By Kennedy Ikantu Peretei.
In the last two weeks, Ondo State has played host to the rest of the world. Receiving condolence messages, men and women who paid visit to the ancient city of Owo, over what has been appropriately referred to as the Owo massacre.
Gunmen (who are still unknown, apart from Rauf Aregbesola, Minister of Interior’s declaration that they were members of ISWAP) attacked St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo with explosives and guns. At the Funeral Service for a mass burial organised by the Catholic Church, Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu who was in tears remarked that, the government failed to defend the victims.
There have been several matters arising from the barbaric incident. The first was the war of words between Akeredolu and Aregbesola, both members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). The second was a tweet that went viral, credited to a civil servant in the State who questioned the call for people to donate blood to some of the victims who were in hospitals in Owo and environs.
What Akeredolu said at the burial service, was a confirmation of what every sensible Nigerian has said about the APC government and its agents. That the government has failed the people is the truth. Akeredolu’s qualification of the failure as “not because we have not tried but because those forces on the other side are evil and they have support” amounts to begging the question.
At least l appreciate the humility of the Governor to openly admit the failure of the APC government, whether at the centre or at home in Ondo State. It is a further proof as to the reason why such an “evil” government should not be allowed beyond 2023.
While the whole of Ondo State mourned and grieved over the massacre, the pains of civil servants came to the centre stage again. This was against the backdrop of calls for volunteers to donate blood to save lives of those who were in hospitals. The response captured on Twitter was this: “While most children are anemic, parents can’t afford proper medical care for men… prior to this, there had been a crazy staffing crisis. Civil servants have parked their cars due to inability to buy tyres, service or fuel them. We owe tonnes of bills in kid’s school fees and food stuff bought on credit. Hungry people neither donate blood nor volunteer”. In what other ways can a government fail the people other than this?
Teachers in Ondo State who just received January, 2022 salaries on 7th June have been put on notice that, effective from July 2022, it will be mandatory to have a Master’s Degree in Education or a six months training at Public Service Institute, Ilara-Mokin to qualify for promotion. For those without M.Ed, the six months training comes with a one hundred and thirty thousand naira financial requirement.
For this category of workers who are already in a very bad shape, what a very ingenious way of creating hardship for the people. In what other ways can a government fail the people?
Training and re-training are key requirements for every organization desirous of efficiency and growth. But there are always safety nets and welfare packages that make such training sought after. This one being proposed by Akeredolu is ill-timed and the height of insensitivity to the plight of the people.
As much as l share in the pain and grief of the massacre in Owo, this is the flip side we cannot shy away from.
This series will continue shortly. The next, which is series 20 will be a recap of MISRULE from 1-19.
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