By Bayo Oluwasanmi
My Dear Friend:
My sincere apology for ending abruptly our last telephone conversation. I hurriedly hung up because the State Secret Police were eavesdropping.
We live in interesting times. Country differs from country. Some are characterized by predictable march toward greater freedom and prosperity. Yet, some remain stubbornly excluded from global advancement and civilization. My country is in the latter group.
Here in my country, problems are so dire and so abysmal. Three out of four people subsist on less than $1 a day. We labour under the legacy of corruption, economic backwardness, brutal leadership, unforgiving docile and ignorant citizens. We are perpetually doomed to instability because of its artificiality as a nation. A nation pasted together with dozens of warring ethnicities and nation states.
My friend, have you seen misery face-to-face before? I invite you to visit my country and experience misery first hand. The misery can be traced to corrupt and oppressive leaders, apathetic, docile, coward, and irresponsible citizens. We are subjected to a psychotic government that actively sponsors or openly supports ethnic and religious enmities. Our leaders feed of oil profits, getting richer, while the people become poorer. We are plagued by every ill of our times: greed, ethnic tension, violence, poverty, disease, ignorance, and illiteracy. My country is a violent incubator of oppression.
Even before COVID-19, we have been pulverized by excruciating recession, grisly unemployment,
wrenching policies, and collapsing wages. Hunger, poverty, fear, and unspeakable evils on massive scale are so abundant that they have become the county’s national emblem. Everywhere is filthy, overcrowded. Sick people everywhere with untreated assorted ailments live in extraordinary squalor. Here, that’s the rule rather than the exception.
My good friend, do you know I live in a country without justice? Yes, justice is for the highest bidder. Our justice system is slower than the snail. Do you know citizens are not hired for their abilities, but for their family backgrounds, political connections, and ethnic identities? Can you believe we don’t have a government? No police force. No army. No social structure. No political structure. No civil structure. Yet, my country is recognised as an independent nation by the rest of the world.
As you will expect, there’s nothing like law and order in this completely fucked up, completely conflict-ridden country. It’s a bedlam. Everybody is permanently on survival mode! People scratch by. They live hand-to-mouth existence. There’s not much begging because there’s nobody to beg from. People live wherever they can. Some live in abandoned buildings. Others in uncompleted ones. Of course, the country is basically been left to rot.
There are no traffic lights. No rubbish collection. It’s one of the dirtiest places on earth. No running water. No electricity. No roads. There’s nothing at all. I’m not making things up. It’s no exaggeration either. The country is completely screwed up. It’s a destroyed nation. People die on streets like lizards, and there’s no health service to pick them up. The risk of falling sick is ever present. And the chances of cheap death torments us everyday.
Believe it or not, everywhere you go in the country, there are signs of a government increasingly fearful of its citizens. People are not allowed to air their views. Freedom of any sort is curtailed. People are arrested and jailed for exercising their constitutional rights. The government is determined to starve the people into submission because food has become so rare as honest economist statistics. The government responded to food shortages with propaganda campaign on the dangers of overeating. This is how we are governed in this part of the world.
My friend, desperation and misery dull any sense of optimism here. There was once a country of refuge and peace. A country where people could feed their family. A country where the sick could receive treatment. A country where people could find jobs. A country where people could find housing. A country where progress is possible and where you could realize your ambition. A county where peace reigns. But all that has changed. Today, the country that was once a paradise has turned into an inferno. But that paradise has been lost. It’s now the world’s largest cemetery for the living.
Everyone here keeps asking one another: What happened to us? When did we become the inferno that we have turned into today? There are more questions than answers.
Well my friend, enough said. We are on a journey into hell — on earth. Write soon.
Joy and Blessings!