We are a bunch of ungrateful wailers who grumble for a living, always finding reasons to whine. The latest subject being the paltry N160 million cars we have just acquired for our legislators. Why? We should be grateful that we have such considerate people representing us. This privileged class has been complaining that our roads are bad. Alhamdullilah, they have not asked for multi-billion-dollar helicopters. We can’t expect them to ruin their multi-million naira personal cars on the gullies we call roads even if they are the same ones they plied campaigning to represent us.
In one instance, my own Senator, Sunday Karimi, promised to fix the bad road passing through his constituency the moment he became a ranking member.
We all know that bad roads lead to unpleasant destinations. They lead to delays in transportation and the communion between communities. They kill the ordinary people needed as serfs. They are the reasons we don’t invest in ambulances. Why bother when ambulances employ sirens that could confuse people with the alarms of their distinguished oppressors.
Bad roads exacerbate the heightened level of insecurity in the country. A bad road is a trap to motorists who chose to be waylaid by altruistic bandits or kidnappers by closing all routes of escape. If you are trapped in one of these roads, the panacea is to try to relax, cooperate with your tormentor and don’t bother disturbing heaven because your prayers would definitely go to voice mail.
While these operations last, if perchance there is a police station nearby and someone alerts them, they are traditionally unable to help for the usual reasons: insufficient fuel in the police tank or vehicle gone shopping with the DPO’s wife or to pick his children from school. Sometimes, the DCO with the keys to vehicles and the armoury is taking his siesta and hates being disturbed.
These are some of the reasons why being a bandit, armed robber or kidnapper is a hard but sure way to success. Bandits make good calculations that could see them leave their villages in the morning with their earthly possessions in a matchbox and return in the evening as heroes in a fleet of cars. Miracles happen.
For instance, Olusegun Obasanjo signed the contract papers for the reconstruction of the Abuja-Lokoja road. Three successful administrations later, it is yet to be completed. The enigma in a conundrum that is the Lagos-Ibadan expressway was once an engineering wonder that lends itself to safari racetracks. In the past 30 years, all the djinns, gnomes and bog-trolls have blocked every attempt at its rehabilitation. It is a principality defying the touted efficacious prayers of the anointed spiritualists with the headquarters of their mega spiritual business on that stretch of the road.
Don’t reveal these well-kept secrets to the engineering wizards of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, a country firmly floating on waters with some of the best road networks in Europe. Don’t publish this in Germany, a country with four seasons (like Canada) that patented the autobahn. Don’t debate it with Portugal’s Lisbon, built on undulating hills and impenetrable mountains yet renowned for its motorable narrow roads.
None of the nations mentioned above have a quarter of the billion tonnes of gypsum scattered across Nigeria; or a quarter of the bitumen oozing out of Agbabu.
The Supreme Court-endorsed President Bola Tinubu recently announced a switch from the use of bitumen for road construction to cement. Thank God roads are not like falling uncompleted buildings.
When our powerful ruiners in the Irrational Assembly hinted that they would be buying brand new SUVs, popularly known as “jeeps” in Nigeria; only the shareholders of Innoson Motors would take them out of that move. A “stewpeed” Nigerian investor chose to capitalise his company in Nigeria when even multinationals have moved to Ghana. He believed he could beat Peugeot, Volkswagen and Steyr into the true definition of patriotism. To worsen his dilemma, he prides on sourcing his raw materials locally, losing Nigerians who just love foreign. This is at a time when even the government says its utmost wish is to raise Nigerian experts for foreign markets to shore up its foreign exchange.
Our ranking “sinnators” and rebellious representatives bypassed Innoson and voted for Japan-made Prado jeeps. They are not like the curious Mahatma Ghandi who, in his infamous calico loin cloth, declared that India should starve if it could not produce what it needed to survive. That silly rhetoric has put Indians at the top of the information superhighway today.
Prior to becoming our president, Tinubu was not a poor man. Omo olódó idẹ – the one with the bronze mortar commands bullion vans, makes governors and presidents before making himself one. For those who still think it inappropriate for our beloved First Son, His Excellency, Seyi Tinubu, to fly in our presidential jet to watch a polo tournament in Kano, Tinubu has a private jet.
As for Innoson, only Charles Soludo drives in their standard products. His fellow comrades don’t. However, if Toyota ever needs to establish an after-market warehouse to store its pollutants when the rest of humanity has transited into Electric Vehicles (EV), Nigeria will welcome that as an achievement. We do not qualify as a manufacturing hub but as a dumping ground, we won’t find more qualified competitors.
The patriotic and sagacious Irrational Assembly leadership voted on Toyota jeeps to illustrate patriotism in an economy in recession. We must thank them for being so considerate. Prodigals would have gone for the classy G-Wagon and bankrupted the economy while Germany smiled to the bank. Out of uncommon patriotism, they settled for Japanese models.
As usual, there were a few killjoys playing Judas with the treasury who would rather have them shelve this idea of cruising in Prado SUVs. Our distinguished honourables reminded them how contracting out vehicle supply grew the economy. They argued that contractors paid their taxes while local manufacturers could have pocketed their earnings.
How do we expect our invertebrate legislators to drive their multi-million-dollar classic personal cars, the same ones they campaigned in on our bad roads, when they have a cheaper alternative in these publicly-funded N160 million jeeps? We, who once allowed Obj to scrap official vehicles and close driving pools now have room for the rehabilitation of 500 chauffeurs for the most indolently hard-working arm of any demoncrazy. Four years after it’s all done, they’ll have the rights of first refusal when the auctioneer drops the gavel – the wisest choice.
By that time, the value of these vehicles would have increased. Because a poorly maintained Prado ridden by a venerated Nigerian legislooter is hot cake in the classic market. By that time, we would be back on this familiar road. Their rookie come-raids and ranking returnees would have little reason to convince us that they too deserve brand new Prados for their cost-saving oversight functions. Tinubu would have turned Nigeria into a different Chicago.
Now, if you would excuse me, what’s that classic definition of insanity again? If you check the mirror; you might understand why Rotimi Amaechi believes you are all to blame.