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We’re All Suffering But We Don’t Want to Hear it From a Celebrity

And what about the killings? Mr Ahmad had nothing to say about those. Perhaps because, again, Nigerian lives really do not matter.

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In January 2017, musician 2Baba announced the #IStandWith2Face nationwide protest slated for February 5. The singer demanded an explanation for the “reckless economic downturn. In a statement, 2Baba lamented the economic condition of the country and said “No” to the executive, legislative and judiciary arms of the government.

While several Nigerians rallied behind 2Baba, several others said they wished someone else would lead the protest. They described the singer as “tainted” and complained that he had “benefited immensely” from politicians, specifically Godswill Akpabio who they claimed gifted the singer a Toyota Prado SUV.

Banky W, in 2018, declared his intention to run for a seat in the House of Representatives in the 2019 elections. As one with a track record of philanthropy, one would expect at least minimal backlash. But a lot of kick back was what we saw. When he made a comment on the Justice Onnoghen suspension, he was criticized, nailed to the cross for the comment. And because of it, so many said he wasn’t qualified to represent the constituents of Eti Osa district at the House of Representatives.

On Tuesday, actress Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde lamented the state of the nation. In a tweet, the actress complained that there is not enough currency in circulation, and that the consistent killings happening across the country has made things unbearable. Nigeria is “hellish” under the watch of President Muhammadu Buhari and Yemi Osinbajo, she said.

Nigeria, under the watch of the present administration, has become the poverty capital of the world. That means that Nigeria, the ninth most populous country in the world, has more poor people than anywhere else. What’s worse, a report by Yomi Kazeem for Quartz Africa has said Nigeria is expected to remain so for at least a generation.

Every day on social media, we see videos of police officers harassing and extorting citizens. Often, we see these officers kill citizens. We see them kill people whose lives they have been entrusted with.

The Nigerian police is so inept that a spokesperson for the command has claimed that a force that kills—not just harass, kills—the people it ought to protect is the “most bullied in the whole of Africa … yet they still do their best to ensure safety of lives and property.”

Imagine claiming that people who consistently kill others also “do their best” to protect those lives they take. But that’s not all.

To prove that the Nigerian life really does mean very little, if anything, this same police spokesperson, Dolapo Badmos, has said that: “For every police man that kills, be rest assured to face the consequence.” You face the consequences when you kill. Nothing about preventing the loss of lives. Nothing about how to stop trigger-happy officers with perhaps trainings, increased remuneration, and better welfare. Just that if you kill—as if to take a life is some passive, mindless, thoughtless thing like telling a lie—you’ll face the consequences. What about the life that has been taken? Nothing. Because it’s of little worth.

Is it necessary to mention the Zamfara killings? Benue? The Boko Haram killings still happening often? Herdsmen killings? Because how is Omotola wrong in her assertions? Nigeria is hellish.

But several Nigerians didn’t exactly see it that way.

Bashir Ahmad, the personal assistant to the president on new media, rebuffing Omotola’s points, said those working for “clean money” can never refer to Nigeria as “hellish.” Why? Because “200 medium and small scale rice milling centres emerged” has emerged in Kano State between 2015 and 2018.

Rice that the average Nigerian is unable to afford? Rice that has shot up in prices since the beginning of this administration? Rice that people who make 18,000 minimum wage have to buy at 11,000, 12,000, sometimes 15,000 Come on. And what about the killings? Mr Ahmad had nothing to say about those. Perhaps because, again, Nigerian lives really do not matter.

Others have shared photos of the actress meeting with Goodluck Jonathan while he was the leader of the nation. Someone said the backlash she’s getting is deserved because “why didn’t she speak before the elections?” Another even said that the reason Omotola complained is because her “customers are not seeing free money again… Those senators.” Isn’t this beyond expecting perfection from people before they can have a say—which is itself ridiculous. Isn’t this now about anyone famous not being allowed to have a say? And if they do, we’ll find something to hold against them, anything, everything—throw it all until something sticks.

Back to the “those making clean money cannot complain”  comment. It is a rhetoric the present administration has repeated over and over. It begs the question: who exactly are these people making clean money? It seems to be those working directly with the administration. Because they seem to be the only ones not complaining about the economy.

