It’s that time when I rummage through emails, WhatsApp, and text messages sent by readers, in reference to columns past and sometimes just to vent on an issue that’s bugging them. As always, I will select from the most civil to the downright offensive ones, no exceptions, no judgment. Have as peaceful a weekend as Nigeria today will allow you to. – Abdulkareem
Re: Now that the ordinary Nigerian has become a joke
I’m writing in to appreciate your piece on the misadventure of the Godswill Akpabio-led Senate, where he reportedly said or joked, that: “The prayer is that, let the poor breathe, and Senator Mustapha has seconded that the poor should breathe. Those who are in support of the additional prayer that the poor should be allowed to breathe, say ‘ayes’ and those who are against say ‘nay’.” It shed light on a growing problem, even as it also spotlighted the laughter that followed, which all showed a Senate which truly does not care about Nigerians, and showing it in broad daylight for all to see. Now, if there ever was any doubt, then the brouhaha over the ‘holiday alert’ (again directly involving Akpabio) has cemented it as veritable law that the current Senate is yet to understand the weight of the task before them, or if they ever will. You are very right in your opinion that ‘Elected Nigerian government officials should not make fun of citizens, for no reason at all, ever. And certainly not for problems they caused for innocent Nigerians. It is disrespectful, unprofessional, and counterproductive. It also undermines the public’s trust in the government.’ If only our elected officials will listen.
Hezekiah Gyang, Jos.
Re: Now that the ordinary Nigerian has become a joke
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Now that the Buhari government is not here, you have started bashing everything to do with the current one. This might be your first salvo aiming at Senator Godswill Akpabio, but I am sure it won’t be the last. However, just remember that you have to treat the Senate with respect, because their offices demand it. Journalism isn’t only about criticism based on ethno-religious sentiments, you know.
Eze E. Njoku, Garki, Abuja.
Re: Arewa’s growing drug problem
God’s blessings will always be with you, especially because of your piece which handles the growing problem of drugs in the North. I also saw the horrifying video you referenced, and like you I was almost shedding tears to see human beings dehumanized in the most debasing way due to hard drugs. Hard, mind-bending, life-destroying drugs as you rightfully called them, are being widely abused in Arewa, and by the least-expected individuals. Housewives, students, professionals, and even children! But somehow, we fail to bring the issue to light. I remember talking about it on my secondary school WhatsApp group and being shut down by a former classmate, who cited the Nkpuru Mmri (crystal meth?) problem in the Eat. As if he wanted to say ‘their tragedy is bigger than our own’. I was saddened; as such behavior is why we are where we are in this country today. My heart goes out to the victims of that video and their families and I hope they find the peace and help they need. But before widespread solutions are found, we need to talk about the problem more often and more openly. You have started in the right direction.
Dikko Usman, Abuja.
Re: ‘Corporate begging’, ‘showing love’, and new Nigerianisms
You are absolutely right about the wider implications of the desperation many Nigerians exhibit these days, even if for just a token. Especially the average Joe on the street who is jobless, or even the employed one whose entire monthly salary is the cost of lunch for two at a mid-level restaurant in Wuse II. Yes, the behavior of some of these people may be tagged to low or no income, a forever-sagging economy, or even bad governance, but I think you may have left one crucial factor out: poor upbringing. I was born into the most humble of backgrounds, but my father and mother did their best to raise us to be upright citizens who never ‘put their eyes’ on that which does not belong to them. I had a tough time working and schooling at the same time, earning peanuts, and going to bed hungry many times, but I never harassed anyone for a tip or handout. Yes, they are people, with dreams and aspirations. But so are the people they harass.
Daniel Hassan, Jos.
Re: Nigeria’s unfortunate ‘rock stars’
When you said the electorate are only darlings of Nigerian politicians when it’s time for votes to be cast, or times when optics are badly needed, you were right. But when you added that the electorate is many times a willing victim to exploitation, I had to disagree. We’re talking of the Nigerian politician here, that snake-like creature which only takes and takes without giving. Yes, not all of them, but you have to agree that it is most of them. I want to say we need to start holding them accountable to the rubbish they deal out to us, but that’s already a cliché. By the way, I’m processing my Canadian citizenship as I write this. No shame in being an ‘Andrew’ at my age. At least I will be an Andrew who is earning a decent living in a society that works.
Hannatu Sim, Kaduna.