Mar. 27, 2014
When my mates and those junior to me decided to take militancy as a vocation, I did not realize the ‘wise’ decision they took until recently when a militant won the presidency of Nigeria and he was electing his comrade-in-arm into sensitive positions.
The meaning of militancy should not be confined to the criminality in the Niger Delta alone. Although militancy in this region seems to be more profitable, but all form of militancy in the last 14 years of PDP appears to be a good source of cash.
Militancy is the ability to demonstrate that you can handle any form of weaponry; that you are at the request of politician to send everyone scampering on election day; that you could ground state institution and constitute threat to a politician ambition.
In my own state of Kogi, those who demonstrated the skill of handling arms become the beneficiary of PDP poverty alleviation program. Boys, as they are referred to, fill the pay rolls of many local government areas. Your ability to organize the boys automatically earns you the position of a youth leader. This comes with such reward as contract for dredging of gutters, local road construction and presenting list of non-existing local government staff for which you collect salaries. You receive a handsome pay good enough that those school graduates regret ever knowing the book. The counselorship position of your ward is for you to choose.
It appears that those who go to schools nowadays are still yet to realize that the government does not give a damn about education. The quality of the facilities, if any, in our school are eye sores. I was near to tear when of recent I passed by a neighborhood primary schools in the Etahi community in Okene local government. A humane person would not allow even his dog to hibernate there. In almost each dilapidated block of two classrooms, one is a reserved for ‘study’ while the other is an open toilet for the public. How learning goes on there baffles me. At the end, I come to realize that it is the poor parents who have no choice, but value education, who still send their children to such public and community schools.
You still don’t think that militancy receive more attention than education? For how along was the Academic Staff of University Union (ASUU) on strike? What was the Government response to their demand? Nothing. Instead, ASUU became an object of derision to the PDP-led government. Even ex-militants will not receive the kind of belittling ASUU received. The other day when ex-militant were on demonstration, the police ensured nothing happened to these VIPs, in addition to top government officials promptly meeting them to settle their demands. These are just even the junior militants. College of Education and Polytechnics staff have been on strike for only Nigerians know how long.
Some of the senior militants are richer than a state and very influential.
The news making rounds sometime ago was that Tompolo, a marine criminal, who doubles as President Jonathan’s godfather, got a delivery of his own private jet worth 2.12 billion naira. He is in charge of Nigeria Maritime Security. Asari Dokubo, another creek felon, is also a very rich militant. When the Beninoise authority arrested him to give him the message that Benin is not a lawless country like Nigeria where militants reign supreme, the presidency quickly intervened and within hours he was flown to Aso Rock to take rest. Meanwhile, Nigerian students are being detained and murdered across Europe and Asia unjustly and out of racism, but our government does not give a damn. The message is this: who send you to school when militancy is a free enterprise. Even when militants eventually acquiesced to our government demand to send them to school, they are sent to better schools in South Africa and friendly European countries.
Unlike a more taciturn and media shy Tompolo, Asari is a boisterous, media celebrity and a regular guest at Aso Rock- the seat of Nigeria government. I doubt if any of our graduates receives the kind of attention Asari receives in the media. While Asari is a self-confessed drop out, Topmolo managed to pass out of secondary school at the age of 23. Their mates must be ruing in regret.
Militants are in high places in government agencies and department. For instance, Kuku, another known militant, is a presidential adviser on the swindle called amnesty. Gen. Bayloaf has bagged doctorate degree in humanities in peace and conflict resolution in the Niger Delta! A contradiction, isn’t it? Those who refer to them as ex-militant don’t even know what they are talking about. Ex-militant are those who are dead.
Militancy elsewhere across the country receives attention and is profitable. The ECOMOG and the Yansarakusa boys of the northeast region were the handy tools for politicians in that region to win election and drive their opponents into hiding. The Bakassi and Delta boys were convenient for politicians in the southeast and south south. The wee-wee smoking Yandaba in the northwest are equally good tools for election. The Odua people Congress (OPC) is a law unto themselves in the southwest. Their leader, Gani Adams is a delegate to the ongoing Jonathan’s National Conference. Today the government still runs after the misguided Boko Haram elements to accept cash for peace. Truly, I should have been a militant!
This is why I pity the so-called civilian JTF. The government does not reward those who help it but those who take arms against it. In the last couple of months, a number of these voluntary, brave and heroic boys have been murdered by the Boko Haram elements. I have not heard the government announcing a visit to their families let alone giving a cash reward to them. These folks have become a human-shade for the JTF who are actually trained and paid to provide security.
Last week was another tragedy for various schools graduates seeking job. Millions of them spread across the nation hoping to fill less than 5,000 jobs announced by the ministry of the interior. The job did not come but what came was death and injury. Apart being scammed of N1000 each by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), the Minister of the interior, Abba Moro, blamed the hopeless, jobless youth for the cause of their deaths and injuries across the various centres. Interestingly, the minister himself is a militant. He is being prosecuted for gunrunning and illegal possession of arm in his home state of Benue. However, since he became a senior militant, he got the immunity of prosecution as every senior militant is privileged.
Some people have called the minister Moron, from his name Moro. But, truly, Nigerians, especially the so called educated youths, are the real moron who continue to hope where there is none. No one tries that nonsense with the militants. The last time the militants gathered in Abuja was to protest the delayed payment of their monthly allowances. They were begged by government officials to go back to the creek as their grievances would be looked into. They were escorted back to the creek by a detachment of the Nigeria Police Force.
Then, why should I continue to open the pages of books when my mates and those inferior to me are making it big from militancy. This is a contradiction but it is a reality. Our usual line of foolish optimism, E go better.
A.S.M Jimoh (@anehi2008)