PLWD means persons living with disability. In Nigeria, we are now in the majority. No one should think that more than half of Nigeria’s two hundred million plus people are blind, deaf, dumb, crippled, or suffer one impairment or the other. No. Like many Nigerians, I do not have any of the impairments listed above. Yet, I am handicapped; you are handicapped; we are handicapped. What is more, our government is handicapped. It does not have the magic wand, which it should have, to better the tattered and battered lives of most of its citizens. That it hit the ground running since its inception in May this year is not deniable. Many believe it has stopped running after hitting the ground running. I disagree. The government has not stopped running as it started. The only problem is that many, then, did not fathom what it intended to achieve when it hit the ground running.
To hit the ground running is to begin an activity—with full commitment—immediately and fully. This regime began to balloon the size of Nigerians living with disability with strange alacrity. It did not waste time at all. It is not tired of crippling the masses who struggled to stand erect in the immediate inglorious past regime of former President Buhari. Did I just say inglorious past regime? That is not what I mean to say. Buhari regime is not past, in the real sense, to this regime—it is a continuation of it. To make a difference between this regime and the one before it is to make a futile attempt at distinguishing six (6) from half a dozen (6).
I have heard people criticizing PBAT regime of nepotism—Yorubanization of the Federation and the process of “milking” it lean and even to complete emaciation. I personally do not find it strange. It is the direct corollary of Buhari’s alleged Fulanization. And because the previous regime completely removed the bar of government (perhaps in an attempt to lower it), I don’t see Tinubu committing any crime if he prefers and elevates Yoruba men, politically, above all other ethnic groups. Let him, if he likes, surround himself only with the Yoruba. That is, after all, the new definition and practice of democracy in Nigeria. We should thank Buhari for it.
While I agree that PBAT has breached and is breaching many, if not most, of what he promised to do or not to do in his celebrated presidential inaugural speech, one promise he has not breached was his campaign promise which I never took seriously but now. I thought it was a mere rhetoric to win the support of the unsupportive Buhari and the cabal who must be pleased. And what is that? His promised to continue from where Buhari stops. Buhari stopped at moving nepotism to an unprecedented great height.
If Tinubu continues from there and even moves nepotism to a greater height, I think he is only fulfilling his promise of continuity. So it is ethically wrong for anyone who did not view many appointments made by Buhari from the nepotistic lens to cry foul of Tinubu’s.
To be clear that what is happening is a continuation of that unfortunate legacy (nepotism), reminisce about this. Buhari, beyond Fulanization, was accused of Dauranization. That is to say, the focus of Buhari’s eight year presidency was to build Daura and the people of Daura. Similarly, Tinubu is not only being accused of Yorubanization but also of Lagosianization. It is alleged that his government is apparently rewarding not just the Yoruba but the “Lagos boys.” I don’t see Nigeria progressing with this normalization of nepotism. While I strongly believe nepotism is wrong, it is not my major problem. I am less concerned if all ministers and heads of MDAs are Yoruba, Fulani, Hausa, or Igbo. I am also not much troubled if they are all Christians, Muslims, or atheists. Is that not the kind of democracy we practice in Nigeria?
I am also not disturbed if we are led by monkeys or pigs. I have said this on this page before—provided we all have reasonable freedom to worship Creator in our own ways. What troubles me is our inability to live a decent life, as Nigerians, after putting in much efforts. This explains why the allegation that we are being led by a certificate forger does not budge me an inch. I am not too enthusiastic about the outcome. Though I find the arguments and counter arguments of opposing fans of the duo of Atiku and Tinubu interesting since I like comics. Whether the accuser (Atiku) emerges triumphant at the end of the day or the defendant (Tinubu) retains his seat, it does not make any meaningful difference to me until it translates to the betterment of the majority of Nigerians living with disability like myself. Nigerians are, more than ever, thoroughly disabled. Nigerians are full of progressive ideas, but these ideas are rotten away because the Nigerian environment—and its political-economy—lacks support for the germination of progressive ideas.
Nigerians are very good at verbal expression of entrepreneurial ideas but these ideas remain at the level of verbalization. What will give these ideas wings to fly are virtually or absolutely absent. Loans are too prohibitive. Soft loan does not exist if it has ever existed. Access roads to rural communities also exist only in the figment of imagination of those who claimed to have constructed them. Where roads are available, bandits do not make them accessible. Infrastructural decay is legendary.
Transparency, honesty, and accountability are meaningless in government’s circle. Their meanings are found only in dictionaries. Now we are all feeling the heat of rulers who dreamt to be in power for the whole of their lives but never dreamt of governance; not to talk of good governance. Workers are crying. Traders are wailing.
Transporters are whining. Youth are hopeless. Their only hope is in yahoo yahoo business and money ritual making. Medical doctors are japa(ing) abroad for greener pastures. Academic doctors are leaving the ivory towers in droves—regretting to have chosen a career in teaching and research. We are all living as disabled persons not because our libs and faculties are not functioning but because they have been rendered useless.
Each time I see persons with disability clamouring for inclusiveness in governance or for reasonable help form our rulers, I sympathise with them but at the same time ask if those of us without physical impairments are also not being disabled. To shrink the size of the increasingly growing number of PLWD, government only needs to be transparent, honest, accountable, and patriotic. And if it likes, it should rid itself of nepotism which now defines its democracy. But the Government should be informed that PLWD are now in the majority!