The explosion that ripped through Ibadan on 16 January was of mind-blowing proportions. I and some other party leaders of the African Action Congress (AAC) Oyo state had just left the Ojo Market after a meeting. We passed through Sango and we parted ways, with some of us going to get something to eat. As we headed close to the Okada Riders part on our way to do this, we heard a big bang that pierced through my hearts like a thousand thunderstorms. And it reverberated- gboaaaa!!!
Everyone around started running helter-skelter. The explosives appeared to have been thrown in the streets nearby. This was at Oke-Tunu, not too far from Bodija. But then I received calls from friends at Eleyele, and Mokola who were also alarmed about the bang. This shows the fact that the explosion was heard far and wide across Ibadan. It was thus shocking for me to learn that it was simply labeled as “the work of miners” by Governor Seyi Makinde.
As Omoyele Sowore, the AAC National Chair raised in his five posers, the blast seems pre-empted as the statements of the governor is quite declarative and too hasty. What are the concrete reports from their agencies like the police and DSS? What kind of miners keep explosives in an area where people live? If Seyi Makinde insists it was the work of miners, there should be official statements showing where the mining is taking place and what is being mined.
Officially, Oyo state has “Aqua Marine, Cassiterite, Clay, Dolomite, Gemstone, Gold, Kaolin, Marble, Silimonite, Talc & Tantalite.” Which of these resources is being mined and who is accountable?
There is a thin line between the economy and security. If the economy is not collectively owned, security too will be individually owned. The Nigerian ruling class’s implementation of neo-liberalism is leading to disasters and security hazards.
From gold mining in Zamfara which has caused serious operations of bandits and terrorists; to the Osun gold mining, which is the cause of covert violence and political brouhaha, to the well-known activities of Governor Seyi Makinde (taking after Isiaka Ajimobi his predecessor) of selling off state raw materials and even known properties to private hands, as well as the big Ondo crises where late Governor Rotimi Akeredolu was busy fleecing state recourses like the Oluwa Forest Reserve, extractivism, which is the rabid exploitation of natural resources that should be owned collectively for the profit of a few people has led to disasters and increasing insecurity.
This crisis arising from the privatisation of state resources tickles the underbellies of security challenges. Borno and the Niger Delta is the same story. It’s always about who controls what, once the ruling class has ideologically stamped the transfers of state resources into private hands.
On the other hand, how can private homes have such disastrous explosives in a densely populated city like Ibadan?! The casualties would have been higher if Sango or Agbowo, the location of the University of Ibadan, were closer. How is it that individuals now possess weapons of mass destructions all in the name of “mining?” Why do private miners possess bombs?!
Capitalism is endangering the vast majority of Nigerians and us down the road to barbarism. Such explosions would most likely have been avoided if the mining company had been state-owned and democratically managed by the working class. For it is greed and carelessness that could make anyone keep such weapons in private residences.
Care workers are tirelessly tackling the aftermath of the Oyo Explosions at the moment. It is however evident from the deafening bang, in my view, that the weapon exceeds the power of dynamite. Also, it is clear that if the Governor Seyi Makinde is correct about the miners, then privatisation of state resources should be stopped immediately for the safety of all!
It’s high time we took away the commanding heights of the economy from private hands whose interests are private profits. It’s time we take the economy as the people, to be collectively explored and run. The lies that government has no business in business are already simply ideological. They are not backed by hard facts. Handing over the economy to the private sector is akin to handing over the whole of our lives and properties to individuals. We must stop allowing individuals to be in charge of our collective lives. When we do this, it will be easier to return the state of security to collective concerns, other than the safety of a few individuals!
by Kunle Wizeman AJAYI