Three things happened recently to reinforce my strong belief that it is possible to
achieve a developed Nigeria. They were the sudden disappearance of the long traffic jam or holdup along the Nyanya-Abuja expressway, the rescue of Chief Olu Falae from kidnappers within four days without paying any ransom and the obtaining of my Statement of Result from the University of Abuja.
[Image: The author]
The Abuja rumour industry provided two reasons for the disappearance of the traffic jam that used to keep us on the road for over three hours. One reason was that it was due to the partial removal of the army checking points (initially the checking points had three drums and the bomb detector positioned right into the express road, but now only one drum is on the road and the bomb detector completely out of the road).
We remember that all the drums and the detector including the soldiers left the checking points when we heard that the President ordered them out of the roads; but the Presidency denied this and two days later the soldiers were back, but the drums were reduced to just one on the road and the machine shifted and stationed out of the express road. This rumour appeared plausible due to the fact that we could see that these drums and the machine were actually out of the way, so the removal facilitated the smooth flow of traffic and the soldiers still do their checks.
The other rumour was that on the appointment of the current Chief of Army Staff (COAS) who lives in Nyanya-Mararaba area, he quickly made sure that no vehicle stops on Nyanya-Abuja express to pick or offload passengers or goods. He insisted that all vehicles must enter the motor parks already provided along both sides of the express road. So from Nyanya to Karu junction up to Kugbo, the road is now clear thereby making for the smooth movement of vehicles along the express road. When I heard this rumour for the first time, my immediate response was, God bless the COAS.
The weight of this rumour lies in the fact that before Nyanya was bombed April last year, there used to be terrible traffic hold up along this expressway and that was why some of us believed that government should expand the road, construct a link road between Mararaba and Mpape and complete the Apo-Karishi road. The thinking was that there are too many vehicles on this road that we felt the road should be expanded and more connecting roads done to divert traffic from the road. We did not remember to ask what other issues could obstruct traffic flow? So this rumour argues that it was the road obstructions, not too many vehicles on the road at the same time, which is responsible for the intense suffering of Nigerians on that road. So we were just suffering ourselves!
On the whole, I think that both factors actually contributed to the ease of traffic on the Nyanya-Abuja express road. As we smile now while driving on the road every day, I simple reminded myself that Nigeria is possible.
The second issue is the miracle of the Nigerian police rescuing Chief Olu Falae from kidnappers within four days. Chief Falae is not an ordinary man in Nigeria: former Secretary to the Federal government, former Finance Minister, former Presidential candidate of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), a traditional ruler, current national Chairman of the re-born Social Democratic Party (SDP), chieftain of the Afenifere etc. He was kidnapped by some Fulani thieves while in his farm at Ilado, Akure Ondo State on Monday 21st September 2015. On Wednesday of that same week, our President, Muhamadu Buhari, according to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Solomon Arase, mandated the police to “Go and ensure that you bring him home to his family hale and hearty”.
This was accomplished the next day without paying any ransom to the kidnappers who had earlier demanded N100m but later slashed it to N90m. This made me to shout again that Nigeria is possible. I am happy because no ransom was paid, the police acted swiftly to the command of Mr. President and did their job; unlike most kidnappings before now where huge ransom must be paid before release was done, while the police go asleep. The police should ensure that what was done to Falae should be done to any other person kidnapped in Nigeria henceforth. They should not wait for President Buhari’s command before doing their job.
The third story of a possible Nigeria was my own case of finishing my undergraduate part-time course at the University of Abuja under the Centre for Distance Learning and Continuing Education (CDLCE) where I completed all the course works and successfully done my project as at June 2012 having been admitted in 2005. Between August 2012 and March 2015, I could not conclude my clearance and therefore no statement of result was issued to me.
Reason: “computer is not working, I have told them to replace it and they refused”. This was the frustrating constant answer I got from the officer in charge of computing our final results each time I went to the CDLCE campus in Area 3 Garki, Abuja to get my final result. Suddenly, a new Vice Chancellor was appointed and this officer was changed and the new one did that work for me in less than three working days and I got my Statement of Result on 26th March 2015. Again, I was impressed beyond words and I exclaimed, Nigeria is possible!
These three instances have proved to me beyond any reasonable doubt that the trouble with Nigeria is less of institutional than human. Those who manage Nigerian institutions must be disciplined in their attitude to work and just do the right things in the right way. Nigeria does not need too much grammar to be fixed, she does not need too many sycophantic peace committees led by seekers of government appointments to be fixed, she does not need to kill her tribes in the name of Federal Character etc; all she needs is a leadership with integrity and a followership ready to do the right thing rightly.
Okachikwu Dibia, Abuja.