By Donu Kogbara
SOME of the rice farmers who were murdered by terrorists were decapitated. I first saw images of their severed heads lying beside their bloodied corpses on Monday; and I was absolutely devastated. I shed tears at intervals all day.
This horrifying massacre in Borno State touched a raw nerve nationwide. My colleague at ThisDay newspaper, Olusegun Adeniyi, beautifully captured the zeitgeist earlier on this week.
In The Verdict, his column, Adeniyi said: “There is no worse position for a leader than when ardent supporters and implacable opponents sing from the same hymn book. That precisely is where President Muhammadu Buhari is today. On Tuesday, the Northern Elders Forum, NEF, demanded the president’s resignation for his inability to tackle mounting security challenges in the country.
“In civilised nations, leaders who fail so spectacularly to provide security will do the honourable thing and resign,” they said in the strongly worded statement signed by spokesman, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed.
I couldn’t have put it better myself and couldn’t agree more. I and millions of Nigerian citizens voted for Buhari in 2015 because I thought that a professional soldier who promised us Change would dynamically tackle a security crisis that his civilian predecessor, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, had not been able to overcome.
Words cannot express my intense disappointment that he has failed so woefully.
A friend recently attended a meeting at which those who had elected Buhari in 2015 and 2019 were asked to apologise and pray for forgiveness. My friend, being one of the “culprits”, was happy to comply with this request because she feels so guilty for being one of those who foisted Buhari on Nigeria.
Angry Nigerians keep blaming the service chiefs for the breakdown in law and order…and keep talking as if this country’s security problems will disappear overnight if the service chiefs are removed.
I beg to differ. As far as I am concerned, the buck stops very very firmly on Mr. President’s desk. As far as I am concerned, what his underlings do or don’t do boils down to what they know that he as commander-in-chief will or will not tolerate.
As far as I am concerned, if Buhari as a leader disciplines, encourages and inspires the society as a whole, Nigeria will be a much better place on multiple levels.
But one simply gets the feeling that he is not that interested in our collective welfare…and that even within his Northern Muslim home base that has kindly displayed so much loyalty towards him, his attitude towards endless deaths and profound poverty is nonchalant.
Buhari is neglecting a country that has given him the opportunity to be a two-time head of state. And I don’t think we should sit around politely waiting for him to do the right thing and resign.
Since Mr President has resolutely refused to show us the paternal love we deserve from a boss who enjoys enormous privileges that are funded by us – as in taxpayers, owners of oil-producing communities, etc – the National Assembly legislators should do something useful for a change (to justify their obscenely huge pay packets) and stop pussyfooting around and impeach him!
The issue of race
- D Elizabeth Pinneh is my friend Andrew’s daughter. Elizabeth is based in the UK and I promised to share her thoughts about race with Vanguard readers:
The question of race across the globe is something we all know is being answered on a daily basis, when we look at marginalisation based on the colour of a man’s skin and race. Across the six continents, there is currently a narrative which has predominated for over 400 years.
A narrative where people of colour, be it in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Australasia and even in Europe, have been marginalised by the Western world. First, through colonialism and then in the name of ‘democracy’.
Here we will focus specifically on the issue of race in Britain; one of the most tolerant societies in the world. Through this microcosm, we will understand that even in a ‘tolerant’ society, we still have a long way to go, in creating an equal space for people to thrive and live regardless of their race and the colour of their skin.
Let’s begin by looking at employment; after all, it is by this means we are able to provide for our families; it is also the means by which communities are able to build wealth that is transferred down generations.
A study conducted and published by the British government in September 2019, looking at households with persistent low income found that eight per cent of White people surveyed, earned an average income below the national average, whilst 18 per cent of Asians and 14 per cent of Black people were below the national average.
This tells us that people of colour are two times as likely to be in households earning an income below the national average compared to White people. Now, one may want to argue that this is because they are the ‘natives’ in the country; so, of course, they will naturally earn more than other races because they understand the ‘system’ more, whether it be the educational system, the employment system or just a general awareness of the opportunities that are available within the country.
This is debunked by the fact that seven per cent of White other (Non-British) respondents were recorded as a having an income below the national average, which tells us that even if you are an immigrant but White, you still have an advantage over people that are non-white and seen as ethnic minorities.
Next week, I will publish more of Elizabeth’s observations.