I spoke to Dr Chinelo’s father. We have a mutual friend. He is in pain. He told me that he did his NYSC in Kaduna in 1982. He had fond memories of Kaduna before this descent to chaos.
He doesn’t know how to get to Kaduna. Airlines are cancelling flights, train from Abuja is not an option, the road to Kaduna is under the control of bandits.
I told him Nigeria did not happen to you. Bad governance did. It was in Nigeria that Igbos who returned to the North after the war got the rents their neighbours collected on their behalf while they were away. It was in Nigeria that Umaru Altine defeated Igbos to emerge the Mayor of Enugu.
It was in Nigeria that parents sent their teenage children to Federal government colleges by train without a minder. It was in Nigeria that I went on holiday to Maiduguri by bus from Enugu with my sister at ages 11 and 10. We arrived at 2 a.m., and by 5 a.m., my uncle came and picked us up from Federal Low Cost. We left in the darkness of early morning.
It was not Nigeria that happened to any of us. It was our collective surrender to bad governance. It is our collective acceptance of corruption as a way of life. It is our collective enthronement of mediocrity, so pervasive that our measure of presidential aspirants is by how much money they have somehow acquired.
We took a wrong turn and must retrace our steps or submit to descent to anarchy.
Bad governance will happen again if we sell the presidency in 2023. It is not Nigeria that will happen. It will be our collaboration with evil that will kill the next Dr Chinelo.
We are paying the price of divisive and clueless governance. Hefty price.
Osita Chidoka is a former Corps Marshal and Chief Executive of Federal Road Safety Corps and past Minister of Aviation in Nigeria.