I am fed up about so many things in Nigeria. I am fed up with sharing space with some unsavoury characters who are presented to the public as leaders by a hypocritical media. I am fed up in being profiled by this same biased media and a cowardly political class whose stock-in-trade is fear and intimidation. I am fed up of being fodder to merchants of death and chaos who can unleash mayhem on their fellow citizens for the simple fact they don’t like the face of the president or because they woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I am fed up of being a citizen of a country that is constantly torn apart by its primary beneficiaries in the name of political patronage or lack of it. I am fed up of being a citizen of a country where I am forced to share space with the likes of Eyinnaya Abaribe, a Senator who stood surety for a terrorism suspect who jumped bail, yet this same Abaribe gets away with this and even had the gumption to call me a terrorist while he is grooming one in his backyard. I am fed up with a judicial system that will allow a person who bailed a terrorist to walk the streets free while another, of the same political class – Ali Ndume – was committed to jail for five days for being a surety to a person standing trial for corruption by the same judicial system that allowed Abaribe to walk simply because our judicial system is compromised.
I am fed up with being a Nigerian, simple. My hope, wish and prayer is for our politicians from this side of the Niger River to have the courage to call for the dissolution of this union. A union where I am perpetually a second-class citizen by the dictates of the southern elite and wholly accepted by the northern pseudo-elite. I sometimes pray for the day when there will be a hundred per cent resource control by the host communities so that the monthly pilgrimage to Abuja for the collection of the handouts from the federation account will stop. I still pray for the day when our politicians – leaders or not – shall wake up to the stark reality that they will always get the short end of the stick. That the north they have sacrificed in order to have the right to be invited to serve as chefs at a dinner organised for their southern counterparts, will one day wake up and devour them and whatever they steal.
I am fed up by being told I am not wanted anywhere I go because I am a Fulani man. This is so because those who call me a terrorist are the real terrorists and label me so because we have a Fulani man as the president who came with the pretensions of stopping them from raping the country at will. The violence they visited the country – both physical and verbal – has no precedence anywhere in the world without a war breaking out.
I believe the media in Rwanda in the buildup to the war in 1994 did not behave half as bad as our media. The Nigerian media seem to relish in instigating one section of the country against another; one tribe against another; one religion against another. A media that has never grown out of its pre-colonial and immediate post-colonial jostling for positions when the vogue was to denigrate the north and northerners. I am fed up of a country where crime and criminality is ethnicised at the whim of the media and their godfathers. A media that feeds its readers on a diet of hate as their breakfast every early morning.
I am fed up of being a citizen of a country where I am wrongly perceived to be hegemonistic while in reality I am a victim of hegemony. With a “hegemonistic” Fulani president, the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) is not allowed to see the light of the day simply because some misguided people believe it will only benefit the Fulani herdsman. I am equally fed up with a country where one set of terrorists are seen as freedom fighters while another set are seen as bandits and insurgents depending on their geographical location and not their atrocities.
I am fed up of sharing space with selfish political “leaders” who are always quick to apologise to those who hold them in contempt simply because they cannot afford to lose the paltry handouts from Abuja which they find easy to steal. “Leaders” who superintended the socio-economic destruction of the north. Destroyed public institutions bequeathed to the region by leaders who didn’t have the advantage of the education and knowledge that we have. A rent seeking crowd promoting rentier economy.
I am truly fed up with being looked down as a parasite waiting for handouts to survive. I am fed up with being a citizen of a country where the victim is regarded as the villain while all those who claim to speak for him and represent his interests choose to be silent or even indifferent in the face of injustice simply because they cannot afford to upset the apple cart.
I will prefer to live a life of dignity and respect while exporting kpomo to my new neighbouring countries. I may even be lucky to have it listed on the London Commodity Exchange, which may in turn earn me some hard currency. A life of penury and want will be more dignifying for me than all the wealth our politicians crave for. To live in a place where it is too poor to attract any conflict or violence.
I am therefore joining those calling for the dissolution of the Nigerian union. Let’s stop pretending by using words like ‘restructuring’, ‘true federalism’, ‘fiscal federalism’ and ‘secession.’ We should strive to have the courage to walk our talk.
Babayola M. Toungo can be reached via email@example.com