The story of Yahaya Bello

The Economic Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, acting zonal director, Benin Zonal Command, Effa Okim, said the anti-graft agency is unable to arrest ex-Kogi state governor, Yahaya Bello, because he is being protected by the ‘system’.

Nigeria’s inability to consistently stay on issues until closure has since 1840 been part of our nemesis. A nation rich in cultural diversity, natural resources, and human capital, we have continued to struggle with the consistent and sustained resolution of pressing national issues, grappling with a myriad of unresolved national issues that span various sectors, including governance, security, infrastructure, and socio-economic development. This inability to see through critical matters until they reach a satisfactory closure has resulted in a cycle of unresolved crises that continue to hamper the country’s development.

Truth is that we have all one way or the other forgotten “you were not informed” saga, aka Chibok girls. In April 2014, Boko Haram insurgents abducted 276 schoolgirls from their dormitory in Chibok, Borno state. The incident drew global attention and spurred the #BringBackOurGirls movement. Despite the international outcry and initial government’s efforts, the momentum waned over time. As of today, while some girls have been rescued or escaped, many are still missing, and the Nigerian government’s efforts to bring the matter to full closure have been inconsistent and sporadic.

Another case that illustrates this chronic issue is the Niger Delta that has remained a hotbed of conflict due to issues of oil spillage, environmental degradation, and the perceived marginalization of local communities. Various administrations have launched initiatives, such as the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the Presidential Amnesty Program, to address the grievances. However, these efforts have often been plagued by corruption, mismanagement, and a lack of sustained political will. As a result, the region remains volatile, and the core issues persist. Just for the records, it was the off your volume drama of few years ago, and at the heart of that microphone is one of our current leaders today (sic).

If you do not know, over 70percent of Nigerian g=homes and industries do not exactly know what interrupted power supply means, with the other sizable population suffering from rationed power supply, half current, stolen power cables, overbilling, and the entire nation suffered frequent increase in tariff for commodity not supplied. And, so you know Nigeria’s power sector has been in a state of perpetual crisis, with successive governments promising reforms that fail to materialize fully. Initiatives such as the unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) and the privatization of the electricity sector were expected to improve power supply. However, due to inconsistent policy implementation, corruption, and inadequate infrastructure, Nigeria still struggles with erratic power supply, affecting both economic growth and the quality of life.

Only days ago, Senator Shehu Sani, activist, politician, and political satirist, in a public address, with President Bola Tinubu in attendance, to mark 25 years of uninterrupted democratic rule, pleaded that young persons arrested and detained since the EndSARS movement, which began in October 2020, be released. The movement was a significant youth-led protest against police brutality, particularly targeting the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). The government responded by disbanding SARS and promising reforms. Despite these promises, incidents of police brutality continue, and many of the broader issues raised by the protests, such as governance reform and youth unemployment, remain unaddressed. The initial fervour has since dissipated without substantial systemic change.

I could go on, and on, and on, as these case studies highlight a pattern where issues that initially receive significant attention and commitment gradually lose momentum without reaching a conclusive resolution. Several factors contribute to this phenomenon:

Lack of Political Will: Often, the political leadership lacks the sustained commitment necessary to see through long-term solutions. This is partly due to the electoral cycle, where priorities shift with changes in administration.

Corruption and Mismanagement: Corruption at various levels of government often diverts resources meant for resolving issues, leading to ineffective interventions and loss of public trust.

Weak Institutions: The institutions responsible for implementing and monitoring resolutions are often weak or compromised, lacking the capacity to enforce policies and ensure accountability.

Public Apathy: Over time, the public becomes disillusioned with the lack of progress, leading to reduced pressure on the government to act. This is exacerbated by a short news cycle where media attention moves on to new issues.

Complexity of Issues: Many of these problems are deeply rooted and multifaceted, requiring comprehensive and sustained efforts that go beyond superficial or immediate solutions.

Addressing these unresolved national issues requires sustained political will, effective policy implementation, robust institutional frameworks, and active civic engagement. Without tackling these challenges comprehensively, Nigeria’s progress and development will continue to be hampered.

Let me end with a story.

In one Catholic church, members who committed adultery or fornication will come to the priest and say during confession, “Father, I have committed adultery (or fornication)”.

The priest eventually changed the policy and announced, “Henceforth, if you commit adultery or fornication, just say you fell”. No need for the details. He will understand. From then on, confessors say, “Father, l fell”, when they confess adultery or fornication. And the priest will say, “Go and sin no more”.

One day, the Reverend Father was transferred, and the new priest who came to replace him did not understand what “I fell” meant. He took it literally. After hearing too many of his parishioners saying they fell, the new priest went to see the mayor. He told him, “You have to do something about the sidewalks. Parishioners have been falling and injuring themselves”.

The mayor immediately realised that the priest didn’t know what “I fell” meant and started laughing at the priest. Then the priest said to him, “If I were you, I would not be laughing. Your wife fell three times this week!”

Humans don’t take anything seriously until it becomes their reality. Policy makers don’t care until it affects them. Our politicians’ children are not Chibok girls, no one is kidnapping their loved ones. Their companies import and sale the generating plants that substitute for regular affordable power supply. Their houses are powered by tax payers and public funded power. I recall that we were offing the mic (sic) not long ago over the fraud perpetuated at the NDDC and that came after years when same commission had budgeted millions of condolences one could only imagine that the entire staff of the organisation was billed to die.

For Nigeria to break this cycle and achieve lasting solutions, there need to be concerted efforts to strengthen institutions, ensure accountability, and maintain political commitment beyond initial responses. Engaging civil society and maintaining public pressure can also play a crucial role in holding the government accountable. Without such changes, the nation risks continuing a pattern of unresolved crises, hindering its progress and development.

We will simply continue to fall, the masses will fall, because the system is protecting a man which the system accused of massive looting of public funds, our story is the story of Yahaya Bello, if you know—you know that we will ‘fell’ in this matter and not much will come from it, but like I say and believe—May Nigeria win.