April 24, 2024

Pathfinder News

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South Africa: Trouble In Paradise

Ik Muo, PhD

‘Last week, the Finance Minister, Olawele Edun frontally accused the defunct PMB regime of criminal printing of about N23trn. Northern Senators on Saturday alleged a criminal infusion of N3trn into the 2024 budget by powerful ghosts in Abuja. On Friday, in one Northern state, a judge sentenced two kidnapers to death by hanging but quickly undermined himself with an advice to the felons to seek pardon from the executive ‘since no life was lost in the process of kidnapping’ On Thursday , bandits abducted 287 students in Kaduna. On Saturday, bandits invaded a Zamfara school and stole 15 students. Before the school abductions, the senior brothers of bandits, Boko Haram, had kidnapped over 400 displaced persons in Borno. In Benue and Plateau, the murderous campaign against helpless people is one without ceasing. From  desert to the coast, agonising cries of existential woes rend the air. What we have is chaos pro-max’!!! ( Lasisi Olagunju, Adesina and Nigeria’s fatal abductions, Tribune,11/3/24). He must have berthed his column before a  group of Bandits PLC  ( quoted in the  Criminal Entrepreneurship Exchange)audaciously demanded N40trn, 11 Hilux vans, and 150 Motorcycles to appease their gods so that they would release some Kaduna  kidnapees !  This is in a country where the Federal Budget, padded or not, and to be funded mostly by borrowing and taxing the life out of the people, is   between N23 and N28 trn!  Another group, more considerate than the first, has demanded for N1bn within 20 days or they would kill all the students effortlessly abducted. I don’t  blame them. They would  have consulted their financial consultants and considered the current exchange  and inflation rates before fixing these amounts! The students’ loan programme. Courageously announced in June 2023 and the launch of which had been  rescheduled 1001 times, has just been postponed indefinitely and is being restructured ( and probably padded)by the  National Assembly just as Senator Ningi has been suspended for accusing the hollowed chambers of padding.  Wale Edun , has just appointed his company as the advisors for government foreign bond issue and the 4th relative of Bisi Akande has just been appointed into this government. And inflation is doing a 100-meters race in the country.

So, how can the son of man leave this grievous, grim  and distressing situation in Nigeria to dwell on trouble in South Africa? Well, in an academic forum where I belong, anybody who says anything critical of the BATified government is termed a tribalist, even when some of those with contrary spirits are full-blooded amalakites!  In that platform, my default mode now is to CLAP for anything and everything done by the government. Somebody has also accused me of acute BATfobia and another had acused me of being Jeremiah-ic in my writings, always painting doom-full pictures  about Nigeria! I therefore decided to redeem myself by taking another sabbatical from Nigerian matters for a while. Whether I will succeed in doing so and for how long is another matter.  But let me start today.

Trouble in paradise( TIP) is the title of a film and a music. The film premiered in 1932 was about a plan by a gentleman thief and a beautiful pick-pocket lady to cojoin and con a beautiful perfumier. Somewhere along the line, things went awry. TIP thus denotes a situation when things go wrong were or when they are expected to be  the other way round.  The musical version of TIP  was released by D Allen in 1980. This was the one I was used to in my younger days and it conveys the same message as the film version. In effect, I am saying that  trouble is thickening in South Africa,( my people call it just  ‘South’), where our people have gone in search of greener pastures; where they have gone to kill deadbody in the high seas (Hammar Limitlessly). It does not mean that all has been calm in the land of Mandela; it means that a recrudescence of  murderous rage against foreigners( read Nigerians, even when Nigerians do not constitute up to 10% of immigrants in that country) is in the offing.

Sometimes in February 2024, I came across a  nerve-wrecking video, spewing  deadly threats  against foreigners for  economically castrating  the ‘natives’. Unlike here where we leave everything to God, the people, who are apparently misguided, decided to take their fate in their hands, and declared Operation Dudula, which turned into a political party with xenophobic paradigm. Their core agenda  is to  deal with immigrants whom they blame for the poverty, poor healthcare, homelessness and unemployment, and indeed, everything evil in the land.   They adopt a scientific process that involves  identifying  these immigrants, legal or illegal, their addresses and their businesses and  then ‘finish  them’. Dudula means to ‘force out’ or to ‘knock down’. In the process, they usurp the functions of the police and immigration authority! I say that they are misguided because the foreigners were not and are not responsible for their economic woes. It is just like Nigerians who will not  acquire carpentry, electrical, masonry   skills turning around to blame  craftsmen from our neighbouring countries for rendering them jobless and poor. In S/Africa, immigrants are willing to work longer and for lower wages  than nationals. Operation Dudula was formed in 2020  and was later registered as a political party  and plans to contest the  2024 election, which has raised the tempo of their xenophobic dynamics. If our people there had been subjected to all sorts of unofficial oppression and suppression, you can then imagine what it would look like when a political party makes it their manifesto.

