By Donu Kogbara
SOMETIMES, other people say exactly what I would have said myself and say it so well that I don’t feel a need to add my own remarks.
So, instead of bemoaning, in my own words (and yet again!), the scary state of a nation that is in deep crisis on so many different fronts, I will simply quote Pastor Ituah Ighodalo of Trinity House church.
Ighodalo recently directed a passionate wake-up call to Nigerians in a video that went viral. I was so impressed by his comments that I took the trouble to get the recording transcribed. The transcript has been slightly edited because of space constraints: “We know the gate keepers in Nigeria, the people that are holding this country by the jugular. There are not many of them. I don’t think there’s up to a thousand of them at Federal and state level.
“We need to go to each one of them and speak to them. To get the children of Israel out of Egypt, Moses had to go to Pharaoh and say to him: ‘Let my people go’ and we need to tell Buhari and other government officials to let Nigerians go and do the right things.
“We need to go to them in Niger State, Kaduna, Katsina, Kano, Ijebu, Anambra, Enugu, Rivers, Bayelsa. We all know who they are – these gatekeepers who are holding unto the resources of this country and not doing the things they need to do.
“Why do we have a law in Nigeria in 2021 that does not allow us to develop our natural resources on the grounds that they belong to the Federal Government, which has refused to develop them? Why are we wasting each other’s time?
“There’s bitumen in the ground, there’s gold in the ground, there’s all sorts of resources available, but the Federal Government will not develop them or change the law. We have more than enough to make Nigeria great. We don’t need to import food; so why are we importing food? People [gatekeepers] are just [fraudulently] making money left right and centre, even from the vaccination programme.
“We need to stop just talking generally in the air. If we keep talking generally in the air, nobody will take responsibility. We need to ask Bola Tinubu [for example] why he wants to be President, what he wants to achieve, what his plan for Nigeria is.
“I went to Ajegunle and Bariga the other day. People are living in slums, they are living on rubbish heaps. So why don’t you, Tinubu, develop Lagos and make sure everybody in Lagos has a comfortable home and is able to live very well? Why are you running up and down to the Federal level, looking for power in Aso Rock?
“I told my Igbo brothers, why are you bothering with Nigeria? You have more than enough money among yourselves, you are rich people. Why don’t you take your money back to Anambra, and develop and build up Imo, and make sure Imo becomes the Dubai of Nigeria?
“Why are you wasting your time? Why don’t you go into the ground and dig up your gold? Why are you waiting for the law? We must talk to each of these gate keepers. Enough is enough! Why are you holding the people of God down? What is the problem? How much money do you want? How long is a man going to live?
“I am 60 now, how much life and energy does one have left? How many clothes are you going to wear? There are people dying. My President leaves this country and goes to London for medical treatment? What for? I can only forgive him because of his age. But honestly, why would he do that?
“Imagine Biden coming to Nigeria and saying he is coming to look for medical treatment! What kind of nonsense is that? When some of the best doctors in the world are Nigerians. I can tell you that in Buhari’s medical protocol [in the UK], there will be at least four Nigerians looking after him, because they are stranded in England not being able to come back to Nigeria to use their skills.
“Nigeria has exported all its competent hands, thrown them into the sea and they are working for other nations, building other nations.
“We have eight Nigerians in Biden’s cabinet, young people doing all sorts of fantastic things for him, writing his speeches, making his policies. And if those people come to Nigeria, we will frustrate them, and they will be jobless. What kind of nonsense is this?
“It is enough! We must name the gatekeepers and tell them to stop it! We must ask them ‘What are you looking for power for? Just to put the people in bondage? It is enough! We all have more than enough to eat and to survive, if we all are honest with each other.
“People are roaming the streets of Lagos, area boys on drugs everywhere, we are not doing anything about it. We are not telling each other the truth. We keep hiding. Why? Because tomorrow you want to go to Aso Rock for contract, you want to say that you are the friend of the President, friend of the governor. For how long are we going to continue like that?
“We should call each of these people and ask: ‘What are you doing with the blessing that God has given you? What are the laws you are making? Are you being honest? You this man, you said you built a road for one billion. Tell the truth, is this road worth one billion?
“Some of you have beautiful houses in Dubai or London, wasting away, providing employment for foreigners. Why not build them at home? It all about ego!
“Meanwhile, we go back to the British and Americans begging them for aid and assistance, when they were the ones who colonised us, who got us into slavery, who stole our resources, who put in laws to make sure that Africa doesn’t work and then you go back to them and think they will tell you how to make your country succeed?
“I like the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo. He has said that he will no longer export cocoa to Switzerland. He said: ‘If you want to eat chocolate come to Ghana.’ Why is Switzerland the chocolate capital of the world anyway? What kind of nonsense is that?!
“How can you mine crude oil in Nigeria and take it abroad for refining? Who does that?
“People are sabotaging our refineries every day and we allow them.
“Why should we allow them? Everybody is saying Nigeria is bad.
“Who made Nigeria bad? We know them. We should call them out.”
PS: I disagree with one thing Ighodalo said: I don’t share his belief that Whites imposed laws that doomed Africa to failure. I’m convinced that we are the architects of most of our misfortunes.