One can easily see many African countries West, East, North and South painstakingly and resolutely working to better their lot and join the league of at least civilized and functional nations in spite of all the odds and their differences.
Even those recently ravaged by civil wars, genocide and epidemics like Ebola are consciously striving not to be left behind.
But in my own dearly beloved country Nigeria, what we see and hear is a cacophony of voices. Populists, opportunists, political marauders and undertakers and ethno-religious jingoists and bigots across board are digging in daily, pushing relentlessly at our fault lines as though their very lives depended on it.
And you ask why exactly?
In my beloved country Nigeria, we try to outdo one another in trying to resurrect the most primitive and barbaric of attitudes, history and ideas. We run on mutual distrust, hate, lies and conspiracy theories. Here, everyone claims to be right, educated, sophisticated, well travelled and to know it all, yet our individual attitude and character, public and private conduct would make the cave men green with envy as to how we out do them.
My beloved country has the largest concentration of latest models of state of the art vehicles in Africa yet those who own and drive those vehicles have no clue what new model conduct entails. It does seem the bigger the vehicle, the bigger a brute the owner or driver is.
My beloved country has some of the most modern and exquisite buildings in Africa yet half of them are occupied by rodents and wall geckos while a larger percentage of my fellow countrymen sleep in squalors and decrepit mud houses.
My beloved country has some of the richest people in the Africa and some of the poorest people in Africa, nay the world, because a few have methodically conscripted what belongs to the us all, yet the majority poor rise in defence of the minority oppressors because they have successfully brainwashed them into believing that those who are fighting to right this historic injustice are the enemy.
In my beloved country, there are two Tribes- the Rich and the Poor. But the Tribe of the poor doesn’t know we belong together. They don’t realize it is ‘Them’ against ‘Us”.
My day job brings me in constant contact with people of other West African Nationalities and I’m ashamed to say in most cases in my interactions, the difference in orientation, candour and values is as clear as light and day and most importantly is their greater and unmistakable sense of Contentment, National Loyalty, Pride and Patriotism.
Travel to even Cotonou, Benin Republic at our backyard and see the sanity at the traffic lights. In contrast, stand at a traffic light in Abuja, my country’s Capital City, you would wonder why the government bothers to install them and make them work in the first place because apparently we would rather do without them.
Those who obey them, look like the idiots while the rest who don’t give a damn look like the ‘sharp’ dudes. We are always in a hurry to nowhere. ‘Sharp sharp’ is the modus operandi.
Go to a public toilet and you would find that we prefer to urinate everywhere, beside, in front and behind but not inside it. Of course inside was never built to be maintained or kept clean.
In my dearly beloved Country, selfishness is the working capital. Past Leaders and Elders who have been privileged to lead my nation are the Biggest Agents of Destabilization.
Fighting daily with their words and deeds to tear down rather that to help build a nation that has given them everything by the sheer grace of God.
In my beloved country, the much talked about Giant of Africa, it seems we are in a hurry to meet the tag of “shithole” that Donald Trump gave us, having proven to be true the tag by David Cameron of being “fantastically corrupt” with the kind of primitive wealth grab exhibited by Mrs Deziani Madueke and Mrs Patience Jonathan and others. We seem to be in a hurry to be like Libya and it seems we can’t wait to better Rwanda’s genocide record. We forget that ‘I get am before no be property’.
In my dearly beloved country, everyone seems to be high on some special and potent kind of illicit substance. The type that makes one in a hurry to run off the cliff and to run around with a hand grenade thinking it’s a golf ball.
From Ghana that we sent packing decades ago to Rwanda that suffered a horrific Genocide to Angola, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Morocco, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, even Niger to other smaller nations like Benin, Madagascar, Lesotho, Djibouti, Cape Verde to name but a few, they have understood that building a decent and functional society where orderliness, accountability and civility reigns means more than having all the power, money and Crude Oil in the world. They have understood that inspite of whatever differences they have (and they do have them), they are better, united together.
They have realised that what matters is that the least of their citizens get a break in life and that their true strength and potentials lie in such differences and diversity and time is ticking.
Sometimes, I wonder how all these will end for my dearly beloved country as it seems we keep getting worse by the year.
Sometimes I wonder if there’s really any light at the end of the tunnel.
Often times, I dread the future we are laying for our kids and future generation.
Please do not come and tell me about one leader or the other. Think about yourself and judge if you have said and done well that Nigeria may go well.
It is scary when one looks down the road and sees that even if by any self inflicted armaggadon Nigeria splits into at least 3 Nations as dreamt by some Joseph the dreamers, the resultant nations will be worse off than what we have today.
Because that we hate others today doesn’t necessarily mean we love ourselves. It is not because we love ourselves that we seem to fight others together today.
It is because we see others as a common enemy today. So when the common enemy is eliminated tomorrow, we start or rather resume our own enmity and the vicious cycle continues. And that would even be more disastrous.
I ask us my fellow country men and women; Is it not time we got off our high horses, pulled the plug and tried to remedy the situation before it’s too late? Is it not getting too late already?
I’m sorry if I’m too harsh on us, but whom one truly loves one chastizes. As we Igbos say: “If one knows how to pound, one would pound in the mortar but if one doesn’t know how to pound, one would pound on one’s laps”.
What’s it gonna be? Cry my beloved country Nigeria.
Again as my elders say: “The Chick that the Kite carried away said it is not shouting that the Kite will release it but for the world to hear it’s voice“.
That’s just what I have done. I’m done.