By Denrele Animasaun
“He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.” — Socrates

Can someone  tell  me  the  direction in  which  Nigeria  is  heading  as am  beginning  to lose  my  orientation. In the last couple  of  weeks  there  have  been so  much  going on and  none  of them any way  to  move  towards  the  future.

The elders often say if you can go forward at least you cannot go back. Not sure going   back is a viable option. Nigeria at  one  or  Nigeria nearing  53, sure  know  what  many are  thinking  but how  can we go  back,  when we  have  plundered  our land of  its wealth  and resources, with series of  woeful leaders  and corrupt groups ?  We have become a sorry state.

Don’t  say it’s  rich coming  from me   while  I am miles  away, because  it  is not. Although  I am born in  England, I will always  be  an  outsider to  most  and they will often  remind  me that I  don’t  belong. So can I go back?  To what and why?

It  is  exasperating watching Nigerians  fighting  one  another, fleecing  each other  for the last piece of  morsel, billions and whatever it is, that is the latest must have symbol. We have  past  caring  for  one  and other  first  as fellow Nigerian and then  as  human beings.

We lack humanity and magnanimity, yet we often parade ourselves as godly, puritanical and as better than others. It is very wrong to only show a united front when we feel we are being attacked.

Right , we  have  the dubious title as  being one of  the  most  corrupt  countries, as stated by the Transparency International, which monitors international financial corruption. Nigeria comes  172nd worst among the 215 nations surveyed. Surely one is not surprised, are we?

And it is not something to brag about either. So, which way Nigerians? Let us work towards cleaning up our collective consciousness.

In a  country  so lush in  vegetation and  resources, 70% of the population  live  below the  poverty  line so  what  have  we got  to  be  proud  about  when our  leaders  go  round  in  their  Lear jets  and  most  of  our  people  are  going hungry  and deprived  of  the most  essentials  of  life? So when the word got round Nigeria had launched four satellites into space that we have a space programme!

This was  news  to me , well, there have  been  debate  in the UK  about  the appropriateness  of  providing  charity money  to  Nigeria  if  they  can afford a  space programme.

So the debate here in  the UK is, why  should  they  be  funding  charities in Nigeria when  Nigeria can launch   four satellites  into  space? It is valid you would think, that maybe Nigeria is not as deprived as it claims. But majority of the ordinary people are that poor.

So it will come as no surprise that majority of the oil proceeds are shared by very few people. None of the benefits  of the oil is seen in  around  our country, am not  talking about the  usual  shop window  dressing, am talking  about  a  good  quality standard  infrastructure that will last and sustain  more  than  one tenure of  a  government.

So no good and affordable education, health care, welfare, social care, transportation system and security. In  fact, the onus  is  on the individual  to exist on an average of less £1.30p a day, while  the 1% is  living large  and proud  to show up  the trappings of  his  ill-gotten wealth.

As you  can see,  everything  is  all about  show  in  Nigeria and  not  about supporting  the masses  to  rise  above poverty or deprivation  and become  useful  citizens. Nigeria is rich and produces crude oil that could transform our nation like Saudi Arabia, Iran, United Arab Emirates, and more close to home, Equatorial Guinea.

We produced 35 billion barrels and 100 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. So    why  have  we  not  moved  forward when Nigeria is sitting on crude oil reserves estimated at 35 billion  and  with 100 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. So why  are  we  not developed  structurally  and  socially  as  you  see in  other oil producing  countries?

Others made  desserts  into  oasis and diversified  because  they  know  one  day the wells  will  dry up and  they have  to  plan for the  future. No,  not  ours, the rudderless leaders are busy distributing the spoils  of  greed  amongst themselves making  excuses about  rebuilding a  wall, a  banqueting  hall, roads  that  is not  fit for  purpose and  you  know  a lot  more. They then rub  the face  of  the ordinary man in it,  that  he  too can be  like  them if  only he  worships  at the  shrine  of  the ruthless and  sells  his morals  for more of  the same greed.

Yeah, the law makers, government award one another stupendous salaries as big as their inflated egos.  Just like the rich of yesteryears the rich can eat cake! For them, they can buy whatever they want. If they are feeling unwell ?

They do  not  have  to experience  the poor  quality  of  health  care at home , they  simply  can  go  aboard  as if they  go  to the  next room when they have  cough ,they  take their  private  plane overseas  where they  have  retained  a specialist consultant.

Former President Obasanjo spoke recently spoke at the fourth Ibadan Sustainable Development Summit. He  said  that he  was  disappointed in the  young  generation of  leaders  and their  attitude  to citizenry. Well, they must have learnt that from somewhere don’t you think?

Of course, he was in fine form as he complimented his achievements and he; bemoaned that despite the nation’s 53 years of independence, Nigeria has no leader that the citizens could commend. He said: “By implication, we are jinxed and cursed; we should all go to hell. The problem in Africa is that when one person takes over, he would not see any good thing that his predecessor did.

Let us condemn but with caution,” and he concluded that “during my administration as president, we had some people who were under 50 years in leadership positions. One of them was James Ibori, where is he today? One of them was Alamieyeseigha, where is he today? Lucky Igbinedion, where is he today?  Yes, where are they today and where will they be tomorrow? History will judge these people and time will tell where we are heading.

There would come a time when the poor will have nothing left but to eat the rich! Do the rich care ? Of course not, they can give the crumbs off their table and that will keep the majority from rebelling for the time being. Am I cross? Yes I am very, very cross.


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