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.