-Blank NEWS Online (NIGERIA) –By Julius OWEH:
The dying ember of 2020 is a reminder of fiction taking the shape of reality. It was simply imagination mingling with memory invoking the imagery of doomsday scenario, which according to biblical scholars shall mark the end of the world.
I am talking about the almighty coronavirus otherwise christen COVID 19. It originated in China and some scientists speak of man invading the domain of the animals and disease peculiar to animals jumping to human being. As I write this piece, the second wave of COVID 19 is still strangulating the world. Despite the best health facilities of Europe and America, thousands of people have been sent to their early graves. It is one disease that made everybody in the world, a prisoner. Countries are in strict lockdown and nobody is allowed to go to work or catch fun. It is as serious as that. It merely showed the nothingness of man and that we are at the mercy of nature.
The relevance of COVID 19 is that the world is really a global village and that with the advancement of science and technology, nobody is immune from any development in any part of the world, whether good or bad. However, nature smiled on Africa and Africans were in a way saved from the ravages of COVID 19. Western scholars and scientists predicted that should coronavirus hit Africa, that dead bodies would be collected from the streets. The gods of Africa proved such people wrong and that is why those infested in Europe and America are in millions, which of Africa are in thousands. In a similar breadth, the casualties in Europe and America are in thousands while those of Africa are in hundreds. Anybody who says that our ancestors and gods are not working should better show me evidence. As a layman, I would rather explain the good fortunes of Africa in the province that our DNA is stronger than those of Europeans, Americans and Asians. Furthermore, we are used to malaria and that coronavirus is a step higher than malaria. What logic, you may say.
The year in Nigeria shattered the respect of police in the eyes of the public. The youths mobilized, using the social media and demonstrated in the streets bringing to the fore the atrocities of the police. The EndSARS protest was a statement that the police were not really protecting the people but as agents of oppression and intimidation. It grounded the country to a halt and government agreed to listen to their grievances. That is the power of youth and they should use that same power to occupy the political space. They should form their own political parties because in deed and in truth, this country and the future belong to them. The youths should stopped been used as thugs and political messengers getting the crumbs of power. They have the ability and numerical strength to occupy the political space and show the country the direction it should go.
2020 is a year that demonstrated in clear terms that an employee can be greater than the employer. For nine months, the university lecturers abandoned the classrooms and yet were getting their salaries. Universities owned by the Federal Government and Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) were insisting on the mode of payment and other sundry issues. Let me make one point clear. I am a product of three universities and I value the university lecturers. But what incensed me is for the university lecturers in one breadth to talk of university autonomy and in another breadth are talking about national association of universities. It is high time government looked in that direction and corrects the mistake. Even in the advanced countries, there are lecturers and there are lecturers. And this nonsense of equal salaries across the board for lecturers must stop. Those in the federal Ministry of Education must put on their thinking cap and cure this disease once and for all. Those who are not ready to lecture should leave. Enough of ASUU strike.
In 2020, my dear country is inching towards a failed state. All the indices of a failed state are very visible. Non- state actors are those controlling the security of the nation. Farmers could be killed in the farms and secondary students in the neighborhood of 335 could be kidnapped. Armed bandits, kidnappers, Boko Haram terrorists are having a free rein and nowhere is safe in Nigeria. Let me remind those in government that the chief aims of governance are the security and welfare of the citizens. Nigerians are no longer secured and the police, the army and other security agents are at their wits end and could not device means of curbing insecurity. All the pleas by members of National Assembly and other well-meaning Nigerians to change the security structures are falling on deaf ears. I begin to suspect that those close to the president are not giving the correct information about the security situation to him. As for the welfare of the people, many of my compatriots go to bed on empty stomachs. There are many homeless people and thousands of university graduates who are just wasting away. The other day, the man who carried me on
okada, happened to be a first class graduate from one of the best universities in the country. Why a skilled man and highly educated person should be doing an unskilled job. Nigeria is now the home of the world poorest people despite the abundant resources that we are blessed with. There is simply leadership deficit.
Let me end this political epistle cum lamentation with my people. The Isoko people of Delta State are becoming disgrace to themselves. Instead of unity, Isoko people are interested in useless conflicts because of land. There was conflict between Ozoro and Oleh, the headquarters of Isoko North and Isoko South LGA respectively. The cause was land, yet these people failed to realize that one day, the land will swallow them, an echo of biblical
dust you are and to dust you return. As dust was settling on the Ozoro and Oleh crisis, Emede and Igbide were involved in crisis to the point that some insane youths were dancing with human heads. The shame is that of all of us who have Isoko ancestry. This is the era of computer, artificial intelligence and the use of brains. People are thinking of how to conquer space, we the Isokos are fighting over land where mechanized farming is not done. All the same, High Chief Iduh Amadhe should continue with his trouble shooting efforts, I pray that God (our ancestors and gods) shall crown his efforts with success and remove the badge of shame from Isoko where the political leaders are just apologetically disappointing.
All the same, with six days to the end of the year, I wish you Merry Xmas and Happy New Year.
- Julius OWEH, a journalist, Asaba, Delta State. 08037768392