By Ikhide Ikheloa
Nigeria’s rulers are in a certain strange place, charting, no, bumbling through new territories like inebriated elephants; confronting new road blocks, like, thanks to social media, the term, accountability.
The Goodluck Jonathan regime is arguably the most ridiculed regime in the troubled history of Nigeria; it has also been one under harsh klieg lights, enduring world opprobrium. But then, the searchlight on Nigeria and her bumbling rulers has x-rayed a government in disarray, of lazy, indolent, thieving rulers, ruling, no, ruining a nation with nothing but fuel from the bullshit ensuring from their thieving mouths.
In Goodluck Jonathan’s government and under the thieves of NASS, the world has come face to face with the comical – and terrifying spectacle of an unprepared government, one that has looked buffoonish and unprepared for simple questions from her citizens and from a concerned world all over. With regard to the tragedy of Chibok, what we see on television and on the Internet all over the world is merely a symptom of a total failure of all institutions sworn to be accountable to, and to protect the interests of the citizens of our nation.
The collapse of standards and institutions is near total; from, the hapless press (featuring “award winning” journalists typing fantastic lies into “investigative pieces”) to the buffoons of Aso Rock, it has been a display of shamelessness clothed in the babanriga of rank arrogance. These people are not beholden to anyone; they just want to steal money, to pay for the insatiable needs of their loved ones who are all safely sequestered in the West, away from the scene of their crimes. Meanwhile, we have questions. Many people have questions and they are not being answered. Because, quite honestly, the government du jour in Aso Rock has no answers.
Take the unfolding tragedy of Chibok. It is a heartbreaker of a story on many levels. Outside of the kidnappers, the citizens of the world want the children back. But we are faced with a most evil adversary, and a government, to use that term loosely, that has little credibility. And so people have all sorts of questions, and the questions are not being answered. There have been pointed comments about the value, motivations, etc. of the questions. This is understandable, some of the questions are designed to drive the faithful up the wall of despair.
To this day, however, there has not been a single response by the Nigerian government that is not beneath contempt, what the Americans would dismiss as SWAG (serious, wild ass guessing). What they cannot respond to, they dismiss with unctuous arrogance. On social media, government agents and their sidekicks are in full gear proudly flooding timelines with nonsense. This is outrageous and the world is not having it. Where are our children? What just happened here? A responsible government does not scoff at questions. A responsible government responds to questions raised by an anxious, fearful people. Respectfully. This has not been the case with Mr. Jonathan’s regime.
As we write, there is no war room open to the world where a knowledgeable official stands and answers questions of our citizens and the press, they have to be ambushed on their way to their numerous peppersoup joints. And their sights on TV have been beyond cringe-worthy, appalling is the word. Labaran Maku, Nigeria’s alleged Minister of Information should not be employed anywhere near a microphone. He is incompetent, and that is being kind.
Responsible governments do not question the motivation behind questions, they simply provide answers. Not the Nigerian government. This government is the most irresponsible, the most incompetent, and the most corrupt in the history of Nigeria. And supremely arrogant. Those who ask questions, especially on social media have been subjected to taunts, ridicule, harassment and in benign cases, have been ignored by those who are paid by tax dollars to serve the people. It is an outrage. These same people have only bothered responding to our questions because they have been dragged before white folks. Our leaders respect white folks, they are obsequious to them even, but we are sub-humans to these people, to be treated with disdain.
In the case of our children of Chibok, let me just utter a heresy: There is no stupid question, not when it comes to unraveling the mystery of their whereabouts and/or what happened in Chibok. I urge everyone to keep the pressure up, please ask whatever question comes to your mind. The government of Nigeria owes us an explanation of what just happened here. Some of the questions may seem mean-spirited and absurd, but they speak to anxieties of a people that have been lied to repeatedly by everyone, from the press to the characters in Aso Rock. We must get to the bottom of this.
To say there is a trust deficit between Nigeria’s rulers and her people is to engage in subtlety; the people trust that the government will lie to them each time. Many of the seemingly absurd questions that are being asked are symptomatic of one truth: Mr. Goodluck Jonathan’s government has no credibility. There are opportunities here for the likes of Reuben Abati, Reno Omokri and Doyin Okupe to begin to restore even a smidgen of trust to their reviled masters’ portfolio; they should simply respond to all the questions put before them. If you calculate the cost of public relations and information per citizen, it is probably comparable to what obtains in the West, if you compare the cost of education per pupil, the cost of safety and security per pupil, they are probably comparable to what obtains in the West. What is the difference? Nigeria’s rulers and civil servants, with active collusion of her mealy-mouthed intellectuals, have looted pretty much everything that is not welded down. They get away with this brigandage because no one holds them accountable.
This is where social media comes in, this is a personal plea to the young men and women of Twitter and Facebook, keep up the pressure, Nigeria is only listening to our pleas because of you. The children of Chibok need you. Ask your questions, even ridiculous ones, force them to give us answers, even in anger. You are pretty much the only hope that Nigeria has. Generations of rulers have let you down, do not let down those coming after you. If you do not believe the government, tell them, with your questions. It is their problem, not yours. Ask your questions. Our children’s lives depend on your questions. Now watch this video of CNN’s Isha Sesay literally heckling and bullying a clueless Labaran Maku into conceding that he is, well, clueless. Entertaining. From the overwrought rudeness of Sesay to the overwrought bullshit of Maku, it is all so entertaining and sad. But hey, if this will bring back our girls and our country, I say, more power to Isha Sesay and I say, #BringBackOurGirls and #BringBackNigeria
– This Best Outside Opinion was written by Ikhide Ikheloa, a writer and literary critic. It ia reproduced here with his permission.