Sunday, December 27, 2009

Nigeria Government: Always Running Away From Her Responsibility

When people blame you for not being patriotic, it leans on the fact that such people do not try to understand the geography that might have moulded you.

Being a Nigeria has many discouraging facts about it. I must try to ignore the fact of being an outlaw for the simple reason that you are a gay, lesbian or transgender person in this instance. But for some other many things that do not give people the joy of wanting to die for their country of origin.

Since two days ago on 25th December 2009, a Christmas day, when the news broke about 23 year old Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab attempting to blow himself up in a Delta Airliner above the American sky, the entire world has been awash with the word NIGERIAN. As embarrassed as one could be for the same term being used to address both alledged terrorist and myself – Nigerian which he has every equal right to be and use regardless – one is rather too embarrassed and even shamed at the reaction of the said Nigerian government.

Now, understand me, the issue here is not about defending young Umar or not, its about the other thing: claiming your own and taking responsibility. As we speak, the British government is seriously in talks with China to stop the execution (or release) of 53 years old Akmal Shaikh, a Briton who is on death row in China for drug smuggling. Regardless of the crime, (let's not bring his health in here), the UK government had risen to at least, claim ownership of their own. That is what any and every government should do; but Nigeria will never.

Just last year June (2008) in Indonesia, two Nigerian men were executed by firing squad. Having been convicted since 2001, Samuel Iwachekwu Okoye and Hansen Anthony Nwaolisa spent their time in prison without much done by their regretful government to claim ownership... even the European Union made a strong official representation asking the Indonesian government not to execute them. So did Amnesty International and the UN. But their supposed government? Your guess is as good as mine.

The point here is not to condone criminals/suspects, but to point out the crime of neglect by our own country which in itself could lead to crime by its citizens. If a country neglects its citizen in their time of trouble, ranging from starvation, joblessness to accusation and indictment, what would makes such citizens want to be patriotic?

Another example is the actions by the USA Senator, Maria Cantwell of Washington and her concerted effort on the recent case of Amanda Knox accused and sentenced for the murder of British Meredith Kercher. Even the state where Amanda Knox's family lives, their Senator and a large number of US citizens spurred by their government's indirect support are all up in support.

Latest response from Nigeria in the case of Umar Farouk instead is an eye-soring disgrace like the government that will always run away from her responsibilities which Nigeria is; "We condemn this strange act of terrorism... We at a loss where he got this strange habit from."

But can someone tell them that this is not about blaming "...where he got this strange habit from" but about addressing the issue. So far, Nigeria has been slow to respond to the event in the states claiming they are on holidays. Who isn't? It is just the complete and clear evidence of the clogged-up and ineffectual system in existence there. A place where the president has been in a foreign hospital for over one month and yet clinging onto power. A place where records are manipulated or not kept at all. A place where bribery has taken the carpet from under the feet of effective and efficient governance. The US CIA reported to be in Nigeria may as well be seeing themselves in no comfort than needing a time-traveller to provide them records.

But for Nigeria, I am eternally ashamed to be called one. Not for the individual crimes, but for the non-existent system of government. Not for the terrorists or money launderers, but for government officials that would find any excuse not to use government as a machine for serving her people.

If Umar Farouk from a rich family could be easily used by Al-Qaeda, then I fear that they already have more young Nigerians than we can imagine. All they need is to provide them basic needs which their government will never do for them. A place where young people cannot get a job nor social security; where young people cannot afford holiday let alone flying... there a huge amount of option of promises that the Al-Qaeda can use to recruit these young people.

It is the same that has continuously supplied young Nigerian women as prostitutes to European cities especially Italy. It is the same that leaves the young men prone to being drug smuggling vessels. It is the same that leaves these young people as wild fruits for political lords that use them to ignite tribal, ethnic or religious or other politically related unrests.

So, to answer the Nigerian Senate that "don't know where this strange habit comes from". It comes from your failure to provide an equal civil society and infrastructure that will cater for the social needs of your people. It comes from your inability to take responsibility and ownership and stand up for your own.

So you will never know because a guardian that do not stay close to his/her ward, will never know what the ward is doing let alone know why and when?


Anonymous said...

Your article was well written, god examples and I hope our Minister of Foreign Afairrs and Minister of Information hae read this.

Coupled with the well lauded "Citizen Diplomacy" concept that exists only in theory and not in practise; concerted efforts should be made to ensure policies and procedures are established to protect Nigerians,even when they are on at fault in the international system.

This goes a a long way in determining how a state is being percieved ( weak or strong) within its borders and outside.

We still have a very long way to go.

godwyns said...

A long way indeed to go indeed. But funny enough, we have not even set off.

Like a prediction, see the result; US has put Nigeria on the list of security-risk and insist that Nigerians be searched extra. Why that decision was easy for them is because the Nigerian govt does not stand up nor engage through tangible policies. I bet they didnt need to discuss with Nigeria before that decision is announced. See this article;

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