A wounded country called Nigeria




Toye Faleye

One is pained beyond extreme that Nigeria today still writhes in indescribable mutilation caused by years of wanton destruction, lack of direction and lack of vision which have earned it a pariah nation in the world.

One is pained that, all over, citizens still complain that the economy is in shambles, and that the country is still being classified as a third world country, or to glorify her ignominious status, an emerging economy, when its mates have made landmark achievements.

One is pained that many of its peers, which obtained independence almost at the same time, have gone past the country in million ways, and have become giants, tigers, movers and shakers of their world, while Nigeria still struggles to survive.

It baffles one while Malaysia, Singapore and many other Asian Tigers could have commanded the attention of the world by turning their economy around so much so that an a country like Nigeria, called the giant of Africa, still looks up to them. No stride at technological development whatsoever. Her educational institutions, which should be the seat of knowledge, are neglected and left to rot away. All efforts are dissipated to inordinate wealth.

It could not have been without the wrongs of the ignoble and corrupt privileged few and the somewhat resilient, docile and submissive followers who never ask questions, and who keeps adjusting and shrinking until life is being squeezed out of them.

Do we say the man in them has died? It is not a matter of inciting anyone. It is not that one wants them to carry arms and ammunition and haul them to the doorsteps of the bourgeoisies if one says they’ve lost the man in them, but it is that they should learn to raise their voice when necessary and squeal at obnoxious and draconian thinking from the ruling class.

You wonder what is wrong with a country that discovered oil in Oloibiri in 1959, and turned the same mineral resources to all sorts of altercations, pillaging it and failing to convert the blessing from God to what could uplift and benefit all citizens. It is pitiable that those from whose backyard the oil was discovered, suffers environmental degradation and untold hardship till now without successive government doing anything except now that we are hearing of the clean up of the environment.

Nigeria discovered oil and could not turn its economy around unlike Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and many other oil producing nations. The ruling class gobbled up the oil and converted it to own benefit only. And here you have a country suffering a severe haemorrhage in its educational, social-political and economic sectors. In all facets of life, Nigeria wriggles in pain today. The country is so mutilated that almost everybody, except the members of the cabal that continue to axe the country mercilessly, has collapsed under the brimstone immersed on it.

Those who cannot cope have embraced crimes. They have now resorted to ritual killings, murder of different shades, kidnapping, abduction, terrorism, militancy, internet scam, among others as means of surviving the turbulence.

Nigeria is badly wounded, and it cries for those who can take it out of the doldrums, just like Allan Paton wrote in his book: “Cry My Beloved Country.” It cries for the beautiful ones to be born to take her to the El-dorado, even though, the beautiful ones have yet to be born just like the Ghanaian writer, Aye Kwei Armah wrote in his book, “The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born.”

Now it battles recession; all the prices of commodities are high, insurrection pervades the air, demand for self determination and cry of marginalization from all the ethnic groups jag the ear. How does Nigeria survive?

Politicians have lost focus. Their tools during electioneering is subterfuge, employing means to hoodwink the electorate, rather than offer issue-base manifestoes, and properly articulate them with a view to making them impact the lives of the citizens positively.

Politicians should emerge to serve a nation, but not in Nigeria where the ultimate aim is to loot the treasury, use power to oppress and tread rough-shod on the citizens. But they can not serve, because service is taxing. It requires self denial, discipline, tact and intelligence.

Service is, as well, scaring, considering how nerve-racking, brain-racking and energy-sapping it can be if one truly wants to serve. It is not actually inviting as such, save a mind that covets only the pleasantries that it offers, who off curse, when gets to power, will not serve the people.

 It takes a highly determined, disciplined, a workaholic, a good-intentioned, meek, altruistic, trustworthy and patriotic individual to choose to serve a people. Service is seeking the well-being and welfare of a people. But do they (politicians) have the wherewithal to serve when all they are concerned about is how to voraciously grab the position of power?

Where are their efforts to empower the plebeians who lack the basic necessities of life? Where is their determination to lift the under-privileged from the dungeon of disrepute? Where is their compassion to free the oppressed from the shackles and manacles of suffering? Have the widows, the orphans and the aged any access to good life or good living? Do those who scramble for leadership positions think of combating the astronomical rate of crimes? Does it occupy their minds that they must wage a fierce battle against corruption? Do they, for once, meditate on frontally tackling the socio-political and economic disorderliness plaguing the country?

Rather than think of wiping out the ills fore-mentioned and serve the citizens who give them power; rather than concentrate on excellent politicking, they rent the air with obscene words and engage in fisticuffs with one another over positions and appointments.

They rather forget that the positions they jostle for are a seat that demand enormous responsibilities and service to humanity. They never think for a moment that those positions are transient. 

And unfortunately, the citizens who should put the politicians on their toes are docile and gullible; hence in the absence of what would hold them (politicians) down, they ride to power easily. They emerge over and over again in different political offices, as if they are the only ones blessed with reservoir of knowledge in their communities and constituencies.

They are not challenged or scrutinized. They are not engaged during meetings, neither do they account for their stewardships. They spend their constituency allowances anyhow in-as-much-as they are protected by godfathers whom they oil effectively.

Nobody calls them to order. The electorate are largely uneducated, unconcerned, politically naïve, less demanding and highly impoverished. They do not know that the power to hold politicians accountable resides with them. Ours is a country colossally wounded and battered.

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