THE FOLLY OF THE RECOMMENDATION BY THE FASHOLA-LED GROUP OF SOUTH WEST MINISTERS FOR #ENDSARS PROTESTS COMPENSATION — Maiwada Dammallam

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Southwest ministers seek compensation for victims of #EndSARS attack

According to a report by The Nation newspaper, ministers from states in the West, have recommended Federal Government’s support for those who lost properties in the violence that followed the #EndSARS protests.

It is strange for ministers from the Southwest to recommend support for victims of the #EndSARS protests. It’s not the norm, actually it’s unpatriotic, for ministers to go provincial in applying solutions on what they believe is a national problem or simply want to mischievously have the rest of Nigerians believe is a national problem. It’s quite unfortunate that these ministers, otherwise seen as carefully selected to serve the nation based on their competence, integrity and patriotism, will carelessly abandon these ideals and adopt a rather divisive position not minding their oath of office which demands they deal with all Nigerians without fear or favor, ill-will or affection.

Nothing could be more indicative of selective attitude more than the anomalous disposition of the South west ministers. Where ministers from the North and indeed the President, were patriotic and magnanimous to refuse to see the devastation in the North as a regional issue, opting to see it as a national calamity which should be addressed within the context of Nigeria’s nationhood and of course, within the viability of the Nigerian economy. Why, then, are ministers from the Southwest so selfish, divisive and parochial?

But for the fact that these ministers chose no less a forum to express this divisive recommendation, one would have sworn it’s a communique of a meeting by states’ chapters of the PDP in the South West. To say these ministers are working at cross-purposes with President Buhari and ministers from the rest of the country is, to say the least, sad. Just as much, their lack of appreciation of President Buhari’s resistance to similar tendencies that kept Nigeria lagging behind couldn’t be more obvious.

One may have to remind these ministers the Southwest has already benefited more from President Buhari’s administration than what the combined North benefited from yet, without a whimper either from ministers from the North or citizens from the region. Actually notable Northerners had at different times wrote opinions to justify the seemingly skewed distribution of Nigeria’s resources in favor of the Southwest perhaps, out of a genuine belief of the correctness of doing so in the context of Nigeria’s development.

Ordinarily, one will expect Fashola and the rest of his group to be more concerned about growing calls to President Buhari to address particularly the imbalance in the activities of his mega Ministry which are clearly skewed in favor of the Southwest. But then, Nigeria has never been an ordinary case. It has always been a case of a donkey silently carrying load without complaining. Fashola’s disturbing and very nepotistic method of wealth distribution as made clear by location of projects embarked upon by his mega ministry or the speed of execution of these projects which questionably varies according to which part of the River Niger the projects are located is enough to discourage the crass divisiveness displayed by the Fashola-led group.

Coincidentally, only this morning I watched a BBC video in which the incumbent Minister of Power, Engr. Saleh Mamman, was lamenting the absurdity of the entire North being serviced by only three “330 substations” located in Kano, Kaduna and Jos while Lagos alone has 8 “330 substations” all to itself. Agreed, this anomaly is a result of a combined neglect of past leaderships but, let’s not forget Fashola had 4 years to address this neglect. How well he did in this regard is a subject exclusively for experts. To a layman like me however, textiles and other micro-businesses in the North are either dead or half-dead — no better today than the day Fashola was sworn-in as Minister of Works, Housing and Power.

Now let’s look at the request a little more closely. Why should the Federal Government compensate Lagos states for the loss it incurred when the whole drama is largely suspected to be an organized political mischief intended to embarrass President Buhari and possibly arm-twist him to subvert democracy in favor of some powerful politicians in the region come 2023. Political leaders in the Southwest conveniently watched youths, prodded by multi-national companies and sponsored bloggers, getting high on drugs in preparation for the chaos that unfolded at the Lekki toll gate. They also sat aloof watching private foreign companies like Twitter instigating and supporting civil disobedience; desecrating Nigeria’s sovereignty in the most careless manner imaginable which no sensible country will tolerate.

I cannot recall the Fashola-led group addressing the #EndSARS protesters with a united voice as they addressed the Federal Executive Council even when they were expected to do so especially after President Buhari conceded and approved all #Endsars demands. What we had instead was the #EndSARS protesters changing their demands with each concession given them by the President. I’m not so much of a conflict resolution expert. Even so, to my eyes #EndSARS was a clear case of “hands of Esau, voice Jacob” situation which deserves no compensation either from government coffers or by crowdfunding whatsoever. In my opinion, if Lagos State is looking for compensation, Lagos state should squeeze its citizens and have them pay for its self-inflicted loss. By the way, why should compensation be paid on properties that are mostly insured? Ok, Banks, shopping malls, TVC, The Nation etc were vandalized and in some cases looted. Am I to understand that despite the age-long bandied business acumen and sophistication of the Southwest region these institutions are not insured? Please give me a break!

And if we are going out of the arena of rationality just to make the Southwest happy, I think we have to extend the gesture to cover other regions devastated by insurgency, rural banditry and assorted criminality. I’m sure Minister Fashola and indeed, every Nigerian will agree these regions are as equally qualified for government compensation as the Southwest given the fact they did not invite upon themselves the unfortunate devastation trailing them but which is sadly their fate today. Borno State is more or less a local version of Syria or Yemen yet, nobody is talking about having the traumatized citizens of Borno compensated even among northern voices.

Many citizens in Katsina, Kaduna Zamfara and Sokoto are now permanent residents in IDP camps facing a bleak future ahead. I can understand the kind gesture of Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, for promising Lagos State the support and contribution of Northern Governor’s to rebuild Lagos State. Commendable as it is, it’s a step in the wrong direction and of course, it’s nothing short of ignoring the needy to pamper the affluent. Or is the North no longer the region ravaged by hunger, poverty and other associated ills as the world was taught to believe by the Southwest press?

How many States in the Southwest showed any interest about the decade long destruction in the North for any Governor in the region to risk the public anger that may follow donating part of the little meant for their survivability to assist in rebuilding the deliberate destruction of Lagos? I don’t think Governor El-Rufai spoke the minds of Northern Governors anyway. They all have more than enough to contend with to contemplate this extravagant and clear misplacement of priorities.

And if the North, through its political and religious leaders and media influencers could control its youth and stop them joining the madness that was #Endsars protests even without the communication tools at the disposal of the Southwest, how was the Southwest unable to control its youth and just why should any region pay for that? Shouldn’t this be a lesson to the Southwest to learn the virtue of nationhood, the logic of voice of reason and when to apply both?

Source. The Nation

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