Well, I am angry. Angry because the blood of those bombed out or shot to death at the dastardly Kaduna-bound train attacks have not dried up before we started seeing all sorts of funny declarations for the presidency in 2023. Nobody wishes such events to happen – except perhaps the perpetrators and their puppeteers – but once such happens a proper response is required, and part of that response is some sobriety, not the rolling over of the dead, traumatised and wounded, by political armoured tanks driven by happy-go-lucky politicians who are only thinking about power by any and every means. The kidnappers have been taunting the country and the relatives of the unfortunate folks who are in their captive, with videos wherein they promise to kill everyone at will, if President Buhari does not give them what they want. They say the president – or better still the government – knows exactly what they want. It’s as if the government has always been in touch with them. And why we will not think this way? Governor El Rufai of Kaduna State, which has turned out to be the new epicentre of kidnapping, murder and terrorism, said openly that they know these terrorists, know where they live and even listen to their calls from time to time.
A joke circulates online that the only person who has been ‘prosecuted’ and relieved of his job is the Imam of Apo Legislative Quarters mosque, Sheikh Khalid. He was summarily and disgracefully removed by a committee led by Senator Dansadau, for embarrassing the president. He was told that the mosque pulpit is only for praising the government in power, never for excoriating them or telling those in government to sit up, no matter how many people get killed, anywhere in the country. To date, it’s been a massive conspiracy of silence. The president too – to my knowledge – has said nothing to the country over that tragedy. He has only put out the usual mechanical, tepid statement through his aides, the kind of material that lulls us all back to sleep. The Vice President visited the victims, but soon reverted to normal mode. He has also declared to run for president without as much as acknowledging that event which is at the same level as the kidnapping of the Chibok girls. At least 167 people lay in captivity this night as I type, according to the kidnappers, who showed their abhorrent recklessness when they stormed the ill-fated train and shot innocent people at will. Trust the global media to get excited at the prospect of girls being kidnapped in Chibok.
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And that was okay for the attention it brought to that incident, despite there being much fuzziness around how it happened. All the people who mattered in the world tweeted #BBOG and carried placards. The incumbent government rode in on the misfortune and ineptitude of the Jonathan government. I recall General Buhari being accosted by a foreign journalist at the coronation of Emir Sanusi Lamido about the postponement of the 2015 elections. He angrily shot back “what is Boko Haram!?”
By every means, with toddlers, mere babies, whole families, students, women in the kidnappers’ captivity, this is worse than Chibok or Dapchi put together. In Chibok, we didn’t hear that those boys killed people wantonly to get to their target. In this event they killed a beautiful, young medical doctor – Chinelo Megafu Nwando – who had lovingly served her country in Kaduna. They killed two top trade unionists, a director of a top parastatal, a married woman just minding her business and many more. We even have the profile of the killers, we could identify the people who hit us with a view to knowing how to tackle them. But no. President Buhari is more interested in protecting such folks and offering excuses for them.
Of all the people who are aspiring to the top position in this country, none has acknowledged this incidence, called for a moment silence, or incorporated the incidence into their speeches. Something is permanently broken in the Buhari government. The sheer recklessness, mindlessness and unthinking attitudes of those who work with Buhari are simply mind-boggling. I must say quickly that only Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has responsibly and mindfully cancelled his own 70th anniversary celebrations and colloquium because of that incidence. The rest couldn’t care less.
And there is this guy called Rotimi Amaechi. He supervenes over the transport ministry. He procured the train, and finished the rail tracks, declared that they were good for use and set up the systems there. We the poor people of this country believed in him. We gladly used the trains believing that someone had our backs; that a responsible government official had made sure that it was safe for all. We didn’t know that Amaechi had left us in the lurch. He said he tried to procure some surveillance machine from abroad and VP Osinbajo stepped down the purchase. No alternatives were offered or pushed. How responsible is Amaechi? After passing the buck, he tricked people to Port Harcourt under the pretext he wanted to do some thanksgiving, only to declare for presidency. The presidency has now become a joke for anyone serving in government, who has totally screwed up in their current roles. The situation is worse than 2019. Every minister and governor, having made a few billions, has now developed balls so big they have to try and plonk it on the president’s seat in Aso Villa.
As I type this there are no alternatives to travelling to Kaduna and we have now been necessarily pushed back to the roads – only essential travels only. One guy asked how far it is by road between Abuja and Kaduna. Another twitterati replied that it could take two hours to maybe six months ‘depending on the cooperation of your family” – in paying the ransom, that is. Many simply never make it down. The suggestion by Governor El Rufai that what they need is a military base is equally untenable, after all these guys have routed many military bases in the past. Forget surveillance gadgets. You need to respond to the alerts and the criminals would have been done and dusted. As far as I am concerned, only the people living around the rails could secure the rails – every inch of it.
To make our matters worse, is the fact that Amaechi financed these rail networks which were meant to be Buhari’s flagship achievement, with borrowed funds from China. China has stopped lending to Nigeria partly because they believe we are over-borrowed and have no class (too corrupt). When will we be able to build confidence back in our budding rail system? Are we soon going to abandon the whole thing someday just because we cannot manage anything on our own? What exactly is wrong with our stars?
I am not saying anyone should not run for presidency though. But we cannot altogether lose our humanity and steep ourselves in hypocrisy because of politics. Even the Vice President, who is supposed to know better, did not bother to include this incidence in his tepid, apparently forced declaration speech. This train tragedy is the stuff that whole governments resign for.