By Lawrence Chinedu Nwobu
By Midnight on the 29th of June 2010, an international flight touched down at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. Inside the flight were delegates from the European Union, and the United States of America. Following a heavy rainfall that had just eased, the atmosphere was somewhat chilly,with the wind rustling gently through the leaves, and making eerie whistling sounds. About the same time that the flight touched down at Abuja,12 Ships, 4 each were berthing in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Calabar ports.
The captains of the ships were under instructions to berth and await further orders from the delegates and the Nigerian government in Abuja .The delegates, refreshed, but still somewhat groggy after a long sleep in a trans-atlantic flight were highly expectant as they descended the flight into a welcoming presidential convoy, hosted by the Chief of staff to the president, and the Secretary to the federal government. After much exchange of pleasantries and diplomatic niceties, they finally headed for a top-secret private meeting with the president and other dignitaries at government house. Touching down at 01:30 hours at government house, they were ushered into the state house conference centre where the President, Vice president, Senate president, Speaker of the house of reps. 36 state governors, service chiefs, Ministers, permanent secretaries, local government chairmen, chairmen of boards, parastatals and traditional rulers were seated.
The top-secret nocturnal meeting commenced after a late night banquet. The European and American delegates explained that due to the discovery of a new planet "Genetica" that was habitable with very favourable climatic conditions, they required at least 10 million Slaves to help them in setting up farms and constructing critical infrastructure in the new planet. The Nigerian government had prior to the arrival of the delegates, known the agenda, and had tacitly agreed out of crass greed to the deal, subject to final ratification of the modalities in the conference. The deal was finally sealed with a price tag of $10 billion to be paid to the Nigerian government and shared among all the officials present at the conference and all other stakeholders who would facilitate the rapid procurement of the Slaves.
The state governors, traditional rulers etc were to immediately begin the arrest of slaves in their respective domains for onward distribution to the ships. The meeting ended with the gleeful European and American delegates issuing an advance payment of $2billion dollars to the rogue Nigerian government. Orders were immediately given to the 12 ships berthed in several ports to prepare their ships for reception of thousands of able-bodied slaves for onward shipment to America from where they would board a special space vessel to planet"Genetica" to begin gruelling slave labour.
The above scenario might seem far-fetched or even impossible, but the truth is that there is nothing in Nigeria today that makes it different from a slave plantation. The crass greed and unbelievable wickedness of Nigerian leaders at virtually all levels, from thePresidency to the state governors, ministers, local government chairmen, etc that have left the roads in utter disrepair, the hospitals in shambles, the schools in progressive decay, and the nation in perpetual darkness amongst other social and infrastructural meltdown, in spite of a record oil boom running for almost a decade, is enough testimony that if the variant of transatlantic slave trade still existed, Nigerian leaders would bat no eyelid in selling their citizens into slavery to line their pockets with lucre.
Indeed present day Nigeria is by any definition a slave plantation. The masses are huddled in crunching poverty, toiling everyday in the scorching heat, under abusive exploitative bosses, and yet ending up most of the time being owed their meager wages. The situation is compounded even further by the grim reality that on getting home after such a hellish day, there will be neither running water nor electricity.
For many civil servants, many of whom end up queuing for hours at the pensions office after a whole life of working without getting any pension, the hard scrabble and undervalued bricklayers, mechanics, market women, and unemployed graduates struggling to survive under hellish conditions as against the unconscionable political leaders reveling in crass greed, who drive around in air-conditioned fleets of cars, surrounded by gun totting security men, living in fortified opulent mansions with non-stop generators humming round the clock,and working in similarly air-conditioned offices, totally cushioned from the harsh realities of life, which the enslaved masses confront everyday, there can be no better definition and or reality of a slave plantation than that which they have been subjected as victims on a daily basis.
The recent revelation by Musa Yar Adua on the occasion of the visit of the world bank vice president, Dr Oby Ezekwesili that $10billion was spent one lectricity by the Olusegun Obasanjo administration, while ironically the worsening power situation has thrown the nation into perpetual darkness, and a further revelation by the deputy senate president Senator Ike Ekweremadu that N950 billion was being owed contractors on non-existent roads could only have been possible with totally unconscionable leaders, that harbour a "slave trader mentality." The vices and schemes through which Nigerian leaders have looted state funds without sparing a thought for the shackled and impoverished masses are legion.
Anybody familiar with the historical brutality and inhumanity demonstrated by the erstwhile slave traders and masters would instantly recognize the same callousness and greed that made the slave trade possible among Nigerian leaders. No matter how hard they try, Nigerian leaders cannot escape the inevitable verdict of history, which will surely brand them slave traders and masters who thrived on the exploitation, misery and despair of their subjects to the extent that while other nations with smart, caring leaders prospered,they only succeeded in creating a modern day slave plantation for their own citizens in the 21st century.
Lawrence Chinedu Nwobu, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org