 After watching this chilling video with their concrete threats against immigrants, I put a call through two of my acquaintances there and they assured me that they were safe. I them ‘commissioned’ an anonymous consultant to give me a clear picture of what’s going on. He described it as a sad and complex situation, strategically x-rayed it  and outlined the unfortunate combination of circumstances that led to this:

1.The borders have been porous since the collapse of apartheid. The Mbeki presidency had a very pan African world view and was accommodating of Zimbabwean nationals that account for the largest proportion of illegals (no thanks to his quiet diplomacy when that once beautiful country was imploding under Mugabe’s gerontocracy and misguided and poorly implemented land reform policies)

2. ⁠Immigrants are by nature more daring, more pushful and more desperate than locals . The small provision stores (called spazas) was one of the bedrocks of the local black township economy. It is now in the firm grip of a combination of Ethiopian and Somalian cartel . ( pretty much like Igbo traders in northern Nigeria).

3. ⁠A generation of African professionals especially those that came in in the 1st 15yrs ( the golden Mandela /Mbeki era) made a remarkable success of their lives and careers.

4. ⁠There is a massive drugs problem and most Nigerian immigrants are considered ( and it is largely true) drug dealers except they are clear cut professionals like medical personnel , lecturers , accountants etc. Most unfortunately the majority of diaspora town unions have been effectively “captured” by  immensely wealthy individuals of questionable means of income and it explains the endless feuds and bloody shootings  you read about involving the likes of Bishop Ozobulu etc

5. ⁠The Zuma ‘wasted’ years coincided with a meltdown in the economy , increased state corruption, massive youth unemployment and inflation.

For a citizenry used to state welfare (almost half of black South Africans receive one form of monthly financial allowance from the state ) all the above has led to massive resentment. Human nature sometimes thrives on ‘scapegoatism’ and you guessed right in this case – THE FOREIGNER.

 That was his analysis. With Operation Dudula transforming into a political party and campaigning OPENLY against foreigners, it is obvious that 2024 will be hot for our people in South Africa. Most of the foreigners there are from Zimbabwe, Somali, Ethiopia, India (  they are the ones that have taken over the retail trade in Nigeria) but when the come comes to become, our people are the most vulnerable targets.  Abike Dabiri should please advise ou people to beware of the dangers ahead. I hope she does not  categorise  Nigerians in South Africa by their tribes, divide them into saints and sinners, and address them separately!  I also hope that we act earlier, rather than the fire-brigade approach last time, when we were save by the magnanimity and patriotism of Allen Onyema and air-Peace.

  Dudula Operative                                                 Returnees the other time

I had wanted to argue that this scenario is common  in Nigeria. People from certain areas are everyday asked to ‘go home’, prevented from voting, their business areas always targeted for environmental cleansing and  receive a more highhanded treatment whenever  they run foul of the law. On 12/3/24, Justice Inyang Edem Ekwo  of FHC Abuja threw out a suite by the Coalition of Northern Groups led by Nastura Shariff, Balarabe Rufa’I, Abdul-Aziz Sulaiman and Aminu Adam, seeking to expel Nd’Igbo  from Nigeria.

Last week also, the Young Nigerian Rights Organisation, (YNRO), has raised an alarm over the  massive influx of illegal immigrants from Mali, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Chad, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Algeria, and other African countries into Delta State. A group of Okoro traders had also demonstrated against the incessant kidnapping of their wives in Kogi state. Why the criminal entrepreneurs find their wives the most attractive targets, the Son of Man cannot fathom.

Protestants’: YNRO Activists and Okoro Traders

However, I will not go in this line of argument or discuss these issues because I have decided to leave Nigeria alone… at least for today.

 Ik Muo, PhD. FCIB. Department of Business Administration, OOU, Ago-Iwoye. 08033026624