What is the worth of the average Nigerian life?
Late last week, the Malian Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga and his government resigned after the massacre of about 160 herders by an ethnic vigilante group.
I was stunned when I saw this.
Isn’t this supposed to be a thing of the West?
The kind of accountable leadership that is bold enough to take responsibility for failure.
We Africans don’t do that, do we?
We are the ones who get away with coups and countercoups.
We are the ones saddled with dictators for life that hand over to only their chosen/anointed ones.
We are the ones who would sell the birth-right of millions just to own a high-brow apartment in New York.
We are the ones who mortgage the future of generations to come for a luxurious life.
We are the ones that rig and scheme to keep in power.
When did Africans become responsible enough to acknowledge that they are the custodians of the lives of their people?
Well, it is mischievous of me to generalize African behaviour.
Why say Africa when I mean Nigeria?
But the continent has seen its fair share of bad leadership.
It has seen bloodletting by brothers so that some can get ahead politically. Our conflicts, usually fuelled by outsiders and stoked for bigger economic gains, rarely end with a consideration of lives lost.
So seeing an African Prime Minister resign because of a security lapse is a bit of a big deal to me.
Somewhere along the line, I had subconsciously accepted the undervaluing of Nigerian lives.
I do not agree with it.
But having seen what we have seen as a country, it is not difficult to see that we die cheaply and avoidably here without anyone giving a hoot.
Whole villages have been razed over and over again. Some individuals attack and casually snuff out the lives of hundreds.
Nothing happens after that.
And the worst part?
No accountability from the people we employed to protect us.
In fact, it gets even worse.
They would either deny or downplay or even blame other people without shame for their incompetence.
It keeps getting worse.
People bicker back and forth with others standing by the ability of the government to do nothing about this all.
People are killed indiscriminately.
No one is arrested.
Government blames anyone but themselves.
Security chiefs are summoned for meetings but they keep their jobs.
People fight about who is to blame.
The government confidently prints campaign posters saying they have improved security in the country.
What a circus!
A few weeks back, there were reports of mass kidnappings happening along Kaduna-Abuja routes.
The road is so bad that the train station can barely handle the teeming passengers. Abba Kyari did a little photo op with some of his men. But no one in the country openly admits that this is a huge problem.
But we are not surprised.
How much does a Nigerian life cost?
Thousands of people have lost their lives over the last few years. No one is doing everything differently to make sure that the lapse that made such happen never happens again.
A prime minister and his cabinet have resigned over the killing of 160 people.
How many people need to die before anyone resigns in this country? Or even fired?
It occurred to me that the Malian President probably demanded for this resignation if they did not do it voluntarily.
So, who is keeping anyone accountable for the lives wasted needlessly every day?
Instead, Army Chief Tukur Buratai is releasing a book celebrating what? Only God knows.
What does the average Nigerian life cost?
Certainly nobody’s job in this country.