OUR governments are immensely proud of their attitude towards Nigeria’s future. This attitude is not entirely surprising since governments are completely interested only in the present as it affects them and their cronies. Governments never see the future beyond the next elections.
Children suffer most from the thwarted concept of the future. It is a shame that with the billions of Dollars Nigeria receives annually from crude oil sales; it invests minimally in sectors that capture the future – children, health and women, the family.
The depressing statistics of the Nigerian child that should challenge governments to action do not elicit the commonest interest in governments that consider these issues distractions to their determination to win more elections, at any cost, including resources that should have been used for our children, our future.
Our children are at higher risk of dying in the first five years of their lives, than in most African countries, including Sudan that has been at wars for more than three decades. These are United Nations statistics. Out of every 1,000 live births in Nigeria, 110 die before they are five years old.
Comparative figures are Egypt (29 deaths in 1000 live births), South Africa (45) and war blistered Sudan (65).
If our children survive, malaria, cholera, polio, malnutrition, water-borne diseases would ensure that they do not improve on the average life expectancy of 48 years.
Statistics complete the picture of a compromised future. Professor Oladimeji Oladepo of the University of Ibadan, at a lecture stated that 41 per cent of Nigerian children are stunted and 25 per cent of them are underweight.
Paltry annual budgetary allocations to health see things worsening. Illiteracy rates are high. Access to food, safe drinking water and health institutions is limited in urban and rural Nigeria.
Can malnourished children with poor mental and physical development lead Nigeria’s future? Nigeria’s ability to erect a future without healthy children runs on the deceit of promises and convoluted speeches that are becoming the hallmark of our mode of governance. There is a speech for everything, where governments assume speeches assure our future.
Nigeria annually over spends its budget by at least N1 trillion. The money is not for education, health or provision of drinking water as evidenced in schools that are shut for months, health workers’ strikes and the unavailability of potable water.
Nigerians should start searching for leaders who realise there is more to the country than the next elections. Those whose ideas would sustain Nigeria decades hence.
Our country withers but our leaders are in intense searches for what next to appropriate to themselves. Who cares for a dying Nigeria? Definitely, not these busy leaders.