Was government credible in the past? Yes, of course to a great extent. Today government spends dizzying resources to make itself look credible; to campaign for people’s support. The media are awash with such campaigns. But government loses every opportunity it has to make itself the darling of the people. I don’t think many people, including me want to listen when government is talking:
Somebody is kidnapped. The government is promptly informed, through their police. They drive into the scene of crime and arrest as many people as possible – those, in their wisdom they call suspects. For them to step an inch into the matter, you must give big money, not minding that a huge ransom will be landed on you when the hoodlums call you. No sympathy on you about this. You must pay for their fuel and transportation and whatever claims they may come up with. The government, they represent know about this, but pretend not to know. In getting involved they regard it as a favour they are doing you. They tell you they are working for you, helping you in your personal trouble. It is not a duty they are employed to do, and a service they render to their country and yours.
However, do you know that their presence is gra-gra, to get as many people as they can who will pay them for their release – their own ransom too. That’s the end of their involvement. In the case I ‘m referring to, they demanded N10,000 from each of the 7 suspects and ended up collecting N50,000 after a grueling negotiation with their parents. Meanwhile the suspects, including young girls had been de-humanized in many ways, by being assaulted, left un-fed, and jam-packed like sardines in a smelly, dirty cell. When these people return home, undeserving of any these ill treatments, they are expected to love their country respect the government and be patriotic? Will they ever speak well of the government? Simple misconduct on the part of government’s functionaries that damage the government a lot, but they don’t know or care. I believe they know, but they think nothing will happen.
Well, about the kidnapped man. Government did nothing, absolutely nothing. The kidnappers had free rein. They called the relations of the man in their keeping, demanded and negotiated their ransom, went personally and collected the bags of money in the city center and walked away. They had pummeled their captive stupid to their heart’s content and sent him away, because they had been paid. They dropped him in the middle of nowhere for him to trace his way home.
The public wonders aloud: from where did the boys get their expensive automatic weapons, which all 8 of them had? The most likely source is the government – the same government whose main duty under the constitution is to ensure our security. How come the rogues met no army/police check-point as they drove away their captive in the booth of his car on a road where there was always one check-point or more everyday? That very day the road was clear for them.
The government did not go after the kidnappers. It did not free the kidnapped person, or try to do so. It did not prevent his being hurt. If he came back or not, they did not know. It did not try to prevent the huge ransom demanded being paid. Government is not crying about Emenike Ihekwoaba, a perm sec. in their service, who was taken while serving them. They let his wife alone to cry and to be the bereaved alone. This will give you an idea what is happening about the Chibok girls, we are being told are being frantically looked for. A man highly distressed by this incident said to me “when you write (if you can write it) put it to them that I said they are accomplices and collaborators with kidnappers and robbers who bear arms and do smart and clever operations. They protect them and share their loot. It is business for them. The bad boys cannot be as wonderful as they seem. Their effrontery is too much. They must have official cover, the man alleges.
“In the Banks, you deposit money and they deduct whatever they like, whenever they want. They don’t need to inform you. It is because they (government) are collaborators. They share in the loot. Where does this happen in the world? You can’t complain to anybody. Not to the people who govern you and cheat you in their banks as well. The public cannot respect a government that does this sort of thing.
At the government hospitals, they do everything to squeeze money out of every sick person that comes. The government knows about this. It matters not if you are poor and cannot afford it. They give you a list of unnecessary tests you pay for before being attended to. The cost of the care you receive is inflated. Most of the doctors have their private hospitals where they try to direct you at the expense of the government hospital that employs them. One employs a man, and he diverts any business that comes to you to himself! Government can’t say it is not aware of this. It blesses this deed. So you have nowhere to complain to.
The Road Safety or Police stop you, fault or no fault. They demand bribe. And that money is like NIgeria’s unity. It is non-negotiable. Nowhere to complain to! These people are the very agents of the so-called government. They should receive the complaints.
In schools, though education is said to be free, the head teachers impose their levies at will and you have no choice but to pay up. The government says nothing, sees nothing and does nothing. It is helpless. In the universities, the issue of sorting is done with impunity. It is out of hand. The fine girls are especially at risk. The lecturer openly and fearlessly demands sex from them in exchange for everything. The males pay cash. They cannot complain. These go through school learning that money is earned that way. Who will un-teach that? The government pretends it does not know what is happening. This affects the credibility of government so much. But it does not care. It does not matter. Is there any government? Where is it? Show me.
PHCN (NEPA) is another case where government can never be credible in the eyes of members of the public. Doesn’t government as individuals or an establishment know what this arm of theirs is doing with the people? Of all the things they do, they did not let us see much of the world cup, not even when Nigeria was playing, not the final between Germany and Argentina. Besides, the government peddles a lot of fallacies, astonishing lies and falsehood, expecting people to buy them. People are so much intimidated. They cannot say their minds.
At this juncture I ask, when will government show its face, bare its fangs and deal with the numerous challenges facing it and all of us? Is it when we’re all dead? The inescapable truth is that what is called government is doing nothing about making itself credible. Government’s flanks are so open that a confidence vote has become necessary – not on individuals in government but on the whole concept of government. Is it doing what it is there to do for us? It is doubtful if government will survive any such vote as at today.