BEFORE CORONAVIRUS: ISSUES YET TO BE RESOLVED
Nigerians are notoriously forgetful, or they have very short memory. As they used to tell us, if you leave your bed unkempt and go out in the morning, when you come back in the evening, you will definitely come back to meet the same unkempt bed, since it will be starring you in the face.
They are so many issues which we have been pursuing before this wicked disease called coronavirus came to disrupt them, but it now seems as we have forgotten them, or swept them under the carpet.
Here, we would like to resurrect some of them, or as the civil servants would say, to keep them in view (k.i.v), so that when coronavirus finally departs, or a solution found, we will continue from where we stopped.
Amotekun: This is a South West Nigeria Joint Security outfit that was launched in the wake of increasing insecurity in the country caused by the rampaging Fulani herdsmen who have been making life unbearable and so miserable for the people. They kidnap, rape and kill many people at random, and burn down houses and farmlands.
The launching of Amotekun generated a lot of controversies with the federal government proclaiming it illegal, while the South West people said they would never go back on the outfit. Other geopolitical zones, particularly from the South, equally threw their weight behind Amotekun.
Since the coming of coronavirus, we have not heard much about the security outfit and the consequent plan by other geopolitical zones to launch their own security outfits, or have the Fulani herdsmen stopped disturbing the people?
Restructuring: This equally had generated controversies and evoked a lot of emotions. Many people, including some sociocultural groups like Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Afenifere, believe that Nigeria as presently constituted, is a misnomer and that there was no way any meaningful progress could be made without getting the country restructured to true federalism.
But those who for long have been benefitting from the present system would have none of it. They are strongly opposed to any form of restructuring and want the status quo ante to remain.
Since the coming of coronavirus, we no longer hear anything about restructuring. Even the National Assembly Committee on Constitutional Amendment seems to have stopped work, while those clamouring for local government autonomy have equally stopped talking.
2023 Presidency: Since the advent of coronavirus, we have not been hearing much about which section of the country, or which geopolitical zone, should produce the Nigerian President in 2023. All those who were warming up for the exercise, or who were steadying their legs to learn how to dance to the tune of 2023 music, have gone underground. Perhaps, they have become afraid since the giant killer, called coronavirus, has started with people at the top!
‘Osho-virus’: Where is the loquacious Adams Oshiomole, the National Chairman of APC, who has caused much ripples in that political party? How about his fight with Godwin Obaseki, his governor, who is seeking a second term of office? We have not been hearing from them since the advent of coronavirus.
Has Oshiomole forgiven his estranged godson, Obaseki, of his “atrocities” and will therefore allow him to go for second term? What about those seeking for the head of Oshiomole, have they also forgiven the man, or will they resume the fight at the end of coronavirus?
Social Media Bill: We thought that by now the Social Medial Bill, aimed at caging Nigerians and deny them freedom of speech, would have been passed by the National Assembly and assented to by the President, judging by the speed with which they were pursuing it before the coming of coronavirus. But now everything seems to be in limbo, with both the legislators and members of the executive arm of government hiding, so that they would not be infected with coronavirus.
Abandoned Infrastructure: The sudden outbreak of coronavirus has proved sufficient excuse by both the Federal and state governments for abandoning or turning their backs on decayed infrastructural facilities across the country.
The drop in oil revenue, the mainstay of the nation’s economy, and provision of palliatives to those affected by coronavirus pandemic, have become the reasons why our roads are not to be fixed, why the Akanu Ibiam International Airport and Second Niger Bridge are to be abandoned, why portable water are not to be provided, why healthcare facilities will not be put in place, why pensioners would not be paid their pensions and gratuities, etc.
When the day of reckoning comes, or when coronavirus would have made its exit, would put everything in the scale to see how far we have gone, how tenable are all these our excuses. In different countriess of the world where coronavirus has equally reared its ugly head, we have not heard that the activities of government have been grounded because of the pandemic. But Nigeria’s case may be different!
Dr. Dons Eze.
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