• Monday, June 17, 2024
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BusinessDay

Thou shall not shoot (2)

Buhari to attend Commonwealth conference on governance, climate change in Rwanda

Clearly, President Muhammadu Buhari is, by his own admission, disinclined to shooting. That should provide a measure of reassurance and comfort as we seek to navigate our way through looming confrontation between the #EndSARS protesters and the government.

To get directly to the crux of the matter – how do we prevent a recurrence of the disruption of a peaceful protest by hoodlums and the subsequent shooting which is still under investigation? After sifting the genuine protesters from the hoodlums, thugs, bandits and mob for hire, we are still left with the problem, which according to the President of the World Bank, David Malpass, we are yet to deal with:

The working class has deteriorated and meshed with the underclass. How do you convert the amalgam into the learning class after all these years of abandonment and neglect? Lagosians have every reason to be aggrieved. We have been treated shabbily by Nigeria which has dumped a huge underclass on us – far beyond what we can cope with.

At least it was an experiment that went wrong and at worst, wilful neglect without any regard for the consequences.

This is the time for sober stock-taking and the redefinition of our cultural heritage as we contend with the incongruity and ambiguity of being strangers in our own land. Somehow prosperity has become indexed with government patronage but the cards are stacked against us. The “Ajejis” (invaders) are the ones calling the shots. The category of overnight billionaires has been boldly branded “Reserved”. Indigenes have to forage for survival not to talk of prosperity.

Yesterday on Resilience Television, the quizmaster demanded answers to:

(i) How many indigenes of Lagos are in prison and why?

(ii) Why are so many children of prominent Lagos families on drugs – eventually ending up in psychiatric hospitals?

Nobody seems to care; not to talk of answer, data and statistics.

That is precisely why the reality check must kick in.

To start with, how do we convince the underprivileged that we are able to persuade the government to work for them or is it grand deception?

How do we prevent a recurrence of the disruption of a peaceful protest by hoodlums and the subsequent shooting which is still under investigation? After sifting the genuine protesters from the hoodlums, thugs, bandits and mob for hire, we are still left with the problem

According to Mike Quigley:

“The real cost of corruption in government whether it is local, state or federal is loss of public trust.”

Read also: Stop the killing of #EndSARS protesters Hillary Clinton tells Buhari, Nigerian Army

However, Lagosians have drawn their own conclusion:

“What it takes for evil to thrive is for good men (and women) to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke.

We must make it abundantly clear that we have nothing whatever against non-Lagosians. Indeed, diversity in identity should be our strength not a burden.

According to our ancestors from time immemorial the Almighty has been showering his abundant blessings on Lagos. We have always been willing to share those blessings with others – be they friend or foe.

Like the United States of America, we have maintained an open door policy:

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.”

Our stories may be different but we must as a nation deliver a united message to the rest of the world on account of our shared destiny.

On my last visit to the United States of America, I delivered an address to Lagosians in Texas. The topic was:

“How To Disagree Without Being Disagreeable.”

They have invited me to deliver another address on either:

(i) The Debts of Lagos State and the Exit Strategy.

Or (ii) How come in this day and age water tankers are still

Plying the roads (even in prime areas of Lagos – Ikoyi;

Victoria Island; Banana Island etc.) ?

As if those two issues are not sufficiently challenging, I have another invitation to speak at Burford, Oxfordshire, England on the even more daunting task of :

“Nigeria’s huge debts: Who is going to pay and how ?”

As for Lagosians in Australia and New Zealand, what they are proposing is a joint conference in Sydney or Auckland first week in January 2021 but they are somewhat baffled that among the names of firms of Chartered Accountants engaged by the government to audit Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation; Central Bank of Nigeria; Nigerian Ports Authority, Lagosians are conspicuously missing. It is the same story with regard to the long list of firms who have been engaged to carry out the Forensic Audit of Niger Delta Development Commission. Haba !!

However, nothing would explain the pot holes that are all over Lagos – even on the Marina, Ozumba Mbadiwe Street, Victoria Island; Muri Okunola Street, Victoria Island etc.

As for the railings on the Third Mainland Bridge, they have been plundered by bandits who melt them and sell them as fake jewellery!!