Sometimes believing in the Nigerian project is incredibly hard. Here are 10 reasons why. In no particular order.
Akwa Ibom first lady tussle
The first official visit of the wife of the President, Aisha Buhari to Akwa Ibom State was marred by a security breach allegedly caused by Senator Godswill Akpabio’s wife, Mrs Unoma Akpabio. The drama occurred at the Victor Attah International Airport, Uyo when Mrs. Akpabio, attempted to assume the responsibility of the wife of the Governor, Mrs. Martha Udom Emmanuel by positioning herself to receive the first lady. Thankfully order was restored
Parade of fake first lady
The treatment meted out to Amina Mohammed, a woman accused by the Department of State Security (DSS) of posing as the first lady of Kogi state to gain entry to the presidential villa was a sad and traumatic display of the state of our institutions. Thanks to the collusion of the DSS officials and journalists at the venue of the press conference, the rights of the lady in question were stripped away as she was treated in a totally undignified and dehumanising manner.
Nigerian Army vs UNICEF
On December 14th, Nigeria suspended the operations of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) accusing the aid group of spying for Boko Haram. Justifying the insipid action, the army spokesperson insisted that UNICEF was “training selected persons for clandestine activities,” claiming possession of credible information that foreign aid agencies and NGOs were training and deploying spies for Boko Haram. The Ban was rescinded hours later but damage had been done.
EFCC’s several embarassing attempts to humiliate banks and MTN
In September, several officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Friday raided the headquarters of Standard Chartered Bank in Lagos. Following the invasion, EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren dissociated the commission from the action, describing the shameful incident as “the handiwork of errant officers who acted without authorization.’’
The current state of Lagos
In perhaps the single worst decision to afflict a mega city, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode introduced the Cleaner Lagos Initiative, a state assembly backed misfire that returned a large chunk of the waste management responsibilities to Visionscape Sanitation Solutions, a foreign firm with no demonstrated competence in managing the over 10,000 tons of waste generated daily by Lagos residents. Lagosians were instead forced to watch with dismay as the state devolved into something from the distant past. Major roads, inner streets and public institutions overrun by filth.
Children protesting for Ganduje
It wasn’t enough that Kano state governor, Abdullahi Ganduje was caught with his hands in the till, shamelessly soliciting and accepting bribes, his supporters managed to introduce innocent children into the mess. Videos and photos showed students in Kano state displaying various placards stating their support for Governor Ganduje. This irrational protest happened when the publisher of Daily Nigerian Newspaper, who exposed the bribe-taking videos of the Governor was expected to testify before an ad-hoc committee set up by the Kano State House of Assembly to investigate the video evidence of Ganduje on the take.
Yaba Market March
On December 15, a group of women-and men- staged a march at the popular Yaba market in Lagos to protest the seemingly ingrained sexual harassment and derogatory sexual slurs that accompany women going about their business. Change is hard but the reaction from some of the traders at the market was dispiriting. Protesters were pelted with stones and water, derogatory remarks were hurled while the men reiterated their ownership of women’s bodies. Sad day to be male and Nigerian, it was.
The illegal arrests of 57 suspected gay men
No fewer than 57 suspected gays were arrested by operatives of the Lagos State Police Command for allegedly gathering to conduct initiation rites. Using choice words like covert operations and subterfuge, the Lagos Police spokesperson paraded the victims, allowing reporters shove microphones and cameras in their faces while triumphantly celebrating their profound feat of policing. It is sad to note that every year, there is at least one incident like this. Shame on us.
Justice for Ochanya
On October 18, 2018, 13-year old Ochanya Elizabeth Ogbaje succumbed to a gruesome five-year sexual abuse ordeal after she died of Vesicovaginal fistula (VVF) and other health complications at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital, Makurdi. According to multiple reports, Ochanya was allegedly molested, defiled, drugged and abused for 5 years by her 52-year old uncle, Andrew Ogbuja, a lecturer in the department of catering and hotel management of the Benue State Polytechnic, Ugbokolo, and his son, Victor Ogbuja.
Fr Ejike Mbaka’s blessings go to the highest bidder
N a now viral video distributed eagerly on the internet, spiritual director of the Adoration Ministry, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka cut a disturbing figure as he berated the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) vice presidential candidate, Peter Obi, for not launching a project for his church, warning him of the consequences. Fr. Mbaka curiously withheld Obi’s blessings, offering to release them only after Obi had done a project for the church. Mbaka would later gloat about this when Kano state’s thieving Governor paid him a visit.
Wilfred Okiche is a medic, reader, writer, journalist, culture critic, and occasional ruffler of feathers. One of the most influential critics working in the Nigerian culture space, his writing has appeared extensively in platforms like YNaija.com and 360nobs.com. Okiche has provided editorial assistance to the UK Guardian and has had his work published in African Arguments, Africa is a Country and South Africa’s City Press. He has received trainings and acquired experience in multimedia and online journalism. He also appears on the culture television show, Africana Literati. He has participated at critic programs in Lagos, Durban and Rotterdam.