Article Written by Victor Ikhatalor
I saw a video on February 5th 2023 that jolted me. It was a moving video of a man, a naked man in a banking office in Nigeria. I have seen numerous videos of Nigerians distressed in these times, I could add mine too, but this man’s distress, compelled by forces outside of his power to strip him of all human dignity was riveting and startling for I have seen it before.
It is of historical genre. It is the inadvertent, reactive act of an ordinary citizen’s resistance against oppression. It is of the kind, in its poignant, wretched appeal that ignites a spark and moves other ordinary citizens. Empires, and yes governments have been engulfed by such acts and across mother Nigeria by the minute, such acts are being replicated.
Nigerian kleptocratic misleaders, a subsisting plague on mother Nigeria, have left footprints of suffering in their wake, but none, no matter how rudderless, have ever bumbled into the uncharted waters of threatening the uniquely delicate balance of their self-preservative existential relationship with Nigerians.
Uniquely, the Nigerian, high or low, has over time, ignoring the fundamental societal social contract, validating the very existence of government, taken upon him/her the mantle of government. It is suo motu for the Nigerian to be largely or wholly responsible for the personal and dependent’s provision of healthcare, education, electricity, water, shelter, local roads etc.
No class of ruling elite, constituting government, has at anytime in Nigeria’s chequered history, ever done anything to lift this unique mantle of the Nigerian’s shoulder. Indeed, they have thrived in decadent conspicuous consumption and glory in the unassuming nature of the Nigerian in this warped relationship.
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So, unless this incumbent government has in “Houdini” fashion, overnight assumed government’s rightful roles in social contracts, and lifted over 133 million Nigerians out of multidimensional poverty, unless, wait! ‘When trouble sleep, Yanga go wake am’ (meaning: there is a limit to any human endurance). Weting him dey find…(apologies to Fela Anikulapo Kuti). You get it!
We can suffer fuel scarcity without threatening government like in other places. We seem divinely gifted among nations in being able to suffer perennial ineptitude and thieving of our misleaders.
The threshold of the Nigerian’s ability to suffer and smile is almost miraculously elastic. But, even in our darkest days, and we have had our fair share in this nation – we have never, ever faced the prospect of being unable to access and use our own money!
Shortage of the naira is exacerbating all other dire existential realities, fuel unavailability inclusive. Nigerians are beginning to protest and it’s spreading everyday.
Nigerians are besieging banks with naked displays of frustration assuming worrying dimensions. Lives and property are being lost!
There are looming dark clouds, portending stormy waters ahead and Nigeria must be steered away from any calamitous collision. For so long, absent a capable captain to chart the course, ship mates in ranking positions on the Nigerian ship have been left to run amok.
Inspite of their best efforts, the Nigerian ship, beleaguered, has somehow still been able to keep afloat. These ship mates, implacable and seemingly irredeemable continually seeking ways and means to inflict suffering on the people will see the Nigerian ship capsize come what may!
Banks and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) all over the country are empty no matter what the jejune economist running the Central Bank of Nigeria says.
Godwin Emefiele, the man under whose watch Nigeria continues to reach new milestones in economic woes is a ship mate running amok.
President Buhari, you must take the conn! There is a raging tempest and you do not have the luxury of 7 days to chart a new course. Stir away from the storm now and let Nigerians have access to their money! It is the very least you can do.
About the writer:
Victor Ikhatalor is a Human Rights Defender and Good Governance Advocate.
He Tweets via @MyTribeNigeria. Email: email@example.com