By Femi Akintunde-Johnson
We are now a world ruled by Social Media. Controlled! Manipulated! It is now so easy for unsuspecting and impressionable news addicts to shift positions and beliefs based on strings of coordinated or disjointed truths, half-truths, ‘over-truths’, inconvenient truths, and crafty concoctions. In the past few years, we have waded against tides of all kinds of stories in support of one narrative or the other… It is therefore understandable, and quite slippery, that background information upon which most opinions are based may sometime be hazy, or double-faced…such that the cautious commentators are better served to add disclaimers, or caveats as indemnities against the onslaught of infamy and misrepresentation.
Therefore, if it is true, then it is the height of conceit and wickedness to schedule the distribution of ‘palliatives’, or whatever you call ‘handouts’ (whether from government or official agency, or private interventions) to coincide with your birthday ceremony…as attributed to a sitting legislator!
There is so much disconnect and unfeeling distance between the grating poverty of the masses, and the humongous mass of perquisites and unbalanced privileges of the majority of political operatives. How is it conceivable that ‘palliatives’ (prompt interventions to deal with side-effects of a main uncured problem) are languishing in havens of the privileged, while the surrounding swathe of deprivation could go up in flames, for all they care?
How on earth, as one of the young protesters posited recently, would government keep palliatives, meant for the vulnerable Nigerians, for such “brief periods” as claimed government talking heads, and yet sundry bags of garri – a common and enduring staple food – would go stale in obscene number?
Why should we be so callously detached from our people to a point where in hunger – fuelled by anger at the conscience-less display of ill-gotten wealth by the political class, and their economic surrogates – they begin to loot psychiatric institutions, carting away highly contagious items; pillaging agro-based lock-ups, plundering chemically treated grains and seedlings, assuming they were edible produce!?
While we condemn, in strongest terms, the madness and villainy of looters, thugs and hoodlums who tarnished what was blossoming to be a watershed movement, we must reserve robust censure for stone-hearted, cold-blooded members of the political and ruling classes for their mindless opportunism, selfishness and primitive acquisitions of all sorts of goodies…for their families, cronies, and for patronage. Shiorrr!
In the days ahead, as we interrogate the root causes, perpetrators and sponsors of the deplorable activities of the past few weeks, we must not forget to drag the owners and agencies behind palliative interventions languishing in warehouses across the states, which had to be excavated or looted forcefully like deprived ants let loose on cubes of vagabond sugar. Heads must roll…there should be no change of music that seeks ‘family meeting’ arrangement for issues that afflicted the hopes and trust of the Nigerian youth, if we care for their future, and the prosperity of this country.
Above all, let those who find themselves in leadership positions realise it is not their ‘luck’ or ‘turn’ to switch on the national tap which goes only into their throats. They are there to serve the needs of the people and help improve their circumstances with proactive, reasonable, equitable and sustainable policies and programmes.
We must quickly “set forth at dawn”… No twaddling, no whining…no grandstanding…no godfathering…no ‘oppositioning’…no politicking… Just do the right things, now!
He who has ears, let him hear, very quickly…what the streets said days ago… Abegi!