Opinion: Let sit down and negotiate by Spence Adeniyi

Like Film Village In Kano, Like Refinery In Kaduna. Film village in Kano, refinery in Kaduna; when is the FG going to build a port in Katsina, a sheabutter and cashew nut processing plant in Uyo and a camel deport in Owerri? How about a wind farm inside the forests of Ogbomosho?

Nothing here is done with common sense and clear, sincere, ulterior motive-free, well thought out policies in mind. Schools, institutions, etc are located based on how the Oga at the top want to “bring development to his people.” The former president even made sure a Fed uni was placed right in his village!

And you know why? Because this is not a country. Nigeria, like Niyi Osundare once posited is like a giant beast killed and dropped in the town square for bold villagers with sharp knives and huge carryon bags to cut and take home.

Until we realise that we are just liars and cheats trying to cut out from the national purse as much as a we can for ourselves and our people, until we realise that we only pretend to be a country because free petrodollars are flowing in from the impoverished and horribly devastated Niger Delta, and sit down to rearrange and renegotiate, soldier go, soldier come, we will continue to go in circles like experimental rats.

Have you ever sat down to look at how Nigeria really is? How it’s structured like a giant Mafio-Yakuza arrangement designed to favour a few bold enough to damn God, conscience, humanity, the laws (where such are) and just take away as much as they can?

Have you truly studied how ordinary nobodies become CTC LGA chairmen for 3months and turn millionaires overnight?

Have you looked at how just a few months into office, a governor, commissioner, councillor, a member of the State Houses and National Assembly become huge power brokers and billionaires overnight?

And you think elections will be free and fair?
You think I will sitdown to work or deliver on any campaign promises after spending billions and lots of lives to get to my political position? Are you OK?

Have you studied how the NLC, a body that extorts huge dues from workers yet act unconcerned even as governors (like Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike) under the guise of verifying workers’ details for endless months refuse to pay salaries for months on end but yet go on air everyday to declare how they are not owing anybody?

Have you studied how the MDCN and the NARD exploit doctors, especially fresh graduate doctors even when extorting huge amounts as monthly and yearly membership dues from members? Do you know how CMDs cut huge amounts from the meagre 200K/month of House Officers? How their institutions take several numbers less than the qouta alloted to them but yet collect the same allocations for salaries meant for the original numbers they are supposed to take?

How about the pension bodies?
Ever noticed how pensioners go through hell yearly begging for their pensions even when there are compulsory pensioners’ associations extorting huge amounts from these poor people every time a few dimes drop?

All round this ridiculous pastiche of a country, the story is the same; nobody is looking out for you; not your governor (ask Benue people being killed every fourth night by raging herdsmen), not Mohammadu Buhari, not the head of that association that takes part of your monthly salary as membership dues, not your LGA chairman who lives several kilometers away from the local govt council headquarters he heads.

Nobody has your back in Nigeria.

Those shouting about patriotism are either disconnected from prevailing imperatives or beneficiaries of the putrefaction.

Those saying the unity of Nigeria is not negotiable are beneficiaries of the wasteland or ignorants disconnected from the uselessness and impossibility of getting water out of a stone, because the only way out, the only way we can make progress as a true country is to restructure, rearrange, renegotiate, so everyone allows Kano to have its mosques and madrassas and Calabar its film villages and brothels. Nothing encourages progress more than the freedom to dictate what you define as your own progress. A thousand film villages in conservative Kano is not progress!

It is sheer mischief, that same idiocy that had oil money taken from Oloibiri to build a refinery in Kaduna, or revenue from secular music, alcohol and pork in Lagos to build roads and hospitals in Gombe that insisted on having a film village in Kano. Would the desert of Nevada have transformed into the glittering glamour that is Las Vegas if oil revenue was simply plowed yearly from the trenches of North Dakota and Texas to feed the politicians and citizens of the cactus wasteland?

It is that same “spreading of national development” that allows cronyism, nepotism posing as national character and affirmative action to deny brillant kids the chance to excel in their courses and institutions of choice because someone sat somewhere to fix different JAMB cut off points based on a silliness called catchment area and state of origin…

Reset this damn geographical expression, set passions free, set dreams free, set citizens free; let those who dream of endless minarets have their minarets; let the tomato-rich states exploit their gift; let Benue seek revenue from its rich farmlands; Eko from its entertainment glory; Aba, Nnewi, Akwa and Onitsha from their endless industry and trade; the Forcados and Escravos and Oloibiri from their crude oil….Idumota, Tinapa, Upper Iweka from their films…. Only a death-craving southern fool will travel from Lagos to Kano for some film village.

The only way out is to sit down and talk and negotiate. Seriously.

Adeniyi Spence Orimadegun writes from Lagos