Since the idea to close the Abuja International Airport was first muted, and the alternative palliative measures hurriedly being lined out to ensure the smooth completion of the repair of the ONLY airport runway, coupled with the furore that ensued among Nigerians for and against the whole affair; I have been enveloped in deep thinking about the place of ordinary Nigerian citizen in the developmental scheme of things generally.
The sudden and poignant realization that as far as Nigeria is concerned, poor and ordinary citizens don’t matter in policy formulations of this country and infrastructural provisions had struck me to my roots. For as it stands today, it appears citizen’s well-being, and happiness are sorely predicated on the benevolence and providential happenstance where actions taken have obvious and direct benefit to the upper middle class and the super-rich echelon of the society-the very important persons (VIPs), only!
For instance, it took the unfortunate death of a serving Minister of state, Mr. James Ocholi, courtesy of the potholes-infested Abuja-Kaduna highway, for the same road to be given sudden face-lift way back in 2016. And that, had the Minister miraculously survived the accident, nothing would have been done to reduce the wasteful human carnage that would have continued unabated!
What a shame that one of the busiest highways in the country, and the gateway to the capital city from the far Northern states, had to be repaired at such supersonic speed in order to impress and satisfy the yearnings of a particular class in the society. As it appears, those for whom it is being undertaken care-less about the huge amount being committed to the project, but for the less privilege the amount would go a long way in meeting their numerous needs like water supply, food, medicine, etc.
Pitifully, the same high-way bedevilled by all sorts of criminals that have been terrorizing innocent citizens on daily basis has all of a sudden come under limelight with 24/7 joint security watch all for the sake of the VIPs? And that all the potholes and craters that have been causing avoidable killings, maiming and damaging of vehicles have suddenly disappeared because the crème of the society would be using the renovated Kaduna Airport albeit temporarily?
We are no doubt happy that some part of Kaduna, the former capital of Northern Nigeria; a state that was subjugated, degraded and corrugated by years of bad governance is now wearing a new look. That the Kaduna western bypass, otherwise known as the Nnamdi Azikiwe road reported to have had over 701 potholes for many years have been repaired with newly installed solar street lights to boot, remains however as a source of worry to me personally and other Nigerians of the lower class stratification. This unfortunate class stratification and subjugation engenders nothing but inequality and injustice which must be redressed and done away with for the sake of peace and tranquility in Nigeria.
This development keeps me thinking, that because Kaduna-to-Kano high-way and many similar highways across the country that are currently in terrible shape, but which unfortunately will not be used by the high and mighty in the foreseeable future, will remain neglected and will continue to remain death-trap, consuming the hard working bread winners who are daily plying the roads in search of daily means of survival for their families?
The new realization to the effect that 10 Billion Naira earlier budgeted and captured in 2016 budget was never utilized by FERMA to repair roads according to reports for reason best known to them is also depressing reality of the shameful situation of Nigeria. Indeed, the closure of the only gateway to the nation’s capital just to allow for the repair of a single Airport runway would remain one of the many shames of our nation, Nigeria. And the on-going frantic effort by Federal Government to provide alternative measures to ease the suffering of only the VIPs, is to say the least, most crude and shameless display of crass insensitivity to the plight of the ordinary, and hardworking citizens of this country!
Kabir Tsakuwa, Kano.
Culled from Dailytrust