They keep on blaming us and I wonder aloud why. Everybody that feels important in this government carelessly pronounces us guilty. They crucify us at the slightest opportunity. We have become their scapegoats, whipping dogs, and we are really weeping.
They just develop weird brainwaves, pointing their dirty accusing fingers at us. They are not wise enough to know that they can only point one finger at us at a time. The remaining four pointing at them make them even guiltier.
Invariably, they successfully blame themselves. So, each time they do this, we just laugh it off. They don’t understand why we laugh. But we know that they are clowns who are certainly more culpable.
Then, they would arrogantly sermonise that we must make sacrifices; we need to be patriotic; we must render selfless service to the country. Good rhetoric.
We are bold to give it back to them that it is not today, not yesterday, that we have been making sacrifices. We have a long history on that.
Flash back: This “sacrifice” entered our lexicon during the military regime of Murtala/Obasanjo, between July 29, 1975, and October 1, 1979. General Olusegun Obasanjo took over after General Murtala Muhammed was assassinated on February 13, 1976. He told us to tighten our belts, which General Yakubu Gowon’s regime carelessly loosened.
His belt-tightening snowballed into Operation Feed the Nation (OFN). It ended in a monumental disaster after Obasanjo exited office.
When President Shehu Shagari came calling, he changed our sacrifice to austerity measures. The belt became tighter, and made a mess of his Green Revolution. That, too, speedily went the way of OFN. That was between October 1, 1979, and December 31, 1983.
Then entered the stiff-necked Muhammadu/Idiagbon military junta. The narrative took a more austere posture. Our sacrifice became sacrifices, packaged in the dreaded War Against Indiscipline (WAI). Draconian decrees were rolled out to back up the package.
We were in that state of fear till August 27, 1985. That was when General Ibrahim Babangida knocked General Buhari off the stage in a bloodless coup. He assumed the title Military President. He then bestowed on us the famed Structural Adjustment Programme, aka SAP.
This sacrifice was total and holistic in nature. And it made the interim government of Chief Ernest Shonekan to continue the “sapping” process. He did this between August 27 and November 17, 1993.
General Sani Abacha did not bother to ask us for sacrifice. He was persuaded he did not need our input in his government. He single-handedly sustained his government till death did him in on June 8, 1998.
Under him, we made serious and bizarre sacrifices. We were practically kept under lock and key. Our lives were in serious danger throughout the dark days he held sway. I was a living sacrificial lamb. I was clamped in the then SSS detention on May 5, 1998, in Ibadan, Oyo State.
The 32-day unpleasant trip took me through the police cell, until I ended in Agodi Prisons. It was one great sacrifice for the sustenance of this democracy. Almost 20 years after, one strange fellow is still telling me to make sacrifice. Graphic details of this sordid experience are well documented in my coming book.
General Abdulsalami Abubakar, who picked up the pieces of Abacha’s mess, was in such a hurry that he forgot completely to tell us to endure the sacrifices forced down on us by previous regimes. All the same, we did it without prompting till May 29, 1999.
When Obasanjo came the second time, he worked on his moribund OFN. He broke it down to his so-called “Local Content.” Whatever that meant! But we knew it was a dubious way of asking us for sacrifice. He pursued it with cassava bread as a case study. He was on it until he was consumed by his disgusting third term agenda.
President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua expanded the scope of sacrifice when he took over on May 29, 2007. He labelled it 10-Point Agenda, using Amnesty as the mainstay. He died on May 5, 2010.
President Goodluck Jonathan continued the tenure. He constantly asked us for sacrifices through his ill-famed Transformation Agenda. He was always assuring us of one thing or the other. When we got bored, he took it to another level by re-assuring us all the way.
We refused to buy his re-assurances after six years of ineptitude in office. He handed over to President Muhammadu Buhari on May 29, 2015.
Since then, it has been endless sacrifices even when we were not prompted. We have lost count of the sacrifices we made in the last two years. Some even made the supreme sacrifice. They are no more.
Yet, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo ignored to appreciate this. He thought we were lazy. That is why he called us out the other day to make more “deadly” sacrifices, even if we lose our lives in the process. Listen to his sermon on Mount Aso:
“The nation requires those who can sacrifice to make it great; they are those whom Jesus spoke about; people who may not be of note, but prepared to make the nation great again.
“There is sacrifice of integrity against corruption. When you speak against corruption, it fights back. So, you must be ready to make sacrifice no matter how highly-placed or small you are. Make the sacrifices to make our nation great whether you are a leader or a follower.”
Pity! Osinbajo was merely exploiting our hopeless situation. He was playing on our intelligence by bringing in religious sentiments. The same person who insisted that fasting and praying would not bring our economy back to shape.
Yet, some lawmakers are adding insult to our bleeding injuries. They are shamelessly toying with the idea of increasing our burden in these perilous times.
They planned to hike fuel price through their bill, National Road Fund. We were told the bill was to be presented by Kabiru Gaya, Chairman Senate Committee on Works. He represents Kano State. Other members of that committee are Clifford Ordia (vice), Mao Ohuabunwa, Bukar Abba Ibrahim, Biodun Olujimi, Ben Bruce, Gilbert Nnaji, Abubakar Kyari, Ibrahim Danbaba, Mustapha Bukar, Ahmed Ogembe, Sani Mustapha and Buruji Kashamu.
The intention is to put N5 on every litre of petrol we buy. Imagine what that amounts to on our lean and meager purse. We pronounce without fear or favour that whoever mulls that obnoxious fuel tax is eternally wicked, body, soul and spirit.
Forget the denial! It was because they were caught napping. It was all wrapped in deceit. The masterminds mean every letter of that bill. We are extremely glad they were exposed. We can effortlessly identify them.
We are convinced we have made more than enough sacrifices. Let every political office holder make less than five per cent of the sacrifices we are making. You will see wonders.
The change mantra will experience real change. Not the cosmetic or make-believe change they are labouring hard to sell. It is a hard sell, we won’t buy into it.
For all we know, our leaders have never made any appreciable sacrifice, not in any form. Yet, they desperately want to turn us to sacrificial lambs for their lesser gods.
We will resist that. God will not allow them that luxury. He is forever on our side.