Peace or War – Revisiting the Nigerian conundrum

December 28, 2016 OPINION/NEWS


Madamidola Oladele

Developments in the Nigerian State from the beginning of the 21st century to date have called for serious pondering on my part. So much water has passed under the Nigerian bridge; many events and catastrophes; many takes and mistakes; minor improvements and major setbacks.

On this occasion, I intend to bear my mind on the puzzling confusion the decisions of our government have put me of late – increment in wage structure, NYSC allowances, Niger-Delta militant settlement, and the proposition to the Boko-Haram sect. The point I am driving at is that the Nigerian Government and system, almost in general, has never been known to reward nor encourage hard-work. It is, therefore, not surprising that the Nigerian citizens turn to violence in order to get what they truly deserve. Shamefully, it has become peace or war.

This makes me feel that under our Government, Federal and States alike, the majority of Nigerian people live as slaves in their very own country. In a country where the minimum monthly wage for workers is eighteen thousand, nine hundred Naira (#18,900, the equivalent of $60 USD), what do we expect? Civil Servants in most cases live above their means – house rent to pay, children’s school fees, feeding, clothing, to mention just a few. How does a family man survive on such a meagre salary? In most cases, children of such parents grow up to constitute a nuisance in society. Suffice to say that the Nigerian governmental system is to blame for mayhems we experience on a constant basis in Nigerian society. The abandoned child turns back later to pay society back in its own coin.

Is it not surprising that Youth Corps members, serving their fatherland, only get Nineteen Thousand, Eight Hundred Naira (#19,800) allowance, tax inclusive, for their efforts, after spending 4-6 years of their lives acquiring knowledge to improve their fatherland? To add insult to injury, many of these Corps members lose their lives in the face of insecurity and inadequate provision. After all is said and done, they are thrown back into society, unemployed. Does that not speak volumes of our leaders and the policies they put in place? It, therefore, does not surprise me that teachers and lecturers in our citadel of learning declare war on the government before they get their entitlements. Obviously, where peace does not work, people are forced to go to war.

To drive my point home, it would be noteworthy to say that the Nigerian Government, since the inception of Democracy in 1999, has been rewarding the act and art of violence in many ways. When the Niger-Delta Militants arose in the South-South region to fight to protect their land, the Government began by treating them like stubborn children who needed to be corrected. However, when they would not give in to the Federal government, retaliating by kidnapping people in the corridors of power, their family members and other important dignitaries – foreign and local – the Government decided to settle them by granting them AMNESTY with a monthly payment of seventy-five thousand Naira (#75,000 / $238 USD) to each militant – more than three times what the government calls the minimum wage or allowance for a Corps member. Has that addressed the exploitation and the de-habitation of the Niger Delta region?

The way and manner the Niger-Delta issue was addressed haphazardly made me realise that the Nigerian Government, alongside the masses, are sleeping under a burning-roof. Like a timebomb, I knew society would explode someday, but did not know it would be this soon. Are we not paying heavily for that leadership blunder today? Before we knew it, the Boko-Haram sect arose – a sect which by definition is supposed to fight against Western Education and Influence on the Muslim folks. While their children enjoy the benefits of Western Education, they have busied themselves kidnapping school children, bombing religious centres, public places – wasting innocent lives in order to get at the Government. Does that not amount to leaving leprosy to kill rashes? To crown it all, those used to carry-out this act of terrorism are societal rejects – those we abandon to hunger and penury. They have been reconfigured to fight against their own fatherland the wrong way. Who is to blame?

It was, however, shameful that the Federal Government, under the leadership of the immediate ex-President, in its wisdom was going to negotiate (Granting AMNESTY) with a terrorist sect whose true identity had not been uncovered. Rumour even had it that the Federal Government was willing to pay as much as One Hundred Thousand Naira (#100,000 / $318 USD) salary to each member of the sect. After serious rejection of such unwise decisions from different quotas in society, a State of Emergency was declared in certain states of the Federation.

My grief in particular is the fact that our Government under the leadership of the so called learned leaders – sound readers to be precise – looked/look down on hard-work, rewards and encourage violence in society. If the reward for carrying guns and shedding innocent blood is far higher than that of being honest to one’s fatherland, what else is to be expected?

As I bring my tears to a stop, I would like to laud the efforts of the incumbent president towards fighting corruption. Nonetheless, I also implore our leaders, under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, to seriously consider how much THEY receive, not earned, monthly as salary and all the unending allowances they get from public purse (the National cake as some would call it) and then put themselves in the shoes of those who earn as low as #18,900 as Minimum wage in a month, the masses who could hardly afford two-square meals for their family; and then decide what their course would be afterwards – PEACE or WAR?








Madamidola Oladele Moses

Madamidola Oladele

Madamidola Oladele Moses is a creative writer with a bleeding-heart. Born in Lagos, Nigeria in the mid 80s, he hails from Osun State in Nigeria. Oladele had both his Primary and Secondary education in Lagos State before he moved to the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, where he obtained his B.A Degrees in Literature-in-English. He is presently concluding his M.A Programme in Literature-in-English at the Department of English of the same University. He was the President of the National Association of Students of English and Literary Studies (NASELS, OAU) 2010/11 Session. He is the current Public Relations Officer of the Murtala Muhammed Postgraduate Hall of Residence, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.


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