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Playing perpetually with fire; Nigeria ~ By Charles Dickson

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One who believes that the earth is chasing him, where did he put his feet while running?

I recall those pente-rascal god of men or is it men of god they are called would in those their charismatic branded flyers tell you it’s a “September’s to Remember”.

Well the outgoing month has been an April for Preys in my beloved Nigeria; you would be forgiven to think that most of what has happened would fall for an April Fools’ month.


Who really does not know the 47-year-old rascal, radical, activist, and did I add senator of the federal republic, hate him or like him. He like Sani Shehu, Ben Bruce, the Legislator from Kazaure are the few that has had that comic effect on the polity whether you agree with them on not.

Now this is the real issue, was all that drama between Mr. Dino and the Nigerian Police really necessary, and what is the effect on us as a people and polity. How about the failed recall process? Why do we take pride in playing with fire?

Benue, Zamfara et al

Let me explain Benue state in this manner, few years ago, I was driving back from Gombe, and on the highway was this public/commercial Opel car carrying 5 Nigerians. It was on ‘high’ speed, I overtook the car, blocked them in commando style and came down.

I asked the driver, “do you want to kill these passengers, is you speed check not working…” as I turned to the passengers to scold them for not warning the driver.

Before I could finish, they descended on me, “Oga how e concern you, (what’s your business), get out of our way, bla bla and bla.”

I left them, jumped into my car and drove off, thirty minutes later in front of me was a ghastly motor accident, 2 dead, others with various degree of injuries.

The driver survived, the car, totally damaged. Don’t ask me how I felt, and what I told the survivors.

So what do we tell the scores of orphans that are being created by the senseless killings, in what now can be best described as a killing field. From Worshippers to Villagers, when government narrative is not armed militia, it is then the boys trained by Ghaddafi, or the most recent; politically motivated killings.

Countless lives lost and no one will EVER be held liable; and in the midst of all these there is this carriage by citizenry of nothing dey happen when indeed we are playing with fire.

The Gas Station

I was at the gas station to buy PMS, and for the umpteenth time I noticed that only two of the machines were working.

And that cost me an extra five minutes on the short queue (and yes I must say ‘short’) and Nigerians know what I mean.

The two machines that where working had only two pumps with attendants, instead of four.

So, do the math if the four were machines were working, that would be eight attendants, and yet we complain of lack of jobs.

We may blame government for all we can, but really is there an enabling environment for job creation and are we creating jobs at the rate at which we are churning out grads-half baked, unbaked or badly cooked. The statistics for a nation that cares les about figures is frightening a case of playing with fire.

My neighborhood

If you have lived in the North, we call it ‘angwa’.

In my hood, my street, my angwa, there’s no water, the roads are bad, and the security is best described as ‘hmmmm’. Interestingly the water board pipes pass through empty.

The two PHCN transformers are often vandalized, local crooks break into houses when you leave the house without a living being or at least a dog, they pick items and the trauma of coming home to a vandalized home is better imagined than experience.

I was mugged some few weeks back, and it was traumatizing, new methods of daylight robbery both armed and unarmed are evolving.

We blame the National Assembly, at the local newspaper shop we argue about who is at fault, the last PDP goons or the current crooks, even as the problems of the angwa increases.

We are simply blind to the problems under our noses, as we continue to play with fire.

Finally whose business?

In the case of the driver, the road was not exactly bad. But he just would not obey the speed limits, he lost control, two lives were lost, he was reckless, it really was not government. It was our business, not government. Not Nigeria but us. In Benue, Zamfara and others what are we doing?

Maybe the Road Safety’s presence on the highway could have helped; maybe available/functional speed cameras would have saved those two lives and the carnage.

Just like the truth on the killings could be half way round to the solution.

But the truth is, if the passengers valued their lives, and been responsible, a collective caution from the five passengers could have done it. Are ready to cation a system that has developed a hobby out of playing with fire.

For all the blames we put on government, we are government. The enterprise called Nigeria is our business, not some folks in Abuja or state governors (both those that stay in their states, and those abuja and foreign investor nation based governors).

We can’t change if we are not the change we want. There can’t be change if banks can’t treat customers’ right. When gas stations cheat by a liter, by two/three naira. When banks charge some phony verve enhancement fee amongst many mysterious charges.

We can’t complain about government in abuja when we don’t know who our ward councilor is, when we have never confronted local government leaders.

When governors are alleged to be corrupt, we keep mute because they are our kinsmen, and when they are confirmed looters we say leave them because we are of same faith.

How many times have we boarded a vehicle and the driver insisted on two in front instead of the mandated one. Did we complain, and insist the right thing be done.

Have you contributed towards your local security by calling locales to enforce certain simple rules? We are government, so Nigeria should be our business.

We pray to a Christian God at the beginning of a function, and close the same with a prayer to a Muslim AILah and then in the same function discuss how to steal because really it’s nobody’s business how anything is run.

It’s not just leadership problems that worry Nigeria. No, it’s the problem of you, me and us. The ‘you’ that becomes a Minister and suddenly you need a bulletproof car, and you get two, the man who protests against you has several. Others say it’s turn by turn.

We are plagued by our lack of simple ethics. We are willing to offer a bribe even when not asked, because often than not we are guilty until presumed innocent. So we blame our ineptitude on every other person but us.

Until we start to treat Nigeria as our business, and not some prodigal orphan, we may be just going round in circles.

The fire will continue to burn us all, as we are just a people with some personal interests, for now, is there a Nigeria, and whose business she is, remains a question that—Only time will tell.

Prince Charles Dickson PhD; Development/Media Practitioner, Email: pcdbooks@outlook.com, Skype ID: princecharlesdickson

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