Surviving the Scraps of a Broken System

By Obiotika Wilfred Toochukwu

Barely one week to the inauguration of a new administration and handover to a new president in Nigeria but Nigerians all over the federation are seen fighting to survive in a world that has left them behind. Nigerians had on February 25, voted massively against the oppressive and inefficient APC-led Government of President Muhammadu Buhari which is about leaving a legacy of killings without end, ₦77 trillion debt, 22% inflation, disunity, etc.

The senseless killings have continued not only in Southern Kaduna, Plateau state, Benue state, Borno State but since the year 2021, a gang of armed militia has taken over the Southeastern part of Nigeria. Here, they specialize in kidnapping, murder, dismemberment of their victims, attacks and killings.

During the gearing up for the 2023 General Elections, the whole thing about APC and their decisions spelt doom for Nigerians – not just the ‘Muslim-Muslim ticket or the ‘Emilokan’ slogan; it was a struggle and tussle for power between the owners of Nigeria (old order) and the general goodwill, the emerging political movement of the ‘Obidients’.

Overly, the masses all over the country are seen facing the harsh realities of life having been left on the margin. The West and the United States of America, due to the ‘interest’ they have in Africa or Nigeria, are not perturbed by the agonies and weeps of those in the shadows of the society in Africa.

Poverty and insecurity have become a way of life in Nigeria. On Thursday, 18th May, 2023, a gang of cultists attacked a community in Anambra State leaving five family breadwinners dead and setting property worth ₦10 Million ablaze. It happened that due to the incessant snatching of Keke (tricycle) and Okada (motorcycle) from those who use it as a source of livelihood, aggrieved mob in Awgbu Town in Orumba North Local Government Area, captured armed robbers along Awgbu-Amaokpala axis; handed two over to the police and summarily executed one of them, reasons best known to them.

The weight of unhappiness in a world that can be so cruel came upon this community as a group of cultists surrounded the Eke-Awgbu Market the next day on a reprisal and shot sporadically, killing some, while others escaped with bullet wounds. After the shooting and setting property on fire, the gang left a letter in the market that the community should expect them any moment.

The report has it that everyday in the community, residents are scared to come out and those who come out from time-to-time experience panic-attacks. A local market comprising of villagers now open half day with fear and trembling. This is but one face of hardship and the stories they carry.

This is a community that has recently buried the wife of her traditional ruler and his royal majesty himself is critically ill. Such a town is again thrown into mourning, and groaning as the President-General of the town union, Hon. Emmanuel Akidi is running helter-skelter seeking for assistance and aid because what has befallen the community is too grievous.

The people of Awgbu Community need an assurance from the government that they are safe, secure and protected. Many state governors in Nigeria are completely lost out due to the overwhelming challenges they get every day from assailants. This is what happens when poverty and insecurity has stolen your sense of belonging.

It is the fate of Nigerians in their struggle to get their daily bread. All these uprisings are unlike the Igbos. This is not the attitude nor the spirit of an Igbo youth. Without any iota of doubt, forces, groups and gangs have taken over the whole enclave of Nigeria; terrorizing and maiming innocent citizens.

Fortunately, so many Nigerians are sustained by the love of God. Sustenance, provisions and protection for any Nigerians is a prayer answered. Redeeming the time and clearing the rot in the system of governance is not the primary goal of APC Government. More loans are being approved and collected; litigations are everywhere in the courts; the political class are receiving their VIP treatment and immunity everywhere and it does seem that Nigerians are searching for hope in a sea of despair. The conduct of 2023 General elections has shown every Nigerian that there is absence of law and order, breakdown of government institutions and the result is chaos and anarchy.

Matter of fact, it is and should be the glory of kings, leaders and presidents to search hidden things out. The ongoing instability and ensuing anarchy are the function of Leaders to find out the causes and proffer solutions. If our leaders have personal struggles, different motivations, vested interests, emphasizing their effort to survive or exploit the chaos to their gain, what should the masses and citizens do? If the leadership of Nigeria fails to discover, unravel hidden matters rocking the country, who else could do that?

The effects of the chaos could have a long-term effect on social cohesion, infrastructure, economy and the environment. Since 1970 till date no man from the Southeastern part of Nigeria has come closer to being the president of the country. In the 1980s, late Dr Alex Ekwueme came closer to becoming the vice-president but it was considered a terrible mistake of a lifetime.

In 2023, Nigerians found another Igbo man capable and qualified to clean the rot in the system of governance in the country but the king makers and owners of Nigeria have vowed it will never  happen. While in court to reclaim a stolen mandate, enchanters of chop make I chop has already announced that since the return of democracy in Nigeria in 1999, the Supreme Court or the Tribunal has never removed any president announced winner by the electoral body (INEC).

What could be the psychological toll of these on individuals and the collective psyche of the nation? Nigerians are good people. Nigerians do not give up easily. The vision and hope of a new Nigeria is possible. The resilience and ingenuity of Nigerians is unequaled. Throughout these trying periods, Nigerians have shown bravery, compassion, cooperation and an indomitable human spirit even in the face of extreme adversity. The Judiciary may fail as an arm of government but they can never fail Nigerians.

Obiotika Wilfred Toochukwu writes from Lagos State.