By Sa’adatu Aliyu
In August 2020, the Port of Beirut came under explosive attacks, which shook the country’s very foundation. After many reports came in after that, it was said that another attack to have shaken the country with such intensity was that which killed the then Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005.
Before the explosion, however, Beirut had been struggling with its economy, thanks to its widespread corruption. That already had it standing at the doorstep of the World Bank begging for financial relief. It also saw many of its populace unemployed, uncertain of the future.
Therefore, for a country already grappling to pay its citizens their salaries, with families finding it increasingly hard to feed their children or send them to school, the explosion added fuel to the fire. After much investigation, it was gathered that the port officials had been indirectly responsible for the incident, which killed and injured many. This is because the large amount of chemicals initially bound for Uganda was instead stashed up in the Beirut port, left without any safety preservative precautions taken to prevent an imminent attack.
After that, Beirut was indeed to see itself knocking at the gates of the World Bank, yet again-if once silently and with patience – then now it was with desperation for help. It would, in fact, at this point turn its hands to accept any offer coming in from any country but most importantly, the Saudi government with which it maintains a close political tie.
What makes me liken the Nigerian state to the status quo in Beirut is its corruption and the most recent proposition by the government on the possible removal of fuel subsidy. For a country whose system is heavily built on corruption and even more so we can say still thrives because of it, I am afraid to say that I hope we, too, do not one day wake up to the smokes of our country in flames with everyone running helter-skelter in search for safety.
Beirut’s reality stares Nigeria in the face. The trudging of its imminent collapse is ever so closer. Abject poverty remains the order of the day with the larger part of the population living below one dollar; price for education forcing worry heaves and sighs out of its largely lower-middle-class population, price of food items costing twice more than before. To make matters worse, the state of our country’s security has never been so fragile and then to have life becoming more difficult by the removal of fuel subsidy by a government on which many have placed the hope of a better living condition is to assert to the population that the government lacks any sense of good direction.
I don’t want to sound pessimistic. However, with the country’s challenges rising every day and a government that focuses more on enriching themselves and their families, I cannot see a brighter future for us either.
With the drama in display and the Nigerian state calmly maintaining its dance on the tracks of lagging-behind countries, and as we face yet another upcoming election next year, I pray we do not wake up to the scorching burns of increased crime rate, escalating terrorism, among other ills.
One thing that doesn’t require divine telling is that Nigerians have never felt more apathetic towards the system. We are all bracing for what lies ahead.
Sa’adatu Aliyu comes from Kogi state. She is a graduate of English Language from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and a Masters student in Literature at the same institution. Her email is email@example.com.