Amina lost her husband about three years ago.
Abu, her late husband had lost his job due to a mass retrenchment in the civil service.
Things had gone wrong at the rally when a rival political party stormed the venue with thugs. In the melee that ensued, Abu was hacked to death. He was never paid his gratuity and pension before he passed on. Life had been miserable for the family of eight children since then.
Now Sule, Amina’s last child had been sick for days. The boy had emancipated. He had been passing watery slimy stool, and vomiting. There was barely any life left in him. Amina was praying for a miracle to save Sule’s life. She did not have any money to take him to hospital. All the local herbal remedies she had tried had failed.
She was not even looking for money for hospital now, what she was desperate for was money to buy food for the family. Then she remembered it was a Friday. Every Friday, beggars lined up in front of the gate to the governor’s office to receive pittances from the governor. The event was relayed every Friday evening on television as part of the “dividends of democracy” the governor had promised the people of Zamfara state during his electioneering campaign. She made up her mind to join the beggars rather than starve to death.
On her way, there was commotion on the street, there had been a military coup and citizens had been asked to stay in-doors. She turned back in anger and anxiety. When she got back home Sule was dead. Amina was bitter about the indifference of providence to the cruelty life was metering to her. She had thought life was designed to work in favour of every man.
A week after the death of Sule, and the take over of government by the military, news was flying around the community about the coup. All top government officials had been summarily arrested and detained. The stories Amina was hearing about the ousted regime of Retired Commodore Barawo George, and Chief Ole Yerima were incredulous but true . Both had lived in obscene opulence and splendor as if there was no tomorrow. The governor had been sharing eighty percent of the monthly federal revenue allocation to the state between his cronies and himself, while twenty percent was left for the rest of the citizens of the state of a population of over three million. Raw cash, running into hundreds of millions had been found in the government apartments of both the governor and his deputy. Their explanation had been that they did not steal the money but had “kept government money in government house away from the aristocratic treasury looters” From there they had used the money to deliver the “dividends of democracy” to the populace that voted them in. They had been asked to detail some of such “dividends of democracy.” They had mentioned the weekly Friday giving of alms to beggars, the first lady’s pet project of poverty alleviation that gave out
N1,000 each to one hundred widows to start small businesses, donation of money for rehabilitation of notable mosques and churches in the state, sponsorship of high government officials for holy pilgrimages to Mecca and Israel, and all such balderdash “dividends of democracy.”