By Prince Charles Dickson
To criticize one’s country is to do it a service and pay it a compliment. It is a service because it may spur the country to do better than it is doing; it is a compliment because it evidences a belief that the country can do better than it is doing. Criticism, in short, is more than a right; it is an act of patriotism.
~ J. William Fulbright, The Arrogance of Power (1966).
This week my admonition is more than criticism at Jonathan, PDP or leadership, its criticism at my beloved Nigeria, it is criticism directed at you, yes…you reading this essay and the author.
I have chosen to do us a service, as I penned this, a suicide bomber let go his baggage in Kaduna, and a night earlier a car bomb went off in Bauchi, meanwhile glancing through the morning headlines…Robberies and Kidnaps down South and just for full effects in Delta due to the flood, which sacked a hospital, morgue attendants had to put dead bodies on the rooftop.
Welcome to Nigerianstan as it is in many parts. Very little to cheer about, but some of us won’t give up…even in the face of increasing threats and despair.
I have a wonderful and loving family from Potiskum, they can’t go home, stuck in Kaduna, earlier this year, it wasn’t bad. We all were home for a wedding, but these days we can’t go home even for funerals of loved ones.
They are called Jama’atu Ahlil sunnah Lidda’awati wal Jihad, also known as Boko Haram, but these days the popular term is gunmen, infact ‘unidentified and unknown’.
Indeed it is only in an unknown society that unidentified gunmen simply kill citizenry who are equally at the mercy of unknown soldiers.
In Potiskum, our sister was dragged out of the house, her hubby was away, the house was razed down as she watched with her daughter.
Three Islamic Schools, King Abdulazeez Model Islamic School Iqra and Al-Furqan and seven public schools set ablaze.
Like Kano, house to house searches little success, the gunmen remain unidentified and in cases confirmed by this writer, the houses were arms are found and with links…”Orders are given from above to stay action”.
Nothing happens in Yobe, nay Potiskum, subvention collected and I dare add, stolen in the name of security, no business, schools shut, banks closed, and worship restricted.
Everyone suspects the other. Alhaji and his medical doctor son were killed, even the elder son was advised to stay away from the funeral.
And while many turn the other face because its not your business, Pharm Danbaba Suntai, governor of Taraba, act of self-piloting a little aircraft to crash brings home more realities.
First, I wish him recovery, and while not courting controversy but criticizing us for our collective failure, I ask:
1. When did he get his license to fly, how long has he been flying…how did he get time for flying classes and with all the ‘supposed fatigue’ of governance, should he be exercising this hobby?
2. Very importantly, where is our information management channel, I was informed of the crash some 15minutes after it occurred by a source in USA.
While Taraba and Yola and Nigeria tagged with rumours including the presidency. The likes of NAN, NTA, FRCN were awol?
3. As I write this, Fulanis say they found the crash victims, Airforce say no, and claim credit.
4. The Commissioner of police who should just shut up in Yola says “if Danbaba was an ordinary citizen he would have been discharged”. Thank the Almighty ordinary citizens can’t buy motor spirit ‘talkless’ of aviation fuel. Does he think its an Okada accident?
In the same vein the CMD of the National Hospital lied through their teeth, “There is no need to do any operation on him. He is very stable. Given what happened, we are actually satisfied with the situation at the moment.
What is the essence of a National Hospital that lacks the capacity to tackle an improving, stable crash victim, needing no surgery. Must it be Germany, India, UK and Cape Verde?
Finally, the governor’s condition was stabilized when he was flown out from the Yola international airport to Abuja, and he was ‘very stable’ when he was flown to Germany.
But Aide de Camp (ADC) to the governor, Dasat Iliya is still lying unconscious in a hospital bed…apart from being in a coma has a leg fracture.
The Chief Security Officer (CSO), Timo Dangana, has two fractures on both legs, while the Chief Detail to the governor, Joel Dan has a fractured arm.
They are responding to treatment at the Specialist Hospital Yola but may be transferred to Jalingo once the ADC regains consciousness, not to Germany?
We are treated like rags, what can we do, we were told Dame Patience was resting. She swore she has never been to hospital in Germany but she thanked God for giving her a second chance…do the comprehension.
And I end this conversation, as former Italian Prime Minister and President, AC Milan, a world class football club, Silvio Berlusconi was sentenced to 4 years in jail for tax evasion. Though I hear he would serve out 12 months.
Just tax evasion! It is a big deal, a jail warranted crime. What matters – crime is crime and if jail is deserved, jail must be served.
Here the likes of Silvio Berlusconi and others are above the law.
Nigerians hate Nigeria and themselves. I am part of a forum and could not just understand the rational behind a member’s question “if Danbaba Suntai was a muslim” simply because of Sallah wishes to him.
But really only over-religious Nigerians wish an unconscious patient recovery to eat sallah meat. Only a highly ethno-sensitive nation is on fire ala Achebe/Awo when people can’t eat.
While the usual suspects, shared the PHCN loot, to themselves. To control how much you pay for electricity, how to have it and when to have it. We remain mute…
You and I, are in the South or some comfort zone, you think its a Potiskum problem, Aluu is just Port Harcourt, kidnap on high scale would soon start in the North too…we don’t need a soothsayer to tell the effect of Fashola’s motorbike fight, unemployment in East and more.
The Berlusconis in our midst are known, I am talking/writing, its done at risk to personal life, but one would rather die standing for a cause than murmuring on your knees for no cause. Until we are no longer Nigeria, Potiskum is part of us, there are gunmen everywhere too, the next target could be me or you. Time will tell