It is said in Igbo proverb (South East of Nigeria) that “Ebulu Ozu onye Ozo, odika ebu ukwu Nku.” Translated: “when another person’s corpse is carried, it seems as if it is a bunch of firewood.” The proverb seems to summarise the above reaction of the Nigerian government amid social unrest from Nigerians. They are demanding an end to police brutality and other social ills, amongst them, unemployment, poor education and housing, decayed health system, miserable infrastructures, endemic corruption, mismanagement, nepotism, marginalisation, impunity, to say the least. Despite the cries of Nigerians in the face of these naked social injustices that engulf them, the Nigerian government has turned deaf ears and blind eyes to the plight of its citizens. Why? “Ebulu Ozu onye Ozo, odika ebu ukwu Nku.”
Who feels it knows it. Nigeria is incredibly rich in every sense of it. It has abundant mineral resources, fertile land, enviable human resources, untapped high-skilled youths. These positive features can be utilised by any serious, responsible, patriotic and visionary leader to make Nigeria a world-class economy, as well as elevate the country to a global apex height. But Nigeria has been turned into a mediocracy of sycophants, careerists and yes-men, who have hijacked integrity. Hence the insatiable desires of the minority Nigerians have come above the basic needs of the Nigerian majority. Nigeria has become a country where mediocrities rule over experts; it is an inglorious entity, where tribal, religious and geographical affiliations take precedence over professionalism, intellectualism, intelligence and capability. The result: millions of Nigerian youths have been locked up in a zoo of unemployment, with a hopeless future. On the other hand, a few fastidious scavengers feed fat on the misery and the precariousness of the downtrodden.
You can beat a child, but you cannot forbid it from crying. Nigerian youths have been since immemorial, betrayed, beaten and subjected to immeasurable inhuman conditions. Nigerians are now crying. The government of Nigeria cannot force them not to cry. It is their right to show their pain, sadness and miserable feelings, and it is indeed natural for someone in such a hazardous situation to react so. Nigerians have now woken up from years of slumber in the face of oppression, injustice and negligence. They forcefully demand their rights and accountability from their leaders. Instead of taking the demands of their citizens seriously, the Nigerian government has preferred to, deploy “all police resources” amid unrest. The latest unrest by the youths has rattled the Nigerian oligarchy. They feel their grip on power threatened, hence the need to respond aggressively.
Is that the best way to come of the years of injustice? Have we not learnt from history? Unlike before, the international community is closely watching. Whatever the case may be, Nigeria may not be the same because it is the same mindset that has put the country where it is today. For sure: “Ebulu Ozu onye Ozo, odika ebu ukwu Nku.”