>This is coming a little late i know but write this i must.
The year 2010 was supposed to be remarkably unforgettable for the People of Nigeria.
50 years of Independence is worth celebrating. Despite the complete near absence of basic infrastructure and the systematic degradation of our educational system.
A sovereign nation at 50 is still worth celebrating. An uproar had already gone out concerning the huge sums of money ear marked for the celebrations, but in our patriotic zeal we felt deep down that a celebration was required, albeit not on the ridiculous scale those at the presidency had planned.
What with the tens of millions of naira spent on the Cake, or was it the hundreds spent trying to organize a military parade and Air show.
As a resident of Abuja over the past 4 years i have been indulged myself with the ease at which traffic moves. Relocating from the near chaos of Lagos made it even more of a shocker.
The build up to the 50th anniversary celebration made things different. Security personnel sealed off several roads for long hours hampering movement within the city’s administrative nerve center. To make matters worse, The free ways that were meant to unburden the inter city roads where packed with those trying to avoid these seal offs.
My case was pitiful, i had business at the Supreme court and therefore could not avoid these areas so for 5 days building up to this expensive finale i was always stuck in a form of traffic i believed was a thing of my Lagos past.
Each days as i slowly crawled in my car towards the supreme court, i thought about the security measures being put in place and i wondered if they were good enough for a celebration of the reported magnitude (based on the billions of naira).
Fast forward to the 1st of October, I had been out till the early hours of the morning so i basically did a count down into the 1st of October.
I went to bed at about 4:30AM in the morning and was almost immediately woken up by my Boss (downside of living in the same house with your Oga). The man had no idea i had been out all night and he wanted me to get all the tires of his car changed as soon as possible.
Despite the fact that this wasn’t in my Job description it was impossible to tell my own Father that i wanted to get some extra hours of sleep.
Off i went to Apo Mechanic village to purchase the tires, then from there i headed towards Infinity in Wuse 2 to have the tires changed (it was going to be a long day).
Infinity had decided not to open for the day so my only other available option within the vicinity was the AP filling station opposite Nigerian University Commission building. I headed in that direction immediately. No sooner had they jacked all tires up, i heard a big bang. At that moment i twitted; “just heard an explosion, that definitely was a bomb…”
Soon enough, Radio stations, Private TV stations and Cable news networks had sent out the story and were covering it live. this was after i heard the second explosion as well.
My family members started calling me soon enough, trying to confirm where i was. I assured them of my safety and told them i would be home soon.
On my drive back home, i began to wonder what went wrong, as details started to trickle in i became more and more worried. What happened to the money meant for security vote, what happened to intelligence reports, why wasn’t the area swept for Bombs and harmful objects before the event?
I posted one more on a social network the following day; “why don’t the Security bodies in Nigeria have sniffer Dogs?” one reply came back saying; “we haven’t reached that stage yet..”
I was appalled, For months now Bombs have been going off in different parts of the Country while we prepare to host world leaders and dignitaries on such an important event and world trends do not dictate that ensuring the safety of lives and property to both the populace and invited guest at least within the immediate vicinity is a priority?
Then one word came to mind; Baghdad!
After the American invasion and the subsequent ouster of Saddam Hussein, rebels and supporters of his regime resorted to planting Bombs in cars and Market places in order to create a perpetual state of insecurity and unrest.
The days following the twin bomb blast of October 1st are reminiscent of the early days of Baghdad. Continued information leaks and reports about Bombs going off in public buildings.
I still continued wondering where the security vote went to.. then it began to dawn on me gradually.
Its campaign season for pete’s sake!
These guys are saving for the season.
Hence the loss of lives and the failure to prevent a national embarrassment.
This day will never leave the consciousness of Nigerians no matter how we try to forget it.