Date Published: 07/15/10
Nigerian Leaders: Deaf, Blind and Unconscionable By Idang Alibi
Do President Goodluck Jonathan, the 36 governors, members of the National Assembly, the ministers, local government chairmen and other of our political leaders at various levels of government tune to our local TV and radio stations? If they do, have they noticed of late an increase in the number of indigent Nigerians who come out through these media to appeal to kind -hearted compatriots to contribute to raise a fund to enable them to seek treatment abroad for some ailment, especially kidney-related condition and cancer?
I have been told by those who are familiar with the ways of our leaders that many of them neither watch local TV stations nor tune to domestic radio stations. I have been informed that most of them are permanently hooked on CNN, Sky News, Aljaazera and Super Sports and the BBC, Radio France International and the VOA. It is therefore possible that they may be blissfully unaware of the plight of an increasing number of Nigerians who are dying because there are no medical institutions and facilities available locally to offer them care when they take ill and they do not have the means to go abroad to get help.
But if our men of power are disconnected from the daily reality facing the average Nigerian because they do not patronize the local media to get intelligence about the state of affair in the country, do they close their eyes when they are chauffeured through some of the major streets of our towns and cities? Or are they so deaf that they do not get to hear of unusual things happening around?
I ask this question because about three or four weeks back, the major roads and streets of Abuja, the federal capital where most of our men of power and influence reside, was taken over by bands of supposedly public spirited citizens who took it upon themselves to raise funds for some helpless Nigerians suffering advanced stages of cancer. No man with blood running in his veins would see some of the patients being paraded looking like aliens from outer space will fail to shake his head for the lack of conscience among those who are in office to see to matters like this.
The question I kept asking when the ‘parade of the poor sick souls’ was allowed to be staged in Abuja for those few days was: are our leaders blind of sight or is it that their minds have become so calloused that they are no longer moved by such pathetic sights and the plight of fellow countrymen and women? What was the response of our government?
It was said that our highly patriotic and vigilant men in authority discovered that the brains behind the crusade to draw attention to the plight of those citizens and thousands of others out there were far from being public-spirited; that they are in fact sinister men with an eye for profit. That those people went to many rural villages and recruited those pathetic figures and brought them to Abuja to use and fleece money out of sympathetic Nigerians. The Social Development Department of the FCT is therefore reported to have charged the ring leaders to court for a crime called “corporate begging”.
And if I know my country well and the way our leaders react to issues, that ends the matter. State might has been used to silence those who sought to prick the unprickable conscience of our leaders even if their motive was far from being selfless. No one in authority will be moved to look critically at the main issue which is why citizens should suffer from such ailments and there is practically no way they can get medical attention whatsoever only for them to become objects to be further exploited by smarter fellow compatriots.
Do our leaders realise that each time a Nigerian is shown on TV asking for donation for sums ranging from three to eight million Naira to be able to go to India, South Africa or Egypt or any where else for that matter to seek medical solution, it is an indictment against our leadership? A few weeks back when those poor men and women with horrible looking cancer affliction were being paraded on the highways and byways of Abuja, did the SSS not tell the authorities the security implication of such a public indictment? Were they not told that it is indeed a public incitement against the insensitivity and bankruptcy of our leaders? Do our men of power not realise that violent revolutions are sparked off by infuriating happenings such as some citizens of a stupendously wealthy nation like Nigeria dying of curable diseases because their leaders do not care for the well being of the people?
Can some one please tell me what it will possibly cost to build, staff and equip a world-class kidney or cancer hospital that our governments are unable to get us even one to take care of poor people who have no access to steal public funds?
When this issue sparked off a discussion in a recent social gathering, I found the contribution of one pastor particularly educating. He said many of the men and women in power in Nigeria today got their power from Satan and as a part of the covenant, they were required to sacrifice human beings. Some, he said, hire people to slaughter fellow human beings and remove their genitals or other vital organs for the occultic sacrifices. Men and women who show absolutely no qualms killing healthy persons why should they be moved by the plight of sick people who want their damaged kidney for instance to be repaired, he asked.
If this does not help to explain what is going on, what else ever will?
Mr. Alibi is a member of the Daily Trust Editorial Board