Godwin Tsa, Abuja
It was Tuesday, September 12, 2018, and residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, woke up to behold a horrific and near suicide one-man protest.
Perched on the zenith of a 50-metre telecommunications mast overlooking the seat of power was a 26-year- old undergraduate, Nura Iliyasu.
His deadly action was informed by alleged bad leadership dished out to hungry Nigerians on daily basis by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
Those attracted to the scene expressed shock at the guts of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) student even as they glued their feet on the foot of the mast with eyes gazing into the sky.
Among them were security personnel. They questioned and wondered at the reason that could push a man to embark on such a suicide mission. Answers to their inquisitions were, however, contained in the protest flyers scattered at the foot of the mast.
Up in the sky, the young man from Kaduna State said he was not in a hurry to come down but intended to spend seven days in his scary home.
In those flyers, Iliyasu lamented the bad leadership of the present administration and called on the opposition political parties to unite and produce a formidable candidate that would take over the leadership of the country and salvage it.
He explained in the document titled “Another Season of Dashed Hope” that his protest was against national indirection, hunger, starvation, ungodly generic poverty, youth redundancy and hopelessness.
He was also protesting what he termed schizophrenic governance, souring foreign-exchange, high commodity prices; dysfunctional refineries and textile industries, elites’ medical tourism abroad; continued kidnappings and other negativities, which he claimed are too numerous to mention.
He chronicled the alleged deficiencies of the Buhari administration to include “battered and mutilated economy, spear headed by devalued Nigerian currency comparative to the dollar and other foreign currencies; affront, total and disobedience to the rule of law with impunity, thereby
rubbishing judicial independence, checks and balances as enshrined in Nigeria’s Constitution; uneven and selective war against corruption as amplified by the political stigmatisation and prosecution of political opposition under the aegis of anti-corruption.
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“Life today in Nigeria is evidently not dissimilar to the Hobbesian State of nature in which life is too nasty, brutish and short. Hyperinflation is strangulating our people, starvation is prematurely snuffing life out of our people; deprivation and hopelessness is stagnating our youth progress from achieving the perennial slogan of leaders of tomorrow.”
“Political hypocrisy and presence of selfish greed and in patriotism fuelled by insatiable and bottomless stomach had combined to cause perpetual indirection and leadership bewilderment.”
Although his initial plan was to spend seven days in the sky, he was, however, convinced to come down the second day by some lawyers. He had padded himself with clothing apparently to protect himself from cold.
He spoke: “What we are going through in this country is not from God. Some microscopic individuals hijacked all that God endowed Nigeria with, for a decent life. We can’t continue like this.
“I climbed the mast for a seven-day hunger strike, to protest incompetence and cluelessness, to protest impunity and the general docility by the masses.
“Nobody sponsored me to do what I did. I am in a very stable condition and I decided to do what I did. I am full of life and I am mentally stable.”