RIGHTSView: Nigeria: Race Between Gold and Death Rush

Posted by Emmanuel Onwubiko | 18 October 2014 | 3,727 times

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In my usual tradition of observing early morning hot coffee ritual, I sat not so comfortably ensconced in my office somewhere in the neighbourhood of Maitama, Abuja. From there, I saw a deluge of youth making a move towards the prestigious Hilton Hotel, and their predetermined target was to extract as much cash as possible from the retinue of officials escorting the Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Magatakarda Aliyu Wammako, who received an award from the Leadership Newspaper for reforming and transforming his hitherto rural state to a respectable status of the educational capital of the North-west geo-polity. As I stretched out my neck to catch a proper glimpse of the unusual movement of able bodied and formidably built young men, one fact emerged: that goes to show that some persons masquerading as journalists were among these men who were also scrambling to catch the attention of the big men, in an attempt to grab their own cash.

From this proximity, I saw how most of the youth were scrambling and falling on each other to catch as much cash as their energy can guarantee them, when one of the big men in the convoy of the governor showed his generosity by throwing out some clean wads of naira notes to the youths, who apparently did no work to deserve any form of payment. The main job of these young persons in their hundreds, who intermittently rush for some quid from politicians in Abuja, is to laze around the major hotels, looking out for when any of the big-time politicians would come in so they can invade his/her space with praise songs to attract quick freebies.

Now add this emerging lazy trend of beggarly attitude of these young Nigerians to the coming election season in Nigeria, during which time majority of them would be deployed as political thugs by unscrupulous elements seeking and lusting after political power in the 2015 elections; what will result from these satanic combinations is what may appropriately be called Gold Rush. Do you need further evidence to demonstrate clearly that the majority of contemporary Nigerian youth have embarked on what they termed as gold rush, rather than concentrate attention on how to wage revolutionary movements to liberate Nigeria from the suffocating hold and control of some political cabals. Take look at the Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN), which some writers and observers have compared to the Daniel Kanu (and Arthur Nzeribe’s) defunct Association for Better Nigeria (ABN) during the infamous military tyranny of the late Gen Sani Abacha. During the Abacha-led attempt to self-perpetuate himself in political office, by transforming from a military to a civilian dictator, members and moving spirit behind the ABN claimed to have organised a one million-man match, to drum up support for the then military dictator to transform himself and run for political office. But deep down their hearts, the only reason for disgracefully mortgaging their consciences was purely and simply to make as much cash as possible. The organisers actually netted in millions of cash but, fortunately for corporate Nigeria, God worked in mysterious ways and their agenda never saw the light of the day.

Now Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria are actually operating under a democratic atmosphere, which allows for lobbying, but the underground reason for floating such contraptions is purely to maximise profits for the leading lights of such campaign groups. So in effect, the owners of Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria can be called Gold Rush Ambassadors of Nigeria.

During the just concluded elections in the South-West states of Ekiti and Osun, majority of the youth that formed themselves into lobby pressure groups on the social media did exactly that to corner their own share of the national cake. They staged what can be called Social Media Gold Rush in Nigeria. Again, certain bloggers were taken unusually in first-class seated commercial airlines to Rivers State by Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, to drum up support for him in his fight with the powerful federal political forces in Abuja. And there were these wild rumours that they were each settled with N5 million. That was another dimension of the Gold Rush.

Erstwhile military dictator Gen Muhammadu Buhari had, at the Eagle Square, Abuja declared to run as a presidential candidate of his political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). Thousands of youths had been hired and paid to drum up support in another case of the increasing cases of gold rush by Nigerian youth. In all of these, the youth have never bothered to think about the long term consequences of their collective suicidal actions on the country. Or consider the question: What will become of Nigeria in the next 50 years, if they the youth who ought to constitute themselves into moral leaders who should galvanise and organise themselves and attain political leadership positions to guide our nation to where it ought to be in the comity of nations, but have chosen to chase after momentary crumbs that fall from the tables of the masters? This is fatally unfortunate, if you ask me.

There is, however, another type of rush going on which can be categorised as Death Rush. This is a situation whereby youths are hired as mercenary fighters by powerful political forces to wage internecine wars against perceived political opponents. In some instances these young and well-armed people have invaded communities in the Middle Belt of Nigeria, and have unleashed unprecedented and blood cuddling anarchy and violence, which have resulted in the wiping off of several communities and the killing of hundreds of people who are mostly innocent. In Plateau and Benue states, certain reactionary forces have hired some armed fighters who have embarked on well coordinated killing spree in the name of religion and ethnic affiliations, even as thousands of innocent villagers have been wiped off from the surface of the Earth. Sadly, the law enforcement agencies are nowhere near any preparatory state to overcome these attackers embarking on these predetermined Death Rush, in the mostly Christian dominated Northern states of Benue, Taraba, Plateau and southern Borno states. There is considerable protest from Christian leaders, understandably, that there is a genocidal agenda to wipe off Christianity from the North of Nigeria. 

Boko Haram Terrorists are also another type of practitioners of Death Rush,  because these cannibals have killed almost 12,000 innocent Nigerians in their huge campaign of bloodshed, and the Nigerian military have yet to crush them decisively.

In parts of Nigeria, other rogue elements among the Nigerian youth have started their own brand of Death Rush, by carrying out some criminal acts, such as kidnapping for ransom, pipeline vandalism and vandalisation of vital electricity installations and facilities across Nigeria. The other day, Mr Clems Onyeka, a popular actor on the Nigerian local film scene (Nollywood) was brutally killed in a cross fire between armed robbers and men of the Nigerian Police Force in Delta State. Delta State has of recent become the crime capital of Nigeria, even as kidnappers have also turned Rivers State to their natural abode. Recently, they violently kidnapped the immediate past national president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Okey Wali. The Southern state governments are almost doing nothing with the huge illegal security votes that the state governors, who behave like lawless anarchists and emperors, have cornered to themselves. Some of these state governors corner as much as N2 billion monthly as security votes, and these huge cash are stolen and hidden in their personal offshore accounts. How do you explain the exponential increase in violent crimes when the security votes are increasing geometrically? This Death Rush must be brought under control, because the grossly underdeveloped nation cannot become industrialised if crime rates are allowed to keep ballooning at frightening state. How do we expect foreign direct investors to come into this lawless nation and invest their hard earned money? How can we bring about an end or near-end to the perennial problems of youth unemployment, if the local economy is not made to become attractive for genuine investors to come and grow it?

Jobs and good education are essential if Nigeria must put an end to these vicious circles of Death and inordinate Gold Rush, by the youth who have lost touch with moral reality and basic norms of honesty.

RIGHTSVIEW appears twice a week on Wednesday and Saturdays, in addition to special appearances. The Columnist, popular activist Emmanuel Onwubiko, is a former Federal Commissioner of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission and presently National Coordinator of Human Rights Writers’ Association of Nigeria (HURIWA).

Source: News Express

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