3 Comments

  1. francis

    April 18, 2019 at 4:50 pm

    compliment audience, I see fact in her comments so we should forget her past and focus on her present statement which in quite sagacious. but we must reveal something that has been so touching that our problems lies in our hand ,we are not encouraging people with vision in this country, why because we’ve seen the situation of the country from inception till date,we know people that has so dependent on gift of nation that was the right of all citizens to be only right of the circulation of the elite we don’t protest because we exploits out of them so those who have no avenue reaching them remain scanty for survival ,remember we all are learned men and women,secondly politics is who get what,how,when, the what is policy output,this is where nepotism ,marginalization ,sentiment etc comes,the resources of citizens are now for few privileged one,it quite imperative for us to fight towards the issue of one ethnic group riling this country supported by our Yoruba brothers hence this rubbish could have stopped for a long time ,agitation is for a purpose those who don’t see purpose should keep been a servant to whom your greater than,no human right,no social justice ,in a country where such law as been enshrined in the constitution of a country, my sister omotala has made good view its left for her fellow ethnic group to realise and support for turn of game to abide with people seeing Nigeria as one entity not people who see Nigeria as their own birth right caused by the imperialist, US was under UK but decided to leave by force and got full independence, not that of Nigeria neo colonialism.

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  2. Cozie C

    April 18, 2019 at 9:21 pm

    All these people whining and blabling about Nigeria make my head ache.Nigeria is a beautiful land mass, a beautiful space for all of us to operate in for all our legitimate endevors in a free and democratic society.If Nigeria is bad as the whiners constantly try to remind us,whose fault is it?. Ofcourse, all of us.We make what this landmass called NIGERIA is, all of us . So if Nigeria is bad, it’s because we all make it bad, not just those in power.As the late John F Kenedy eloquently stated, the tenet of a true democrasy, is “not ask what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”.How many of these people whining have helped Buhari in fighting corruption, arm robbery, kidnapping, etc.How many of you pay taxes, you and all the people related to you,without fslsifying your papers to pay less or nothing at all,how many of you or people you know pay property taxes for the numerous houses you own.How many of you know relatives and friends who are fraudsters, arm robbers , kidnappers, etc and reported them to the authorities.Iam based in the USA.A the fine infrastructure, roads, water, electricity, etc, are paid for, solely from various forms of taxes.We even pay taxes in the food we buy and the car we drive.If you go to the bank here and deposit a cash value of more than $10000 dollars, the bank will notify the right authority or the FBI and you better know how you got that cash legitmately.I seen Nigerians arguing or even fighting with the police only to turn around and join the band wagon of shading the police force. If a police officer here stops you and ask you to step out your or stay where you are and not make a move and you dare make a move of any kind, you’d be as dead as yesterday.So fellow Nigerians, let us stop whining and join hands with the president to get rid of all the vices and complains we whine about. I have a cousin in Nigeria and when we talk, he always whines about corruption in Nigeria. But this same cousin called me and asked me to send him $1500 dollars, because his daughter did not pass the JAMB and he wanted to fix it. I ask him about the registration fee for the exam so she could retake the exam, he turned that down.The same cousin wanted to run for the local gov’t council and ask for $500 to get his tax clearance. He’s a business man and had never paid any kind of tax as far as I know.I told him that I would never be party to any type of corruption and hung up on him. Iam a very patriotic Nigeria who believe in our potential to be the greatest wholly black nation on earth if only we believe in ourselves and in Nigeria Failure to do that, nobody would believe in us and we’d just keep whining.

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  3. Benneth Amanambu

    April 19, 2019 at 3:56 pm

    Maybe, u are the one whining right before 200 million Nigerians. Omotala has done nothing wrong by saying and confirming the obvious. Is Nigeria not hellish? U quoted John F. Kennedy, fine, but remember that before that quote, the United States govt, provided every necessary amenities designed to make life easy for the citizens which I’m sure you are enjoying there, Mr Cozie. Where you are in the US, don’t you enjoy water, uninterrupted power supply, minimaltransportation fare, cooking g gas supply, educationally equipped schools and many more perfect running systems designed and put in place by the govt? How many times have we heard that monies meant for various projects in the US is diverted and pocketed by those entrusted with the money? And when the heat is on the criminal will decamp from the political party he belongs and join the ruling party and his case will be dropped. Is it not when the govt. provide those amenities that you as a citizen will be happy to pay your tax, if those in charge will not convert it to their personal use or Python will come and swallow it and govt. will laugh over it. Useless and hellish country. Stop defending our leaders and stop prosecuting and persecuting fellow hungry Nigerians because they have done nothing. Your uncle that demanded $1000 to sort out his child’s WAEC problem does it apply there in US? But it applies here. Is it the fault of the man and the child or the system? If the system is working as it should, will the man be thinking the way he did knowing that such action will land him in jail? The social and public utilities you are enjoying there, are they here or are the poor masses of the United States of America that put those things in place or their elected office holders? Mr Cozie, enjoy what right thinking govt office holders put in place for their people and leave Nigerians to continue wallow in poverty, nay absolute poverty. Leave Omotala Aline, at least she has put smiles simles on faces of millions of Nigerians. Omotala thanks for speaking our minds, millions of Nigerian minds.

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