Nigeria’s insecurity and the attack on bourgeois nationalism
The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them – Karl Marx
Neo-Marxists have, for ages, argued that capitalism mainly serves the rich as they consume most of the resources. To a large extent, they argue that Karl Marx was right in calling for the transformation of the global economic system.
Of recent, two specters and forces of the unjust social (dis)order are haunting Nigeria — the specter of massive poverty and that vast income inequality. An unholy alliance of undemocratic politicians, businessmen, public servants ensure that these specters remain unchanged.
Trains are usually made for all but targeted at the poor and middle-income earners. That must have been the plan when the Abuja-Kaduna train was conceived. As the trains rolled out, the poor were using it. Then came the bandits, and the elite pushed them out. Prices were doubled (in the name of spacing for covid).
Practically, Covid restrictions are gone, but the prices have remained, with more elite options. There is now a first-class cabin. Most can no longer afford the train. They refused to secure the roads since they have options. It’s now for different categories of the elite.
One category is those that will board the train with armed police escorts. Let us note that the country roughly has 360,000 policemen and a substantial number are with “very important people”.
The second category is those that will board the train and send their drivers to meet them at the other end, meaning that the drivers’ lives are expendable.
The last category are other members of the bourgeoise class and other middle-income earners.
Unfortunately, the terrorists decided to attack the train last week where innocent souls were lost, and others were injured or kidnapped. From reports, one can only imagine what families are going through after losing loved ones to rabid rascals.
A cousin was shot but has recuperated. May the departed souls rest in peace and God bless the Kaduna State Government and law enforcement agencies for their rapid response because, it could have been worse.
But this piece intends to draw that attention to an anomaly that neo-Marxists have been talking about. The poor are designed to remain poor, and the rich simply don’t make policies in their interest.
Within the same week, twenty people drowned in Niger State while fleeing from terrorists. Another thirty-five were killed in Zamfara State but only a few media houses reported the tragedies.
Other killings just make the newsbar section, not the major headlines. They are reported for news purposes and not for any response from responsible parties. Psychologists call it Habituation.
We are getting used to gory violence that we no longer care. Data from the International Office of Migration (IOM) indicates that due to insecurity, there are approximately four million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) spread across thirty-five states and the FCT. Four million!
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo visited Kaduna and saw the victims. The Senate and House of Representatives were on top of their voices. The Chief of Army Staff, Faruk Yahaya visited the scene. Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba inspected the whole 160-kilometer route.
Minister Rotimi Amaechi was fiery. Governors made their usual statements. Good Morning Nigeria programme of NTA made it the topic of discussion for two days. In a jiffy, President Muhammadu Buhari approved N3billion or so for whatever. This what happens when the elite are affected.
Interestingly, other members of the elite were enraged all over social media. It’s like they are just aware of the years of decadence and incompetence and unaware of the what has been going on in Zamfara, Katsina and Niger States.
Most are unaware of so many organized crimes stretching the capacity of law enforcement agencies, or have entered the habituation mode. They are not angry at the level of insecurity but are enraged because people they know are involved.
So psychologically, we only understand it when it hits home. As David Kold called it, experiential learning-understanding through experience.
Since we now know that no one is safe from terrorists, I hope that we utilize our immediate circles to ensure that right things are done at all levels. Policies should have impact on the majority. Grand corruption is killing us.
The current bourgeois nationalism where the ruling class are deliberately leading people based on ethnicity and religion needs to stop. Our governance must improve and the forthcoming elections provide an avenue to do the right thing. God bless Nigeria.
Umar Yakubu, a rights and accountability advocate, writes from the Centre for Fiscal Transparency and Integrity Watch.