For as long as I can remember, the Nigerian poor, which is 99.9% of the Nigerian population, of different levels of poverty, have been smiling and suffering in silence. They call it, shufering and shmiling! This large portion of the population; the dis-inherited, and dis-franchised poor have watched the few rich flaunt their wealth, have this wealth thrown at their faces, rubbed it on their faces like mud, and have taken it smiling and suffering.
The Nigeria’s emptiness and hollowness are so well concealed to the outside world that it took the abduction of 276 school girls for the world to see us for who we are. Boko Haram and their supporters simply took their hatred a notch higher than what they have been releasing on the population for years. Only this time they bit more than they could chew. They never expected the world to take notice. They have killed and destroyed, and continue to kill and destroy without anyone challenging them. Even this current abduction went un-challenged for weeks before the world took notice. Otherwise, this latest action would have gone down as their usual cowardly actions. These people are desert rats, who come out of their holes at night to attack, kill, and burn sleeping and un- armed men, women, and children.
How does it not occur to them, or to their sponsors and supporters, that their onslaught can escalate into a civil war? If the few rich want a civil war, which I am sure that they do not, or perhaps I am wrong, it will not affect them. They also make money from wars, and they will not be there to fight it, nor will their children. They are now covertly paying for the killings and they will also covertly pay for the war if it breaks out.
Before the scourge of Boko Haram, the Nigeria’s poor dealt on a daily basis, and still deal with so much deprivation that Boko Haram’s assaults are like buzzing mosquitoes to their ears. These are people who live constantly with no social services; fluctuating power service, no water, or good roads. I traveled from Lagos to Onitsha, sometime ago, on a Thursday and arrived Onitsha on a Friday. This was a journey of eight hours which took me two days. The journey took place on what is known as a Federal Road, a road supposedly built and maintained by the Federal government. This road was washed away by flood and it took the government more than six months to take notice.
To have running water in your house means to build yourself a bore hole. Same with electricity, you have to have a generator; some have more than one, or an inverter. The Solar System is yet to take root. Only the rich can afford to have Solar Panels, if only for show, because they have regular light. Moreover, allowing Solar to pervade the Nigerian market may be under cutting their already well-established generator monopoly. This same monopoly is the same reason that steady electricity has eluded Nigeria.