Says: nonfunctional L.G. system, stifling grassroots development

By Martin Opara

The Association of South East Town Unions ASETU, has berated the federal government for failure to address or proffer solutions to the rising spate of social injustice insecurity, poverty, deprivation and lack that pervade the country, hence the disappointed, helpless and hapless citizens have succumbed to despair, and cynicism.

This was contained in a release dated 30th September, 2020 signed by Chief Emeka Diwe and Hon. Gideon Adikwuru, National President and National Secretary of the association, respectively and made available to the press on the occasion of the country’s 60th birthday.

ASETU, regretted that after 60 years of political independence, “the aspirations that animated the passion for independence, have gone up in flames. Health prospects are poorer, insecurity is widespread, divisive tendencies are in full swing, economic deprivation is endemic, squalor has become a daily fact of life. Hopes have been replaced with cynicism and despair. Hence political independence has made little or no meaning to the poor, ordinary and vulnerable Nigerian”.

The release, expressed disgust at the continued and unnecessary loss of innocent lives, in the hands of bandits, herdsmen and insurgents, resulting in declining agricultural productivity, as rural farmers are scared of going to work on their farms and risk attack. With the attendant impact on food security, hunger has become the unwelcome companion of majority of our people.

ASETU, also expressed disappointment that, none of the perpetrators of the heinous and dastardly acts, including the recent reprehensible attacks on residents, in Ebonyi State, have been brought to book. “The inability of the authorities to rise to the occasion and deal decisively with the perpetrators compelled women of the affected communities to troop to the streets to protest and show their disgust, frustration and disappointment with a sovereign nation that has continuously exhibited perpetual incapacitation to deploy the apparatus of state power to protect the citizens, as is obtainable in more decent climes”.

The release, also expressed concern that, as the country’s population keeps rising, there are no visible plans or provisions in place, to adequately train and gainfully engage the youths, thereby, incubating crime and other social vices, indirectly, because, an idle mind, is the devil’s workshop. “It is cheaper to train people and engage them in positive ventures, than to buy guns and build prisons. “Besides, when young people find a legitimate pathway out of poverty, crimes, will likely become unattractive”.    

The release, also noted that, the deliberate decision of most state governments to shut down and make the local government structure non functional, has worsened the plight of rural dwellers, as development at the grassroots has been completely impeded. “This is so, because, a property constituted local government system, chosen by the people themselves, through the ballot box is accountable to the people who elected them and the operators have performance metrics. It is therefore unfortunate that some state governors have fraudulently converted the allocations accruable to local governments to themselves”.

The release, further posited that, it is a disheartening aberration that the federal government has, by it’s several acts of omission and commission, encourage unbearable social injustice, by allowing a section of the country to monopolize all instruments of state, in addition to forging a master-servant relationship between itself and other ethnic nationalities. “Igbo people have been brazenly marginalized in virtually all facets of national life”.

“Our communities are randomly sacked, farmlands destroyed, women raped, and people, butchered in their homes by Fulani herdsmen, while the federal government feels unconcerned. But, when our youths raise a flag in protest, against the humiliation, discrimination and deprivation we face in Nigeria, they are hurriedly termed terrorists, and consequently slaughtered and maimed. There is need for urgent remedial steps to be taken towards last and sustainable solutions to all the anomalies in our polity”.