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By Chioma Gabriel
Nigeria is  a great country and Nigerians are beautiful people. The average Nigerian is enduring and enterprising  and can survive any challenge in life .

The Nigerian doesn’t chicken out easily. He never says die. He never quits.He wears patience and long suffering like a toga. One wonders then why many think  they have to travel overseas for greener pastures or succeed in life . Which green pasture overseas can be greener than our national flag and international passport?

If green pastures are not found in Nigeria, why then are the Indians, Chinese,Lebanese and other nationals besieging Nigeria in search of gold and even have the effrontery to tell their siblings back home that Nigeria is a country littered with gold but Nigerians are too blind to see it !

Of course, nobody can blame them after the hype we made about the £3,000  Visa Bond for Nigerians wanting to travel to UK and  the  exhaustion of the United States Visa Lottery quota for Nigerians.

They observe us with suspicion when we visit their embassies to obtain visas and suffer the humiliation of being told point blank, in many cases, that we are not qualified to visit their countries whereas , they are residing in ours!  Imagine being told by a miserable foreign embassy worker  living in Nigeria who has no nomenclature  in his own country  that you would not come back to Naija if you travel to his country. Obviously, he thinks you’d prefer to sweep the streets of London or America to keeping a respectful job here in Nigeria!

What are Nigerians looking for overseas? Why would they want to travel and live like slaves in a foreign country doing menial jobs?

What greener pastures are Nigerians looking for  that they cannot get here? If there are no green pastures here, why would  the Indians, Chinese,  Lebanese, Britons and even Americans be living in Nigeria to eke out a living?

Nigeria will be 53 on Tuesday and this should be time for us to reflect deeply about ourselves and the country. We should forget the few challenges we are having and work out ways of moving Nigeria forward.

Come to think of it, Nigeria is not the only country that is having  political problems . Other countries too face challenges of leadership and like us too, wash their dirty linen in the public . It is not only in Nigeria that legislators hit themselves with maces or fight  during plenary. It is not  only in Nigeria that the National Assembly disagrees with the President. It also happens elsewhere.

Just recently, the British Parliament refused to follow Cameron blindly into Syria battle. This in political terms is a  major  setback for the British Prime Minister David Cameron. The British Parliament voted against military action in Syria, forcing the United States to perhaps go it alone if it chooses to strike Syria over a recent chemical attack that killed hundreds of people.

It is quite obvious that America has also chickened out after  the 285-272 British Parliament vote ruled out any military intervention by the United Kingdom and worse , with the votes coming on the day that the Obama administration postponed disclosure of the intelligence that led it to conclude the regime of Bashar Assad was to be blamed for the Aug. 21 chemical attack that killed many in a region North of Damascus. This  ‘cough’ by the UK Parliament made Obama of the United States catch ‘cold’!

Last month, Taiwanese MPs exchanged punches and threw water at one another ahead of an expected vote to authorise a national referendum on whether to build a fourth nuclear power plant on the densely populated island of 23 million people.

Nuclear power has long been a contentious issue in Taiwan and became more so following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011.The  fracas pitted the pro-referendum forces of President Ma Ying-jeou’s ruling Nationalist Party against strongly anti-nuclear forces affiliated with the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party.

In Ukraine, last December, the  parliament devolved into an all-out brawl between government supporters and opposition lawmakers after the beginning of a parliamentary session  when a group from the opposition swarmed the body’s podium. Lawmakers wrestled with one another and some deputies were knocked over as anger over the controversial practice of voting in place of absent peers boiled over. An intrepid photographer captured a government supporter punching a charging opposition lawmaker in the crotch.

Few years ago, a brawl equally erupted in the South Korean parliament after an argument over the provision of free meals for students in public schools turned physical. The governing Grand National Party (GNP), which was opposed to the bill, invaded the  Speaker’s podium during a debate.

The parliament was plunged into chaos, as lawmakers pushed and shoved one another. One man managed to break through the opposition’s barrier and tried to occupy the Speaker’s chair. The showdown continued until opposition politicians from the Democratic Party succeeded in dragging members of the GNP away from the podium.

So, what is the big deal about our own National Assembly  having disagreements with one another  over  President Jonathan’s 2015 presidential aspiration  or money being shared to impeach some key officers of the House  as alleged in some quarters? What is the big deal about hitting one another with the mace in a State Assembly when it is a normal practice all over the world?

Chemical attacks in the  north of Damascus that killed hundreds of people  are not different from our Boko Haram attacks which have claimed thousands of lives in Nigeria and now the insurgents are inching closer to the seat of power in Abuja.

There is nothing oversea  that  Nigeria cannot boast of. Why then would we subject themselves to the humiliation of being insulted at foreign embassies and being subjected to terrible security checks at Airports?

It is no longer a secret that Nigerians are not trusted enough to be  checked with just scanner . It has gotten that bad. Since the Abdul-Mutallab experience, Nigerians are physically checked at departure and arrival  lounges of international airports to the point that a virgin can lose her virginity in the process of being physically and brutally screened by the gloved hands of security experts and a baby in the womb could be shaken out and shaken back into the mother’s womb in a bid  to physically feel things.

