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THE DEARTH OF “PROGRESSIVE” LEADERSHIP IN NIGERIA

Note: First published on November 13, 2019. The “published” date on the tab is the date that it was uploaded on this new site.

SubTopic: THE SENSELESS  BAN OF OKADA & KEKE TRANSPORTATION

This is “No Bullshiting,” by Harry Agina.

I start this with a silly compound question, thus: If you happen to be very poor now, do you like or enjoy it; and, if you are not poor; would you enjoy it if you were? Of course, the question is silly because everybody knows the answer. Except you happen to be a masochist, your answer, naturally, must be: Hell doggone no!!! It is a question that progressive leaders ask in expanded form, thus: If I were a slave, or a pauper, or a marginalized female, or minority tribe; or, if I were in any of the other deplorable conditions in society; would I feel good about it?

Since the natural answer is ‘no’ for most rational human beings, then it should be so for our leaders. Hence, a typical progressive leader with good conscience believes that what is good for him/her, is also good for members of his/her constituency. Therefore, the leader makes efforts to lift as many as possible out of those deplorable conditions, knowing that he would hate to be there himself.

“Progressivism” is an ideology that, when applied in politics and governance, insists on government social reform policies that lift the citizenry out of unfavorable situations and conditions. Unfortunately, too many Nigerian leaders today are very wanting in this ideology. They are sadists who seem to derive joy in seeing Nigerians suffer. Transportation is my subject, and here’s my gist.

Some of Nigeria’s leaders today were penniless paupers yesterday. Some of them couldn’t even afford one good meal a day. And, of course, the social luxury of taxicab rides that cost as much as one thousand naira per ride, and above, was out of the question. Their means of transport were 50-naira rides on commercial motorcycles that Nigerians call “okada”, and commercial tricycles called “keke.” The meager monthly incomes of many could not afford taxi rides to-and-fro work for just one week, even if they spent all their salaries or wages on transportation. This has been the reality of the masses of Nigeria in recent times.

Today, some of such leaders who were paupers of yesterday and could only afford the 50-naira “keke” and “okada” rides, are floating in public funds. They can now afford private jet and helicopter rides every day. Some of them with conscience and the fear of God do remember their past sufferance inside the Nigerian rot. So, they try and pursue government policies and projects that lift some citizens out of that hell on earth where they used to be, before God lifted them out. Such leaders are called The Progressives. “Progressivism” is an ideology that, among other principles, insists on government social reform policies that lift the citizenry out of unfavorable situations and conditions. For better understanding, I refer you to a book that is very intellectual, and yet quite easy-to-comprehend. It is titled “Remaking Nigeria With Progressivism.” It was written by His Excellency, the octogenarian former governor of the old Anambra State, Chukwuemeka (Emeka) Ezeife, PhD (Harvard), CON. He is also known as “Okwadike Nd’Igbo.”

Sadly, many of the leaders of today who were elevated from the sufferance in the Nigerian economic rot are quick to forget where they came from. They forget how they rose from the gutters and near-starvation, to their present jet-paced lifestyles. As they embark on some of their heartlessly oppressive policies, they tend to forget so quick how difficult it is for the masses to survive in the present rot called Nigerian economy. Mind you, many of them got where they are today not necessarily because they are smarter than the ones that they left behind; no, sir!!! They just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Some of them were aided by the evil Nigerian Factor that I often condemn. They have now forgotten that the suffering Nigerian masses still need the commercial “okada” and “keke” means of transport to survive, just as they needed them in their poor days.

I speak of the senseless ban of “okada” and “keke” means of transportation of the poor masses by insensitive leaders. The latest victims are the masses of Nigeria’s capital city of Abuja. The city authorities have just joined the growing number of cities that have banned okada and keke. It was sudden this week, unannounced, and without any plan to cushion the negative effects for the masses.

NIGERIA’S FEEBLE & INEXCUSABLE EXCUSES FOR OPPRESSIVE POLICIES

Once upon a journey few years back, I entered Nigeria through the Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos. My friends who came to welcome me were not allowed by the airport authority to enter the lobby. Everybody was kept outside, under the sun, no shelter at all. I asked how come, and I was told that miscreants had been harassing passengers in the lobby. To address that, the authority decided to keep everybody outside, the miscreants, as well as honest Nigerians. What a lazy way to solve a problem!!! Rather than get rid of the miscreants, Nigerian leaders decided on the disgraceful solution of kicking everybody out. Check this out: I noticed that the miscreants were still in the lobby, because they bribed security officers to enter.

I heard a couple of reasons said to be offered by Abuja authorities for banning “okada” and “keke.” They are very similar to the same problem-solving intellectual laziness that was exhibited by Murtala Mohammed Airport authorities. Abuja authorities say that “keke” and “okada” riders often constitute some nuisance on the roads. And, rather than deploy police to sanction the erring riders and enforce orderliness and lawfulness among them, the leaders took the lazy way out. They found it easier to simply ban okada and keke on Abuja roads. They are too intellectually stupid and too insensitive to realize the effects of their decision. They failed to think of the fact that their decision contributes to making life more miserable for the already miserable poor masses. They cannot afford taxi rides and other means of transport.

Also, the ban was very sudden, without providing any alternative to ease the pains of the people. The excuse given by some other cities that banned “okada” and “keke” was that few armed robberies were committed with okada and/or keke. I ask a simple question: How come all all automobiles have not been banned from the streets of Nigeria? Or, are the leaders too stupid to know that robberies are committed with every type of vehicle in Nigeria, huh, huh, huh??? In fact, the leaders should also consider banning movement on foot, because so many armed robberies and other crimes are committed by people on foot, meeeeeeeeen?!!!

Now, and very importantly, there is an inevitable besides the hardship created for the masses, there is a fact that thousands of “keke” and “okada” riders are suddenly put out of work. In the Nigerian society with astronomical shortage of jobs, there is the inevitable consequence of a sudden increase in crimes in the city. Some of those people that have been put out of “okada” and “keke” work have no alternative than go into “whatever” activities to survive. Are the leaders too stupid to realize this inevitable consequence? How many police or Federal Road Safety officers would it take to control the menace of recalcitrant keke and okada riders? I ask. I believe that it costs much more to handle the menace of increase in armed robbery and other crimes in Abuja??? Now, that’s what I call heavy leadership bullshitting, meeeeeeen!!!

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