“For me to do my job effectively, we need to continue to earn public confidence. That involves transparency and accountability.”
The above quote is credited to American politician Elizabeth Esty, the current U.S. Representative for Connecticut’s 5th congressional district. I don’t know anything about her sincerity in making this statement. But, in the ideal world, this is how elected leaders ought to think.
Sadly, I think it will be hard to find any politician around here that thinks this way. I’m sure the few that may come close are likely to be rendered ineffective by the majority that wishes no good to the masses of this country.
There has been so much talk in recent weeks about how Nigerians and other Africans seeking greener pastures outside their homelands were being enslaved in Libya. That’s quite sad. But lack of transparency and accountability by our leaders – more preferably, rulers – is to blame for this.
The insincerity, selfishness and lack of concern by these politicians have put many average Nigerians in serious quagmire. A huge number of these people can hardly meet their basic needs. This could be as a result of low income, unpaid salaries, or outright lack of job. Little wonder then than many are seeking to find their way out of here.
I won’t discourage anyone that thinks the grass is greener on the other side, even when it may not be. But I don’t think it’s worthwhile travelling through Libya and going on the high seas to reach Europe.
What Are The Issues?
It is no secret that we mostly have people who don’t care a hoot about us in political offices. How many corrupt political office holders can we convincingly say were made to pay the just price for sharp practices? I can’t honestly remember any. In a society where impunity thrives, there is hardly much to be hopeful about.
So, I don’t blame you if you want out of here. But I won’t support inter-country land and sea travel to reach Europe. You probably already know why, but let me shed a little light on this all the same.
The trending news recently is that about migrants that were being sold as slaves in Libya. Imagine people who paid to reach Europe ending up being sold as slaves. That just doesn’t make sense. According to a recent exclusive report by the CNN, human beings were being sold for as low as $400! That’s crazy.
It is saddening to learn some of these people paid up to N0.5 million, probably more, for their journey and still ended up as slaves. There is even story of women there being used as sex slaves. They are repeatedly being impregnated and maltreated. Awful.
Libya is not an entirely safe country for the citizens, let alone people who are from elsewhere. There is no real government to command as much as respect as the late Muammar Gaddafi used to. There are militant groups and rebels everywhere. Yet, people in their desperation felt such a country was safe to pass through.
Migrants in areas controlled by recognised government has hope. I don’t know what becomes of those sold as slaves in rebel strongholds. Is this risk worth living Nigeria for? I don’t think so.
Well, let’s say you are lucky to make it through Libya. Do you have any idea of what awaits on the high sea? We often hear of migrants dying on the high sea as a result of storms or other factors. It is even said that some get thrown overboard.
There was a report recently of how 26 young Nigerian girls were found dead on the Mediterranean sea. As a formality, sort of, the government commiserated with the families of the deceased, describing their deaths as ‘monumental loss and a sad moment for our country.’ Talk about medicine after death.
Have things seriously degenerated to the level of wanting to brave such hazardous adventure to reach Europe? I think this could only be worthwhile if there was war in the country, something we don’t pray for.
You may feel I’m one of those benefitting from the current system, with this being why I sound this way. Definitely not. I’m a confirmed ‘ajepako’ and have been one all my life. I just don’t think this highly risky journey is worthwhile.
When people embark on journey of this kind, they never know what may happen at their destination or on the way. Among the risks that could be involved is an illegal practice called organ harvesting.
I assume you have probably heard something about this. The practice often involves killing a person to obtain his or her internal organs. The recent Libyan slavery phenomenon has brought this to the fore again. Who knows what slave masters can do to or with individuals they buy?
Researchers have observed an increase in illegal organ trade. A report by Global Financial Integrity estimated that those involved make up to $1 billion and even higher in profits every year.
There is, of course, ready market for human organs in many countries for diverse reasons. You probably have an idea what some devilish people around here can do with such. Over in the United States, many thousands of people are said to be on waiting list for organ transplantation due to lack of donors.
In a 2005 article, Sheri R. Glaser narrated the case of a Uzbek woman who lost her husband to suspected illegal organ traffickers. The man was promised a job in Canada. He was found dead alongside his children and others who wanted to relocate with him days after they were thought to have travelled. Organs were missing.
Demand The Rightful From Your Leaders
Maybe this country would have been better if people can use the same desperation they have to travel out to demand accountability from their leaders. How come we are so blessed with both human and natural resources yet majority live in penury?
Yet, we see people who ought to work to improve our lives living large. While they keep telling us the economy is experiencing a tough time, we hear almost every time how millions and billions of dollars are being misappropriated.
Truth be told, we cannot continue to shy away from making this political office holders accountable to us. It’s time to make the supposed rights we have to work for us. We should stop being fooled and distracted while we get milked to the bone.
It’s disappointing that we are already hearing some people campaigning for a former vice president despite being aware of his antecedents. The present government has failed us; it’s been a while since we started noticing the so-called change was a ruse. But is that man any better?
We Don’t All Have To Run…Yet
We can all choose to run away. But we need to have it in mind that no place is like home. We can only be second-class citizens or slaves elsewhere. Let’s demand to be the king we ought to be in our homeland.
There are just too many things going wrong in the country, so much impunity. If we don’t demand change, I don’t see life improving for the average man. Civil society groups and activists we need you!
How I wish we have politicians in Nigeria that think along the same line as people such as Elizabeth Esty. I mean Individuals who have concerns for those who elected them. Shame on those who collect things from these lots to vote for them, thinking those are dividends of democracy. Shame! What a country!