The reactions on social media that have trailed the death of the son of Senator Na’Allah who represents Kebbi South Senatorial seat in the Senate also the former Deputy Majority leader in the Eighth Senate is not entirely surprising. When news broke on Sunday that the deceased–pilot, Captain Abdukkarim Bala Na’Allah, said to be the eldest son of Senator Bala Na’Allah, was killed by the hoodlums in his Malali (GRA) residence in Kaduna North Local Government Area, tweeps dug past statements from his father the senator where he said in at the height of the militancy in the Niger Delta in 2009 that he does not mind sacrificing 20 million Niger Deltans to save the majority. The population of the Niger Delta as at when that statement was made, was 20 million. For a senator who had no qualms committing a genocide to preserve Nigeria’s oil wealth which had existed to serve only the interests of Nigeria’s Elites, it was and still remains very hard finding a measure of pity for this tragedy that has befallen his household.
It is equally mind blowing that for a country where it is sacrilegious to speak ill of the dead, the reactions have not had a counter admonition and it appears that Nigerians have finally lost whatever reverence they might have had for political leaders as well as its ruling elite. Or at least, on social media.
But away from the chatter, the singularly most depressing thing to note is the trend that insecurity in Nigeria has taken lately. Previously, state governors had preferred living in Abuja and governing their states in absentia. Others have been largely walled off in the relative safety of state capitals, a literal disconnect from the daily realities their people face. Currently, that dynamic is changing. And it is coming with the stark reminder that nobody is immune from the carnage that is going on. Eleven months ago, Philip Shekwo, the chairman of Nasarawa State’s All Progressives Congress was kidnapped and killed in cold blood within 48 hours. Since then, several high profile politically exposed persons have followed suit, either falling to the sword, or having an entire family abducted. The father of the speaker of Zamfara House of Assembly is still in captivity as of the moment of writing.
There are so many adjectives and features to describe Nigeria’s political elite, but enlightened self interest is not one of them. One would expect that a national security crisis that has steadily taken away its members would be approached with an all hands approach, a departure from the standard Nigerian approach to emergency, but against hope by the people who do not appreciate the suicidal mentality of Nigeria’s elite, the status quo has remained the same. The Abuja-Kaduna highway for instance, was one of the first major federal highways to come under constant attacks by terrorists. When shit hit the fan, the elites abandoned the road and took to trains. As the terrorists attacked the train, they took to the air, compelling airlines to operate a route that is not more than 20 minutes by air. It is not even hard to imagine the consequence of that dereliction of duty, especially noting that the terrorists now possess anti aircraft weapons by which they shot down a police helicopter with a general purpose machine gun in February 2020.
Security is a concern for all, but the most important function of government. Nigeria’s elites, now feeling the pinch, have started to speak out, but the elephant in the room, which is the crass incompetence of the ruling party and its federal government, are yet to be addressed. Nigerians remember with bitterness how lawmakers in the federal Parliament compelled President Buhari to address the Senate on the security crisis in February, but agreed to withdraw the summons as a result of pressure and backstage horsetrading.
The cross is everyone’s to bear. But for the government and its allies within and outside power, this has not seemed heavy enough. It is the story of the hypothetical boiling frog only that this time, the frog is still boiling.