‘Truth is treason in the empire of lies’ – Ron Paul
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS)’s report that 133 million Nigerians are multidimensionally impoverished is an indictment on duty bearers, who have the statutory duty of abolishing poverty. This figure, representing 62.9% of the population of Nigeria, with a Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) of 0.257 is a reflection of chronic bad governance, poor leadership, corruption, ineptitude, passive citizenship and imperial rulership of the sluggardly governors and president. It is a failure that must be collectively owned by the incurably corrupt and unaccountable governors, embarrassingly incompetent president as well as the graft-grabbing legislators that are blinded to the imperative of constitutional duty of abolishing poverty, as imposed on them by the Nigerian legal grundnorm. The right to education means nothing to them. The right to healthcare means nothing to them. The scandal of importing petroleum products, which we produce and should be refined here, means nothing to them. Indescribable reckless borrowing means nothing to them. All that the power grabbers care about is perverting elections to mount the horse of power. Astonishingly, they have aides and abetters in millions of Nigerians who are too poor to think and too timid to act; great enablers of their victimisation, celebrating the bunch of mediocrity.
A country that has been, in default, beggarly, positioned by her rulers as specimens for research on poverty and victimology hangs on anything for survival by building an economy of salvation around everything. They even recently went to Egypt to advertise poverty as the driver of their victimization via climate change.
The lamenting legendary self-acclaimed victims of history and victims of geography, including that of climate change, have their job cut for them once again. They want to be paid for perennially repeating the primary stage of development. The industrial West must pay for their people’s poverty of ingenuity and prosperity of greed that have kept us in the lowest stage of development and industrialization for centuries. Those who pollute their continent with greed, corruption and poverty are as usual in Egypt COP27 seeking climate justice. They forgot that the supercontinent, Gondwanaland had Egypt as its centre, center of climate-inspired human dispersal due to tectonic displacement. Climate imperialism is the jingle for marketing the supposed victimization. A country with lazy rudderless rulers, who see global challenges as opportunistic spaces for building a local economy around hazards they tolerate and often project to their plutedarian poor and vulnerable people as ‘acts of god’. The strategy for their new gold mine is ‘climate imperialism’; and they have enough goldsmiths in NGOs to help them refine this new rustic raw gold. Lazybones, whose unending victim mentality has assumed eternal renewal, from slavery to colonialism and neo-colonialism without the prospect of endings nor vestige of turnaround innovative revolution that can impeach its litanies of tragic history.
How will a country whose rulers run to the West for a cure for mere flu, while the healthcare system and structure in their country remain comatose not face a crisis of dimensional poverty? A country with a propensity to acquire affliction and liability as rulers. Why won’t those who have the kings naked images stuffed in their MRI issue alerts? Who takes him or his subjects seriously anymore? The king’s scrotum is in the London blood bank.
In Olu Olagoke’s ‘The Incorruptible Judge’, Ajala, the poor boy endlessly searched for a job. The new Ajala is not searching for a job. He is searching for his health with a scarce national purse that flooded his room like Bayelsa flood waters. The surgeon, the knives, and the king in London’s theatre are testimonials of the historic failures of a prodigal king who squandered all to become an itinerant refugee in the clinic of slave doctors. Woe unto the people whose king is a child. Worse, when the king is naked without shame. Ajala travels and you can’t see that as one of the dimensions of national poverty?
History will testify and generations unborn will verify that there was a Visiting President, a London Health refugee and a travel freak, who did the opposite of all he promised and left his country in gross darkness after beheading the hope of the emergence of a national community, with people who have equal access to healthcare, functional education, employment and opportunities, a nation where justice and peace reign. There was a man who turned Naira into a beautiful moron; too timid in marketplaces and a joke of all nations. Are you still wondering where poverty comes from? How would there not be frightening multi-dimensional poverty across the states in Nigeria where Governors recklessly chartered Private Jets to attend both formal and informal functions outside their states, while their people are condemned to collapsed road infrastructure?
One day some people who follow my treatises on Nigeria will remember that I told them that, the so-called constitutional amendment journey of the current National Assembly was another scammers’ pathway to the national treasury. Like a candle in the winds, billions of Naira have gone into deep pockets of legendary dew makers without any constitutional amendments.
Once again, manifestos are being churned out. Elite cartel is out everywhere to defend the Concorde fallacies they called manifestoes. Things will not get better unless people quit their positions of indolence and apathy. Without, a leader who can trigger the type of democracy Arend Lijphart described as ‘Consociational democracy’, in a country that has been put asunder by poverty-baked identities, the manifestos remain beautiful nonsense from fatally ugly propagandists and power mongers, hawking rat poison in golden packages of hope or its deceptive renewal. The question is who can and will bring back Nigerians, close wide access to poverty, strangulate inequality, expand equal access to opportunities, draw new lines of prosperity and how?
I bought a book, the ‘Wretched of the Earth’ by Frantz Fanon at the Yaba bus stop in Lagos over thirty years ago. The book was one of the ingredients that strengthened the anti-colonial movement. It was a book, a volley of anger and a revolution in one tablet of history and syrup for the future.
Neither colonialism nor neo-colonialism is more of our problem today than the audacious movement of internal colonialism led by prebendal power hustlers, who get people into slave camps with their consent by weaponizing poverty. Any political manifesto in Nigeria of today, whose contexts do not bear tangent with Fanon’s ‘Wretched of the Earth’ is a ticket to proverbial Golgotha.
Obnoxious governance and policies have rendered families incapacitated. Almost impossible for most to show children and young people what good behaviour, responsible citizenship and patriotism look like. This depressing helplessness has taken hope away from the youth. Any Presidential or officer seeker that is not ready to discuss poverty and the underclass with a pragmatic effective strategy to turn this tide of hopelessness does not deserve your attention, not to talk of your vote. Recently, millions of Nigerians were marooned by flood waters, and the governments they elected left them at the mercy of the amphibian monsters in the waters to feast on. The poor are the new fish in floods of the Delta areas, the Benue-Niger through, and other areas across the country. I repeat, let no emotion lead you to vote for your beloved slave master. Vote with your mind, not with your thumbs. Don’t be led by the mobs in public. Poverty has dimensions. If you are not killed by its induced suffering, its consequential violence or violent crime could consume you. Remember, poverty somewhere is a threat to prosperity everywhere. Dimensional Poverty Index is public, human suffering is private.
Olajuyigbe is the Executive Director of the Emergency & Risk Alert Initiative and writes via [email protected]