To his credit, petrol become cheaper than water, 80 litres at $2, how much is 80litres of fuel here? And we call ourselves one of the largest exporters.
The death of Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, elicited different reactions. He died after long drawn battle with cancer. He came into power February 1999 and was President until his death in March 2013. On Tuesday, as his death was announced, Naija Twitter went agog with sharp divides: those who thought him a hero and those who don’t. Those against argued that he had a bad human rights record and also sneered at his “standing up against the West (read USA)”, asking if that is criteria for being great. His admirers posited that he was a populist who did his best to alleviate poverty.
As a Nigerian, who has witnessed one bloodless coup, two phantom ones, a successful change from military to civilian rule and now something that looks like a democracy, I sincerely wish we have had or have a Chavez as President. My reasons are simple:
You say he didn’t have stellar human rights records, I ask, what do you expect of a lieutenant colonel? Someone also asked on Twitter, “if his father (not Chavez’s) owns Guantanamo Bay? (this question came in defense of Chavez). The Troy David case. Water boarding of Al-Queda members. Various covert and open operations to take out leaders of sovereign nations. Ghadaffi was ousted in Libya, Boko Haram got instant access to IEDs. The list goes on but I believe you get the gist.
He nationalized their oil, invested the money massively into education, health and infrastructure. Then you tell me he doesn’t qualify to be a hero. Show me that level of commitment in the past and present administrations in Nigeria.
I saw a news report on CNN, in the days leading to the last election in Venezuela, Chavez cleared out on uninhabited region, built town flats, a school and a hospital. All these for the lower and middle class, when was the last time we had that in this country? Oh! Yes! We have the Eko Atlantic City and the Centenary Village.
To his credit, petrol become cheaper than water, 80 litres at $2, how much is 80 litres of fuel here? And we call ourselves one of the largest exporters. How many barrels do we even export per day? Why did #OccupyNigeria happen? Please remind me.
We honestly need to sit in the toilet with our head between our hands and ask some serious questions. Learn to remove the log in our eyes before the speck in someone else’s. Must we copy and paste western democracy? Why can’t we fashion our own variant given our peculiarity? Have you noticed that countries with oil are usually the first to get ‘aid’. The moment the country gets a leader that can’t stand the excesses of foreign oil firms, he becomes an enemy of free market (read capitalism).
Hugo Chavez was a populist and it was obvious he loved his country and the people dearly, no one can take that away from him. Trying to minimize the gap between the poor and the rich isn’t so hard. We need three basic things to exist comfortably: food, clothing and shelter. When you have that, sound health and good infrastructure, the poor won’t end up having the rich for breakfast.
I wish we had a Chavez, maybe, just maybe we’d have good roads , affordable housing, sound health facilities. Maybe, just maybe life wouldn’t be so short and tough in this country.
My heart and prayers are with the people of Venezuela. Adieu El Presidente.
Seun Hunge describes himself as a polyglot, savvy, cosmopolitan, and eccentric. He blogs at www.hounge.wordpress.com
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.