Do we need all that?

Why should we give these long-nosed foreigners the impression that we prefer to wash their dead bodies and sweep their streets than doing more honourable jobs here? Some of those who were washing dead bodies and sweeping streets are already coming back home after they realised there is indeed gold here in Nigeria, that ours is a country flowing with milk and honey,  the Promised Land.

Some of our young musicians who were dancing to Michael Jackson’s Thriller in America and UK are already home smiling to the banks and counting their millions. If in doubt, ask the likes of D’banj, Davido, Tiwa Savage and Banky W. and they will tell you that home is heaven, that the home is where the heart is! If not for their smartness, some of them would have ended up also sweeping the streets of America!

If  the lure is technology, I can assure you that there is nothing that you can get in the UK and America that you cannot get in Aba. Anything made in UK, America or China can be well duplicated with maximum certainty in Aba. Or do you want to play tricks with the people who produced the Biafran Red Devil,   and the mass killer bomb (Ojukwu’s bucket or  Ogbunigwe)?

Entertainment-wise, we have beaten them to it. Is it in terms of comedy? The days of Eddy Murphy and Arsenio Hall’s ‘Coming to America’ are gone. We have Julius the genius, Seyi Law, Yaw and countless others.

(Apologies to Mandy).

It is not only America that can boast of the likes of Danny De Vito because we have our own ‘Aki and Paw-Paw’ for maximum entertainment. If it is action movies, we have Jim Iyke both in and off the set to give us the required action. There is nothing to go looking for in America. If you think you have to go to America to smooch a Monica Lewinsky, that is balderdash. In Nigeria, a newly born baby girl is up for grabs! If in doubt, ask the Nigerian legislator!

Nigeria is a beautiful country and we have clearly drawn the line between the poor, the rich and the nouveau rich. The evidence is spread across Asokoro in FCT, Parkview and VGC in Lagos and the various GRAs across Nigeria. The difference between these areas and Mushin or Ajegunle is  clear.

Nigeria should be celebrated at 53 because the country has got all it takes.

Hip, Hip, Hip! Hurray!

Anambra guber: When the elephants fight (1)

What will happen after the November 16 gubernatorial election in AnambraState is best left to the  imaginations. It is going to be the battle of the titans and money-bags as some individual contestants are perceived  to be richer than the state.

Twenty-three political parties have nominated candidates for the governorship. The All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had  issues with  the authentic  candidates for the election.

The ruling party in the State, the  All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, parading  two national Chairmen; Chief Victor Umeh and Chief Maxi Okwu  came up with two gubernatorial candidates, Willy Obiano and Chike Obidigbo. Chief Obiano is the  harmonised candidate of Gov Peter Obi and Chief Victor Umeh’s recent reconciliation while Chike Obidigbo was the candidate of Chief Maxi Okwu’s faction.

Okwu lost out in the power game. The INEC listed Willy Obiano as candidate of APGA.

One outstanding thing about the APGA candidate and his running mate is their  jaw-breaking academic degrees and some have declared them too elitist for a people known to be mainly traders and artisans.

 For the PDP, three candidates:  Nicholas Chukwujekwu Ukachukwu, Tony Nwoye and Andy Uba initially emerged but  INEC listed Nicholas Chukwuejekwu Ukachukwu in accordance with the latest order as delivered by the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, in Suit No. FHC/PH/CS/296/2013 – Nicholas Chukwuejekwu Ukachukwu vs. Dr. Tony Nwoye & 3 others. 

Chris Nwabueze Ngige, the guberntorial  candidate of All Progressives Congress, APC, left behind a legacy during the period he governed the State between 2003-2006. But that legacy died on the floor of the senate where he  topped the list of non-performing senators.

He is not known to have sponsored any bill or made any impact on the floor of the senate. And that is besides belonging to the ‘wrong’ party as many Anambrarians have continued to link the APC with the ‘deportation’ of Igbos from Lagos and some think APC is the same party with Action Congress, AC; Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN and now, the All Progresives Congress, APC,  which they perceive as a South-West regional party. And they are right for many reasons.

APC has Chief Akande as it national Chairman and Lai Mohammed as national Secretary just as in AC and ACN.

To add insult to injury, Dr Ngige allegedly had pellets of satchet water thrown at him during his campaign at Main Market Onitsha last week. So much for a man who achieved so much in his first attempt as governor.

The Labour Party candidate, Chief Ifeanyi Patrick Ubah may be a man of the people and his emergence as Labour Party candidate was not controversial but Ubah does not parade a retinue of degrees like those of the ruling party in the state. If he is not as literate as other candidates, his supporters believe he is ‘literate’ money-wise and that can make things happen for him.

But what is this rumour making the rounds that his close ally was pictured in 2003 carrying a keg of fuel to set the State on fire in the regime of Ngige? Something has not been done to douse that rumour and the sooner they do that, the better before it gains ground especially if the rumour mongers have nothing to prove their allegation.

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