by Atiku Nafisa Emmanuella
When I was serving in Ibadan, I usually traveled back home to Lagos on weekends to spend some time with my family or attend to other work commitments. I would sleep in the bus or the car on the way, in spite of the potholes and perhaps jerky motor parts of the vehicle.
I didn’t know how lucky I was. Fast forward to a few months later, working and shuttling between Lagos and Abuja when I heard of the fire inferno and accident on Lagos- Ibadan expressway, I was sober. Watching videos of how the fire raged, reading eye witness statements of what happened and the lives that were lost; I was struck with the realization of how dangerous it was to live in our country. People usually say, as Nigerians, we are mostly religious. The truth is, when governments and systems have failed us; to where do we now turn to?
This incidence brought up questions about why we were still transporting diesel and fuel in overloaded, rickety vehicles and disastrous roads. In other countries where the system is working, such flammable liquids are passed through pipes or at best transported in the night in safe vehicles. Water hydrants usually line the streets in case of an accident like this. But then again, this is Nigeria. Nothing works.
The violence that week hit closer to home when one of my dear uncles was shot by armed robbers who raided his hotel. Where were the security agents and the police? Without a shadow of doubt, security of lives and property is one of the sacred and most important duty of any government in power. A duty that this government has failed in woefully.
In Plateau state, innocent people were murdered over a span of several days, villages taken and our security agencies were not able to respond to the threat that endangered the lives of the people they had sworn to protect.
In all this, I realised that it could have been me in that Lagos-Ibadan inferno. It could have been me when armed robbers shot in your neighbourhood. It could have been me that was killed in Plateau state when the herdsmen raided their villages. This realisation makes me angry. It’s not enough to keep on praying and hoping things would change, let’s give action to our frustrations, grievances and hurts. Let our ballot papers speak for us. Be angry and vote because it’s your life that is at stake. Societal issues affect us all and not just our neighbours; because the day the chicken comes home to roost, it might be close to your house.