption to entertain his guests at his 90th birthday! What is wrong with us?

It took a lot of courage for Nigerians to learn to hold their leaders to account. Its a great feeling for us to be able to do that having been raised as children to idolise our elders and leaders. The social media has played such a tremendous role in enabling and empowering Nigerians to speak up against the ills in our nation. Now that we can all do it, we have built a home there and are very comfortable. We are very happy to engage Reno Omokri with our superior fireworks, and even put him to ridicule when he engages in sordid propaganda. We are delighted to take Reuben Abati to task and shame him by throwing in his face, all he wrote against this government when he was a normal Nigerian. We are happy to laugh at those in government who show moronic tendencies like the Minister for Interior Ministry, Abba Boro. We are ecstatic when president Jonathan is caught in a web of idiosyncrasies occasioned by the dictates of "liquid content only".

But we can do more. The Nigerian youth; the unemployed;  the ones who suffer in silence; the ones who were taken for a ride by the Nigerian Immigration Services NIS; the ones who were lured to stadia across the nation for jobs that had already been given to those who are close to those who advertised the jobs. These young Nigerians missed the opportunity to teach our leaders a lesson. Why did they not head for Aso Rock and the other government houses in the towns where they had converged? This was a missed opportunity. I do not know if our young people will ever have another opportunity where they will gather in such huge numbers.

It was a sad day for our nation with at least twelve people dead and scores in hospitals with various degrees of injuries. But the saddest part is that the Nigeria youth saw an opportunity and missed it. But there again, how can a hungry man think rationally about opportunities? Nigeria is in trouble.

Follow me on Twitter @Laurestar


  1. Hmmm! Me, I'm enerally tired of Nigeria. I'm putting my last effort in it, and if after 2015, this rubbish continues, I will bear arms!


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