A video of a young Chinese boy of about eight years, running and firmly holding a transparent cellophane bag of snacks and chased by chickens numbering more 50, which trended on various social media platforms, is apt to describe what happened in the country over the past eight days. The boy was apparently running to eat the snack alone while the chicks were very determined that he alone would not eat the snack. Sensing the fearlessness of the chickens, he ran off, screaming and petrified. But the chickens motivated by the thought of getting a juicy snack would not let him be, they energetically chased after him. The boy cried out loud, ran from pillar to post in search of rescue, the chickens pursued him with equal determination. The boy ran towards his older sister, who tried to drive away the chickens, but the sheer number of them made her efforts futile. They just had to get taste of the snack, probably convinced that it was not right for him to eat the food in his hand alone. For the fact that he was human while the chickens were lesser beings, he thought he could take it, walk home freely and eat it alone. Probably, this had been his habit, but a day came and the birds that he had been maltreating said, ‘Enough is enough, we must fight for our right.’ Armed with that understanding, the birds gathered in their numbers and pursued him with all their strength.
The contest was tough and ferocious. Boy ran to the left and to the right, hoping to outpace the chickens, weeping, firmly holding the poly-bag and intermittently looking back as the horde of chickens pursued, untiring. Exasperated, the boy dropped the poly-bag and the chickens feasted on the snack, the prize for their effort. The short dramatic video clearly deserves an award. It is an epic.
Now readers, why did this video trend at this particular time in our nation? Why was it shown on all social media platforms? Great thinkers would agree with me that it aptly depicted the mood and situation of the nation at present. The singularity of purpose exhibited by the chickens was clear to see. Nigerian youths who worked like Siamese twins during the peaceful protest have sent a clear message to their leaders to expedite all processes to end bad governance.
Interestingly, the several demands of the youths include that leaders and politicians, who are holding the Nigerian economy down through stealing should stop immediately. Leaders and politicians who watched that video and are not remorseful will incur the wrath of God. That video is strong and deep. It portrays the true picture of the cries of citizens. The government that fails to responsibly provide social amenities for the people and has no human feelings for their able-bodied youths should leave the space. Leaders who are old, but refuse to give way for the younger generation to rise and take over, except their own children and friends can no longer be tolerated; leaders whose primary responsibility is to amass wealth for the unborn generations unborn are like the little boy in the video. Politicians who misappropriate funds meant for constituency projects, bailout funds, pension and gratuity, including state funds, will one day be chased by a mass of hungry and angry constituents. A government that cannot provide quality education, standard health care, well-constructed roads, pipe-borne water and electricity for the people, protect lives and property of her citizens as their first primary assignment is deserved to be besieged by a horde of the downtrodden citizenry like the chickens pursed the boy. A government that cannot create jobs for its teeming youths and watches unperturbed as pensioners slump at various screening quarters, clearly qualifies to be besieged by the people, as the chickens did to the eight-year-old boy.
Suffice to say that in the last 60 years of nationhood, the political class has failed this country. There are obvious instances to substantiate this claim. If less endowed African countries could carve out policies, processes and procedures that have led to their emergence of strong economic ties than the biggest most populous Black African nation called Nigeria, it is a big shame. Leaders must be held accountable.
In our nation, most office holders, either elected or appointed to serve the country, think that it is their right to loot the public treasury, while the citizens languish in hunger and agony. For almost two weeks, the #EndSARS# protest went on peacefully until the ill-fated Tuesday night move by the Lagos State government, to deploy armed soldiers to disperse the protesters at the Lekki tollgate, which was like the intellectual nerve centre of the emerging movement formed to push for enthronement of good governance in the country and end police brutality. Agreed, miscreants had infiltrated the ranks of the peaceful protesters, but they were kept in check. However, when soldiers opened fire on the protesters, the control which the #EndSARS mobilisers had maintained at the location, and reinforced nationally via social media posts to ensure the protests remained peaceful was lost. The long-suppressed anger of the hoodlums who had been lurking at the fringes of the peaceful protest was unleashed in an orgy of arson and mayhem that swept over Lagos and across the country, and ultimately led to looting of various warehouses, where COVID-19 palliatives provided by the Corporate Alliance against COVID-19 (CACOVID), which ought to have been distributed to the people, were stored by the state governments.
In hundreds of thousands of social media posts, Nigerians at home and the Diaspora, as well as the international community, lampooned the government and demanded an end to bad governance.
As shown in the video, the little boy after being strenuously chased by the chickens, painfully realized that retaining a firm grip on the snack bag was futile, he dropped it. The video has practically and dramatically taught the wisdom in an Igbo proverb that says in vernacular, “oji ihe nwata welie-aka-elu, aka kaagh-ya, ya eweda-ya.” Translation: anybody who holds a child’s toy above his own head will definitely bring it down when his hand becomes stiff and painful. The boy’s dropping of the snack bag is akin to bringing down the child’s toy by the oppressor-elder in the proverb. The looting, mayhem and arson that happened last week depicted this picture in a very real way.
In the face of the mis-governance, negligence, embezzlement, lies, treasury looting, election rigging, broken infrastructure, economic mismanagement, why would a state government and her officials hoard CACOVID palliatives meant to cushion the drastic hunger, which the socio-economic underclass experienced during the lockdown? When other countries of the world were busy delivering groceries and foodstuff to the doorposts of their citizens during the lockdown, state governments rather hoarded the palliatives provided by corporate donors. When a whole lot of ordinary citizens begged for foodstuff from neighbours, the government kept stocks of foodstuff in warehouses. Daily income earners and private school teachers were the most hit. Some companies laid off staff, other cut salaries by staggering percentages, yet governments that received the taxes of workers did nothing to help them. Hoarding of palliatives was despicable. That was why thousands of people, like the chickens in the video, besieged warehouses where CACOVID palliatives were stored. The homes of politicians were invaded and looted to the point of carting away household items like furniture, freezers, air-conditioners and anything else that was moveable. The condemnable burning, vandalisation and destruction of public and private property were not originally part of the peaceful protesters’ agenda.
For long, politicians have deceived the people during electioneering, to amass wealth for themselves and unborn generations. The #EndSARS protest by youths was the commencement of a process of redressing the injustice and bad governance.
Dear Nigerian leaders, please take time to watch the video of the little boy, reflect on it and do the needful. #EndBadGovernanceNow.