By Bayo Oluwasanmi
Last week, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo met with governors at the Presidential Banquet in Abuja. Obviously, the recent three-month ultimatum by northern youths to Igbo to vacate the north and IPOB’s Kanu renewed agitation for Biafra were on his mind. Osinbajo advised the governors to protect lives and properties of all citizens in their respective states, saying “Nigeria is indissoluble.”
My dictionary defines dystopia as “an imaginary place where people are unhappy and usually afraid because they are not treated fairly, an unpleasant future where people are often dehumanized; a nightmare world characterized by human misery, squalor, oppression, disease and overcrowding. Sounds like Nigeria?
Usually, dystopian societies are portrayed on pages of novels like Orwell’s “1984,” Huxley’s “Brave New World,” and in movies like “The Hunger Games,” and “Divergent.” They give us a quick look into distorted societies where justice and freedom are suppressed; where deprivation is a way of life; and lives are dispensable. Where there is no state or local government. Where there are no legislative bodies. There is just a national government or global government, run by a charismatic leader who relies on martial law and control of natural resources to keep things orderly when unpopular decisions are made.
There, the oppressed thirst and fight for basic rights, such as freedom of speech, expression, and association. They also fight for basic necessities of life like food, water, jobs, safety and security. We’re asked to imagine a society where people are pushed to the limits of what they can endure, and often, killed if they can’t. Today, right now, Nigeria represents the most disturbing dystopia narrative of our time and is no work of no fiction. It’s Nigeria. The most tragic place to live on earth where majority of our people battle poverty, violence, prejudice, intimidation, hunger, homelessness, hopelessness, disease, freedom of movement, mass unemployment, insecurity, deprivation of basic essentials of life; poor education, enforced isolation, disregard for human rights. Our people battle them all, everyday.
Women, children, infants, the elderly, those living with disabilities, and the innocent. They battle these injustices everyday because for the past 58 years, they have existed not lived under a corrupt, irresponsible and unresponsive governments. Simply put: a slow death. Unless you’ve lived day in, day out, amidst the suffering siege and the onslaughts, it’s impossible to understand the despair that Nigerians endure. Don’t forget they live on $1 a day.
Nigerian hospitals cannot handle emergency care that our children need. Day after day, our people wait in the hospital not knowing if it will ever be the turn of their children to see the doctor. We’re are treated in hospitals with barely any medical supplies and only rusting instruments. Your shoes stick to the floor of the hospital with blood. Our children are brought up with a leaking sewage system, hunger, disease, no access to treated water and electricity. We live daily with bombardment of armed robbers, kidnappers, rapists, ritual killings, and hired assassins.
We cannot travel any time we like. We’re practically imprisoned in our homes. Nigeria is in a state of trauma. All the poor majority of Nigerians want is what the ruling elites who loot our treasury want. The opportunity to live a normal life with dignity and security, and build a future in which our children can thrive, dream and fulfill their potentials. They must be allowed to do this.
We cannot allow the hellish status quo continue: a daily battle for survival. Remaining silent in the face of this endless injustice makes Nigeria no better than the peanut-crushing crowd in the arena at the “Hunter Games,” oo-ing and aah-ing and shaking their heads at each new trial and new death. Are we going to stand and spectate while the ugly foundations of a modern day dystopia are being laid before our eyes? Or are we going to fix the rot and be compelled to unite?
Mr. Vice-President, to prevent dissolution of Nigeria, the following should be done:
The 1999 Babangida Constitution is antithetical to principles and practice of democracy. It must be replaced by the people’s constitution that will address all the imbalance, flaws, and omissions of a true federalism such as the immunity clause, revenue sharing formula, resource control, local and state police, and so many other areas that conflict with our union.
A referendum should be conducted as soon as possible to allow Nigerians to decide whether they want to remain as one country or go their separate ways.
The jumbo salaries and criminal allowances of legislators should be slashed and to be competitive with what other legislators earn in civilized countries. The illegal and unconstitutional security votes collected by the governors should be scrapped immediately.
The judicial and criminal justice system should be completely overhauled to ensure equity, fairness, speedy resolution of cases because justice delayed is justice denied. It bears repeating that a country without the rule of law will never know peace, progress, or prosperity. Corrupt judges still run the show undeterred in our courts. They should all be fired posthaste. The attorney general and the solicitor general of the federation and CCT justice Danladi Umar should be relieved of their posts without further delay. They’re the greatest impediments to administration of justice in Nigeria. Special corrupt courts should be established by executive power.
Some of the recommended reforms from the National Conference should be implemented now.
It’s a direct invitation for secession when political leaders and legislators bury their heads in the sand like the proverbial ostrich and pretend that all is well with Nigeria and that Nigeria is indissoluble. Yes, Nigeria is detachable without addressing and finding lasting solutions to problems that fuel separatist agitations. Every tomorrow has two handles: the handle of anxiety for doing nothing, and the handle of a peaceful coexistence by finding solutions to issues that divide and capable of dissolving our corporate existence as one nation.
Everything, I mean everything, seems to be breaking loose now. It’s no time for tomfoolery!