My Random Reflections @ 37
Who could have imagined that traits of dictatorship would grow stronger in Nigeria 10 years after civilians took over the mantle of leadership in Nigeria? Who could have imagined that genocides would be committed twice in Nigeria under a period of 10 years? Obasanjo wiped away the Odi community and Yar Adua is in the process of wiping out more than 6 separate communities in the same Bayelsa! Obj and Yaddy are two examples of the heartless and wicked rulers that should be seeking amnesty from Nigerians.
In countless ways, Nigerian writers, critics and social crusaders have expressed their displeasure and sadness regarding the situation in Nigeria. But what have I done about it? I do not think that it is enough to just write about these problems even if it goes a long way to make the politicians and rulers uncomfortable. You will hardly find any real leader in Nigeria: they don’t listen. Can they read? They are so unbelievably enmeshed in the madness of corrupt practices.
It bothers me how much money is wasted daily on Nigerian Televisions as several state governors have turned private TV stations into propaganda machines. Tax payers’ monies are wasted and unaccounted for in several advertisements and unnecessary documentaries. Why does the governor of a paralyzed state have to advertise any achievement at all? What would it take for a blockhead governor to know that he was (s)elected to deliver the dividends of good governance?
It takes stupidity to advertise the work of a governor on TV. I have built these houses, I have constructed these roads and so on. It is absolute nonsense and bullshit! Ogun state government has constructed and commissioned new secretariat but how glad the people would have been if the same energy, speed and sincerity of purpose had been simultaneously devoted to constructions of affordable houses for all. At what opportunity cost will a state governor build a new secretariat or a liaison office in Abuja?
When will water start to flow permanently in our homes? As a nation, we have no electricity to do basic work or to enjoy our lives. Electricity generation in Nigeria is approaching zero megawatt. How sad can it get? The roads are so bad that people are on a daily basis cursing and swearing especially now that it is raining heavily. Has anyone driven recently to and fro Apapa during this rainy season? Do we have an agency taking the economic cost in terms of time and money wasted into consideration?
Nigerian roads have been rated as probably the worst in the world. One day in the month of June my friend Uwa Igiehon was driving towards Lagos from another state. After following a trailer for a while he decided to overtake the trailer at what he thought was a convenient point. As he did, he saw a big pot hole ahead of him. If he tried to swerve back, he would drive directly to the trailer. So he had no choice but to drive over the pavement and eventually into the mid-road barrier. His car somersaulted several times. When he told me the story few days later, he didn’t understand how he survived such a ghastly accident. It is called miracle I suppose. The car was condemned but no one died in the crash. Thousand of Nigerians have died in less ghastly accidents. What a country!
In 1984, precisely August 23rd when I started class one at Festac Grammar School, the cost of all my books was N36.20K. In primary school I didn’t have to buy any books as Jakande provided me with free books and I remember how elated I was to receive my first maths set in primary 3. Last year one of my nephews sent me the cost of his school fees by sms and I almost fainted. Education in Nigeria is in perpetual comatose. It is now very expensive and exclusively reserved for the rich and the privileged.
To anyone who is keen about the 2011 elections, David Mark has already started announcing the results. He was shown on National TV informing whoever cares to know that the present crop of looting Senators in Nigeria will be returned unopposed and unchallenged in 2011. With people like Mr. Mark steering the Nigerian senate and with the near complete relegation of intelligence in public spheres, this country is heading for the abyss. I have no doubts that Mr. Iwu will do what he knows how to do best. The recent elections in Ekiti indicated that Nigeria is far from being a free and democratic nation. It is pure undiluted dictatorship at work. It is do or die!
I started criticizing the Nigerian government and statutory corporations since 1990. However in the years ahead I want to do less criticisms and more participation. I’ve always known that the best way to bring about change is to be the change yourself. This is one of the biggest challenges facing Nigeria even as well-meaning people have become monsters and looters once they tasted power or got a feel of political office. I am convinced that I am a different person. I know the son of whom I am. My parents are not thieves and I have both my name and integrity to protect.
I have started taking initiatives on certain projects with the hope that someday I will be able to get the chance to make remarkable impacts in Nigeria. I have started sharing my views with a team of health professionals (Nigerians living in the US, Britain, Sweden, South Africa and Nigeria) and we are looking into a major project that can change the face of Nigeria health care forever. We only need one chance!
I have also started dreaming of a foundation that will help at least one Nigerian citizen per year to get the same opportunity that I had to study in Sweden. There are less and less scholarships available to Nigerians from this part of the world for several reasons-discussion on that is certainly beyond the scope of this article. I have a dream to fill one of the gaps.
I also have another dream to initiate the African Rights Initiative in Scandinavian (ARIS). I had the idea even before I saw a good friend sent home before he could complete his doctoral research in Uppsala, Sweden. He suffered primarily because of the colour of his skin but he went home thereby preserving his dignity. I could not help him but I will like to protect other people. I’m looking at this for the future. Surely, I can’t do that alone.
Often I regard myself probably as the angriest Nigerian alive. I am going to be the last Nigerian to understand how we allowed fools, looters, thieves and dream-killers to reign over us. I will never understand why we don’t have a real democracy and why we cannot count votes in Nigeria. There are many things about Nigerian politics that are shrewd in secrecy and myths. How can people be taking oath to spread poverty and penury? It baffles me!
Still at 37, I don’t know why we are so blessed, yet poor. We are so rich, yet suffering. The problems with Nigeria and the intricacies surrounding all the wahala, to me, is one of the greatest mysteries of modern history. The role of the colonial master-Britain, the interests of the International community and the alleged hypocritical status of the United States are some of the problems that we need to address or possibly dismantle once and for all. As a people we must be able to choose our leaders and make them accountable. As a people we must decide how we want to live and we must be able to enjoy our commonwealth together. These things may come with great sacrifices but they are paramount if we want our children to have a place they can call home.
To continue to leave the outcomes of our existence in the hands of the oppressors-seen or unseen-is one of the greatest crimes of the 21st century.
I will have some of my friends over at my place for my annual birthday celebration. I will also be surrounded by my family here in Stockholm. It always gives a good feeling to be surrounded by friends and family. I will enjoy the day and continue to reflect on the avenues through which I want to be a part of the people that will change Nigeria for the better. If we believe, together, we can rescue Nigeria from all destructive agenda. It is possible.
May the Glory of Nigeria come, soon..!