Nigeria was 56 two
days ago, precisely on the 1st of October, 2016. Poor you, the founding fathers, Herbert Macaulay, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Professor Eyo Eta, Alvan Ikoku, Alhaji Aminu Kano, Joseph Tarka, Dennis Osadebay and a host of other founders. Who knows where they imagined Nigeria would be at this time.
Nigeria is a pathetic sight at 56. Other nations have left us far behind. They have achieved greatness in virtually all development spheres, social, economic, technology, politics and just any area you can possibly think of. Look at the Asian Tigers, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, that had independence about the same period as Nigeria, they have since moved on while we trail behind.
Like the Asian Tigers, we could have attained development at 56 but, alas, we have not because we are bogged down by several avoidable evils. Unfortunately, there is no shortcut to success else we could have been there. I have always said that Nigeria’s problems are legion but they can be summarised under two broad headings, the system and leadership.
Fifty-six years of independence: our system is grossly faulty. I mean our social and economic system. And since the system produces all development in the country, including political leadership, it will be hard for us not to experience the negative state we have found ourselves in. Is there a way a selfish and corrupt system like ours could not have produced the inept leadership we have had since independence?
Fifty-six years of independence: we have been put through murk and mockery. The rule of law, the one strong pillar of democracy, has been put through the wringer and is looking more and more like a white piece of cloth the pig used to wipe its snout. Inordinate personal ambition and intolerance mock our rights to good governance and the rule of law.
Fifty-six years of independence: we still blow oil pipelines and beckon on our colonial masters to return and take charge of our country. We are filled with wasted talents and inexplicable level of poverty. Is it a sin to be blessed or endowed with natural resources?
Fifty-six years of independence: we still relish in mediocrity and the enthronement of quota system. We are supposed to be a country that promotes excellence. But because of our so-called quest for national unity, excellence has become too idealistic for us to embrace.
Fifty-six years of independence: we are still unable to organise an acceptable census and have been basing our national population figures on mere conjectures and speculations, even when we know we cannot plan without a credible census figure. Our leaders are products of rigged and manipulated electoral process that comes short of best practices.
Fifty-six years of independence: we still give free rein to profligacy and allocate resources on the basis of land mass and wuru-wuru census figures. We promote a sharing mentality that encourages indolence and unproductivity. We have remained intoxicated by our size and demand respect for what we ought to be instead of what we are.
Fifty-six years of independence: we have lived in vacuousness and perpetual hatred. That is why the land is filled with blood and destruction. Nigerians are very much at ease with duplicity. While they claim to be patriotic on one hand, they lack loyalty on the other hand. In all their endeavours, they come first while the nation is put last.
Fifty-six years of independence: Nigerians are too divided to be united. Over the years, we have only demonstrated comical and diabolical loyalty to the nation. No wonder herdsmen butcher their fellow citizens while the government waffle and watch helplessly. Everything is viewed from ethno-religious perspective. Herdsmen, kidnappers, cultists, assassins, robbers and ethnic militiamen have garnered stronger followership than our gallant security agents.
Fifty-six years of independence: the Nigerian lives in agony and dispossession. United by poverty and ignorance, every move by the ordinary Nigerian towards liberation has met brick wall. I believe we are a conquered people that must be freed.
Then we must give voice to our exasperation. We must tell our leaders that our patience with them has run its full course. We have to express and tell our political leaders that we are frustrated and our frustration has gone far beyond endurance.
My heart weeps. The eyes go rheumy. Life goes on. No thanks to wuru-wuru, mago-mago for the invention called Nigeria.