I was there when optimism filled the air. It was a long time coming. They desperately needed a fresh air, and it came at long last – at the least, they thought. The people had thought that PDP was the cancer that threatened to snitch out their lives. So when they finally toppled PDP out of Lugard House they thought the dawn was certainly near.
It has been so many years of misrule, fraud, corruption and utmost injustice. Virtually everything good was deteriorating fast – education, roads, health – and all. Politicians deceived time and again, making promises that would never be kept. They flaunted their stolen wealth, taunting the common man, leaving wounds of low self esteem and confidence in their wake.
Politics was an ever growing industry, hiring hundreds whose sole qualification was their characteristic ability to expertly drink a carton, break the bottles and let hell lose. Certificates were of little value. Thousands carried it but had no job with it. It was frustrating and soon, the people began to question their values. And questioned why education was important.
Still within the same geographic space, were some political specie that bore the rule. So grotty were they that humanity sighed. They stole at will and ruled with arrogance. As their thirst grew, they began to steal from the just reward of the very poor masses they took an oath to serve. Salaries were slashed. New terminologies like half salary, quarter salary, etc came aboard. They simply made an abode in cruelty.
And the burden became sorer. There were children to feed and send to school. Utilities to pay and a life to live. As their only means of livelihood were slashed only when they got anything at all, old women cried. They wept oceans. Men married depression. Many old pensioners perished on the road. Parents lost control and the ability to parent. Children grew wilder and dropped out of school or joined clubs. So the crime rate increased because it had to. Peace and tranquility was found only in the tales of old. Their psyches were damaged – often beyond repair.
As they struggle every election to better their fortunes, they found this insurmountable mountain that made a mockery of their attempts. Their efforts and votes were reduced to nothing. And so the wailing would begin again – hoping that this time they find kindness and meet a lesser devil in power.
So when over a year ago they finally got one over their perennial curse, their optimism was not unfounded. At the very least they reasoned, the future should be better than the past. Expectations were thus sky high amidst new promises.
But over a year later, not so much has changed. They are still owed so much in spite of the news of the many billions of naira coming in. so they wondered how their lot has fared any better.
To add salt to injury, they’ve been subjected to the strangest screening they’ve ever known. This has bred even more confusion, apathy, bitterness and deep pain instead of lifting the spirit of the masses. They groan and groan more, wondering just how things got this far.
There have just been too many victims. So much so that the good of the deed has been swallowed by the anger and distress it has caused. Their pain was visible to the eye – thick as cloud. As I listened to many of them I reasoned with them that so much could have been done better.
A senior woman who had been in service for 34 years, and having just one year left to retire was dismissed. She started her career as a primary school teacher at a time when the governor was probably in his early primary school days. Where is she to start from now? To start job hunting in old age?
There again was an old man who had not seen his pension for over 14 months. He’s had to travel several times to no avail. And lo, there are loads of such old men and women who had lost their lives on the road.
The stories are so many and so touching. From old men and women to middle aged citizens – the discontent, depression and pain are undeniable. Their hearts are wrenched and their hope sapped. They feel so let down by the thought that the man they had hinged so much hope on has brought this much discomfort. Slowly but steadily, they are coming to terms with the thoughts that the savior has not yet come.
And things have gotten this bad because the man at the helm has not matched his supposedly “good intent” actions with commensurate affirmation, solidarity and support for the suffering masses he was put there to serve. His body language and public guise proves that he care less about how the masses think of him and even less about how they may be suffering. The result is obvious: he has hurt more than he has healed.
Wisdom would have demanded that he takes into cognizant the mood of the people, understand their suffering, listen to how they’ll like to be helped and make an acquaintance of himself with them before introducing policies and solutions that will certainly hurts before it soothes. Then this suffering and clamoring would have been needless.
Now the people still suffer, the governor still feel invincible, the apathy and discontent is still real, and peace and progress still remain a mirage.
When will my people be free? When will Kogi become restful, peaceful, tranquil and prosperous?
God help my people
This was first published about a year ago