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The ‘Strange Liberators’ of Nigeria

By Utomi Jerome-Mario
12 August 2022   |   1:40 am
I first encountered the phrase: “Strange liberators,’’ while studying the words and speeches of Martin Luther King Jnr, American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesman..

SIR: I first encountered the phrase: “Strange liberators,’’ while studying the words and speeches of Martin Luther King Jnr, American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesman and leader in the civil rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968. The phrase was used then as the title of a piece on the role played by the American government in Vietnam.

Although, not in a conventional war with any political entity, yet what took place among the people of that peninsula has found a home in the political geography called Nigeria and it has become clear to the vast majority of Nigerians that there is no meaningful solution to, or attempt being made by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government, to know them and hear their broken cries.

Without minding what others may say, all that Nigerians have obtained from Buhari have been verbal promises to liberate the nation from political and socioeconomic shackles – promises that have produced monuments of nothingness. Looking at the strange happenings in the country, it is evident that Mr. President now qualifies as a strange liberator who has turned his backs on the masses.  Not even his ‘change’ or ‘Next Level’ mantra has been able to propel social justice or guaranteed social mobility.

Today, while the privileged political class continues to flourish in obscene splendour as they pillage and ravage the resources of our country, the masses diminish socially and economically.  These leaders that the nation has blessed itself with have greatly led to the destruction of social infrastructure relevant to a meaningful and acceptable level of social existence for our people.

If not strange liberators, why must they (Federal Government) allow the nation to borrow in ways that mortgage the future of our nation? And borrowed to the extent that over 72 per cent of government’s revenue going by reports is now spent on debt servicing? Have we, as a nation, forgotten that development is said to be sustainable ‘when it is achieved without excess socio-economic/ environmental degradation, but in a way that both protects the rights and opportunities of coming generations and contributes to compatible approaches? Why have they not addressed the galloping youth unemployment in the country which currently stands at an all time high of 33 per cent? Or solve the embarrassing insecurity in the country?

To change this state of affairs and accelerate economic growth, and bring about social progress and cultural development, while promoting peace and stability, we must all rise above political apathy and get involved in the political process and the right leadership recruitment in the 2023 general elections.

Utomi Jerome-Mario is the programme coordinator (Media and Public Policy), Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), a Lagos-based Non Governmental Organisation (NGO).


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