Happy new year…Let me start this article by saying that I do believe in the project called Nigeria. Each day, for me, brings renewed hope that the labors of our heroes past shall not be in vain and our dearly beloved country would fulfill its potentials. With the largest population in Africa and the second biggest economy on the continent, I am yet to find any other nation that equals Nigeria in terms of her vast human and material resources. However, I have a concern which has metamorphosed into grief.
Nigeria is a country that when one thinks about its insistence on crawling to greatness, grief is the best consolation. This is a country full of hope and opportunity, yet chooses to engage in self-destruction by turning everything called reason upside down. Today we have chosen to bask in that which impedes our growth and sustainability as a nation. Our odd choices reflect an evil desire to remain a nation of unfulfilled potentials, and there are plenty of instances to draw from:
Only in Nigeria do you find a former Governor who had been convicted for stealing from the State who entrusted him with governance responsibility, slated for payment of outstanding entitlements after his release from jail from the same tax payers’ money he plundered.
Only in Nigeria, do you find politicians who plundered the nation’s wealth suddenly procure judicial immunity as soon as they become members of the ruling party. The long arms of the law are restrained once they pledge loyalty to the “Oga at the top”.
Only in Nigeria are there elections, re-run elections, re-rerun elections with the convenient excuse of our democracy being nascent.
Only in Nigeria are a people, who produce the wealth of the nation, denied an equitable share of the resource that binds the country together. Rather they are expected to be grateful for the “crumbs that fall off the master’s table”, while the wealth is concentrated in the hands of a small minority.
Only in Nigeria do you find the Super Falcons train under less enviable circumstances, compete and win laurels for the country, only to return home and discover their entitlements cannot be paid because their dearly beloved country “did not expect their victory”. Of course, the paymasters were surprised that their structure which was supposed to aid failure propelled the ladies to excellence. One recalls with nostalgia, the arrival of kits for our Olympic athletes after the games closure – of course, it happens only in Nigeria.
Only in Nigeria are hapless people displaced due to the insurgency in the North East and deprived of basic living necessities, while their fellow countrymen divert funds meant for their upkeep to private pockets.
Only in Nigeria currently under the strains of recession, do you find a budget drafted to reward the political class with huge enumerations while the citizenry wallow in an extreme poverty aggravated by a foreign exchange policy that has made the Naira one of the world’s four worst performing currencies in 2016 (according to a report by Bloomberg LP). Not to forget the 2016 budget that was presented, stolen, represented, padded and unpadded, then finally passed.
Only in Nigeria do you find governance reduced to a family-affair where sensitive government portfolios & contracts are allocated to family members and cronies without regard for due process.
Only in Nigeria do you find herdsmen overrun farming communities, maiming, raping, looting and killing while the State that exists for the protection of lives and property folds its arms in conceited helplessness.
As a country, we are lagging behind in the path of development. Once compared with Indonesia, Korea, Brazil, Singapore, we are now competing against failed states with constant penchant for majoring in the minor.
Africa’s largest gas reserves, yet Nigeria is still unable to provide electricity for its citizens.
Only in Nigeria is a citizen his/her own government. It means therefore you are your own police (vigilante), you provide water & electricity for yourself (dig boreholes & run generators) et cetera.
The problem with Nigeria is enormous but the solution is simple. Until we look at ourselves and realign our objectives as a nation by eliminating mediocrity and engaging our elected leaders in their actions and inactions, we will never reach our true potentials. We must task our leaders to develop sustainable frameworks of socio-political and economic development and also strengthen our justice system so that those that rape our resources would be punished, serving as a deterrent to others. We must agitate that our federalism guarantees equity, justice and progress to the various component units. We must understand the power of our votes in deciding those competent to hold positions of responsibility. Governance is passion. It is about having leaders who care about its citizenry. Only then in Nigeria can we move away from this current level which is far below our potential.
📸 : ABC News.