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Yomi Kazeem: 2012: Good Riddance

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Yomi Kazeem: 2012: Good Riddance

by Yomi Kazeem

 

Nigerians are a religious bunch. Every other year is tagged with faith and declared a year of promotion, of elevation, of divine favour or of outstanding breakthrough.

Nigerians are a religious bunch. Every other year is tagged with faith and declared a year of promotion, of elevation, of divine favour or of outstanding breakthrough.

For Nigeria, the country though, 2012 was a forgetable year. Only a few will look back on it with fond memories. As a nation, did we progress? It’s difficult to answer in the affirmative. Here’s why.

#OccupyNigeria

January 1st was a critical day in 2012 and events of that day set in motion a chain of activities that will go on to dominate the entire year.

After barely audible whispers and murmurings, the President finally made bold to remove subsidies from petrol… and all hell was let loose. The biggest nationwide movement the nation has seen since the return of democracy got underway.

Ojota was the centre of convergence and while some did their best to belittle the #OccupyNigeria movement, it was profound. The people said no and the government alongside the NLC and TUC made a few tweaks that saw the nationwide strike end. For the President and his administration however, the unpopularity ratings soared skyhigh and never looked like normalizing throughout the year.

The Fight against Corruption.

What fight? The fight against corruption was largely done on paper and via speeches. When push came to shove, Mr President and anti-corruption agencies did too little to convince anybody.

One of the fall-outs of the subsidy removal in January was a grand probe tasked to take a closer look at the said subsidy payments. Expectedly, sordid details came to fore and the guilty were obvious for all to see but what’s Nigeria without drama?

The Farouk Lawan and Femi Otedola comedy show was yet another milestone in our steady quest to be a worldwide laughing stock. After a few months, it was all swept under the carpet. The intriguing headlines were gone and lawyers returned to their chambers. Case dismissed. All we had left were jokes of a famous cap.

Several other cases of corruption came to light in the year gone by; subsidy payments to a company that had the Labour minister listed as a director; the vanishing act of N2.1billion from the mint and Diezani’s numerous cases. Did anyone lose his/her job? No. In these climes, the corrupt gets a pat on the back.

Are We Safe?

In a country where citizens are their own government and are forced to provide basic amenities for themselves, 2012 came with a big headache: security.

Boko Haram took up several column inches as their reign of terror continued unimpeded in the North. The Joint Task Force are mandated to end the Boko Haram menace but so far, many, including Amnesty International, argue that they have done more harm than good.

In the last few months of the year, kidnapping took centre stage. For those of us who didn’t consider kidnapping a big enough menace, our minds were changed when the mother of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Co-ordinating Minister of the Economy, was abducted.

And then there were law enforcement agents who did the exact opposite of their job description. They didn’t protect, they terrorized. All over the world, there are bad cops but Nigeria must certainly top the list if a census was taken. Everyone knew someone who had been extorted and wrongfully detained by rogue policemen and even yours truly was victim. The insecurity of lives and property defined 2012 and every day survived was ticked off as a small victory in the books.

Happy New Year?

I suppose the script suggests that 2013 will magically solve all our issues? No more corrupt officials, no more senseless killings and no more kidnapping. After all, its supposed to be 2013: Our Year of restoration and rapid progression. However, let’s be cynical for a minute, there’s nothing new about anything. Nothing looks set to change and our problems will not be magically solved. Unless Mr President fights corruption head on and dispenses with his ‘I don’t want to make a mistake mentality’, chances are my article on January 1st 2014 will be a lot more gloomy than this.

Regardless, Happy New Year Nigerians.

Yomi's favourite words are 'Up Nepa'- blame PHCN. He is afraid of heights but once climbed to the summit of a mountain 12, 000 feet above sea level. Away from writing, he's a soccer pundit on radio. He's also an entrepreneur with empire building dreams. The results in that regard have been mixed so far. He blames Arsenal FC for everything wrong with the world and hopes their trophy drought lasts forever.

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