Letter to Brother Kole (3)

Random Notions with Bimbo Manuel

Email: da.bmer@gmail.com

Bimbo Manuel…I do not profess to know as much as you do about such exotic topics as the workings of the fabled American security and policing system but I understand that they are layered as community, county and state police with the FBI stepping in on matters national and the National Guards as last resort in times of unrest.

The Governor of Missouri called out the National Guards in Ferguson when things threatened to overwhelm all other levels of law enforcement. Even then, I notice that they remained muted in their presence letting the local police do the first line of enforcement. The extraterrestrial American Army is never seen on the streets of America wielding guns and riding in tanks meant for the battlefields of Afghanistan. Our president in Nigeria deployed every level of force and security to Ekiti State for the all-important elections that ousted Kayode Fayemi and installed Ayo Fayose, doing even more in the State of Osun to deliver ‘a free and fair election’ which is one of his primary responsibilities to the people of Nigeria! And I agree seeing as we are blacks.

I find it informative that President Obama has kept a careful distance from all that has gone on in Missouri with only the Attorney General calling for a third autopsy because “the federal government is watching events with interest…” Otherwise, the state governor has been left to deal with his problem, a call he accepted when he offered himself to run the affairs of the state. In my country, well, yours too if you insist, every unrest is a national challenge that must be met with the ‘full brunt of the law’ – usually that means police and military force – and the mayor/local government chairman and governor are ridden roughshod in the processes that resolve whatever the people’s unhappiness is about.

This should not surprise you, Dear Kole, because unlike your city and state, I do not know where the offices of my ward councilor, House of Assembly member, House of Representative member and senator are, so the first line of the expression of my displeasure at the hand life deals me as a citizen is totally non-existent. They are all usually resident in Abuja, ‘minding the business’ of my social wellbeing.

So, to be sure that all is well with me, that I am protected, that I get water and power is not so erratic, that roads are passable and trailers do not block one of the most important roads in my city in protest, the President must mind everything.

I am not complaining, please I need you to understand this. I just wanted you to appreciate that we may have rebased and rated the biggest economy in Africa and 21st in the world, it may not make so much sense if you pitch that against our debt and the volume of funds we generate daily even as an oil-based economy. We may have stabilised as a democracy but I have friends who consider relocating to neighbouring Republic of Benin in the state and national election months of 2015. Our political and democratic transitions are still that fear-inspiring, ethnic emotions and social stratification pitting people against their hitherto warm neighbours and friends.

I will however not offend you any further with my pessimism and what you must now consider eternal moaning and whining. Just consider that what you may feel that encourages such high patriotic zeal in you as a foreign Nigerian may be pure nostalgia, a pang for all you left behind.

There is Ebola in my country now so I do not feel too comfortable to invite you to visit but I must be as hasty in commending the efforts of the government at all levels. Even the Americans have acknowledged our impressive methods of containing it. Just that people eat a lot of bitter kola here now and some have ended up in the hospitals from excess salt in their systems drinking salt water and bathing in salt.

The roads are far better in Lagos and Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital now has bridges even if some have cynically complained about it not being what will put food on the people’s table. I assure you it is a beautiful sight and our mutual friend is absolutely ecstatic about it. In fact I understand he is considering reassessing his Lagosian status for his native Ibibioland.

All other things are working well here in spite of the few problems we encounter with power, water, Boko Haram and their bombing slash girl-snatching exploits, police and military intimidation, the occasional hiccups with elections and voter materials which we trust God will soon be over, the ethnic distrust when it comes to jostling for political positions which usually means money and…I think that is all, really. Oh, they say we owe a few people some money but then, even America your other country owes too, abi?

So, you see, you can come home now and be a Nigerian indeed to contribute your telling quota and make our country even greater.

I will tell Tade that I wrote to you and I will let Femi Sowoolu know that your heart is heavy as you consider tearing yourself away from the life you have become used to in America to relocate home. Please don’t worry, it is well.

My love to your girlfriend and the children. Mama hopes still that you will marry her, indeed just marry anybody.

We are happy here as we hope you are over there. We are ‘…one nation, we are on the move…getting down for the funk of it…!’ Second bass?