Abaribe’s admonition

Sir: For years now, Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe has remained a lone voice crying in the wilderness of the Nigerian Senate over sundry issues. From insecurity in the country, to executive recklessness, judicial inconsistencies and institutional corruption, the former deputy governor of Abia State is pulling no punches. His detractors would be handy with the argument that he is just another pot calling kettle black or point to the rough scrutiny he has had to endure over his association with exiled IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu as the reason for his griping. Whatever his motivation is, the otherwise humane and urbane politician is standing up to be counted on issues that affect Nigerians and many Nigerians stand with him.

His latest exertion has been to ask President Muhammadu Buhari to resign over the deteriorating security situation in the country. On this point, even the strongest of his detractors would struggle to differ. Buhari came into power at a time when Nigerians were crying out for a change from the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, which for 16 years had run a succession of corrupt and inept governments. In unprecedented circumstances, Nigerians handed him their mandate and fate. His vaunted squeaky clean public record and tough talk against corruption fanned the flames of hope among Nigerians who tried very hard to ignore his age and rapidly advancing frailty. Now, well into his second term of four years in office, that hope has all but faded replaced with desperate disappointment and anguish. The standard of living in the country has plummeted, insecurity has worsened and the public space has shrunk considerably as the different security agencies in the country have become more active in their pursuit of imaginary enemies.

There has also been a thinly veiled marginalisation of sections of the country in appointments to fill public offices as religion and ethnicity has taken centre stage. Then there has been the much heralded war against corruption.

That too has stuttered and staggered, taking on different shapes and leaving a lot to be desired among discerning Nigerians. Then there is the never ending talk of a cabal. Nigerians remember with great anxiety the last time a cabal was rumoured to be in charge of the country.

It is safe to say that majority of Nigerians have long lost confidence in the ability of the current administration to take Nigeria to the promised land and the consequences have been dire. The chief consequence is that Nigerians have stopped being believers in the Nigerian project. With this erosion of patriotism and hope has come an abrasive apathy.

Those Nigerians who have the means are abandoning the country in droves, with no intention of returning. Those who stay turn to sabotage at the slightest opportunity. They see it as the only way to survive the jungle that Nigeria currently is. Then, there are incidents that continue to mock the sensibilities of the Nigerian people. Court orders are obeyed at selectively; people are arrested and remanded without orders of court or in outright defiance of such orders. Public properties have been commandeered for private use at intervals. There have also been statements from those in authority which have shown nothing but contempt for Nigerians and the avoidable challenges they are going through. It is in the light of all these that Senator Abaribe continues to speak. Already the voices of dissent are drowning him out. However, those people for whom every act of those in authority would always remain beyond reproach will do well to remember that an unchecked fire in a neighbour`s house would only take time to spread to one`s house.

• Kene Obiezu wrote from Abuja.

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