Today is the threshold of a new month, the third in the year of our Lord 2021. Stocktaking can happen at any point but the best time for total stocktaking is the beginning. For Nigerians and others who reside within this country, this particular genesis is especially more timeous. It is the most opportune moment for us to assess Nigeria vis-a-vis life, living, love, citizenship, security, truth, career, infrastructure, money, government, business, environment, health, sanity, media, relationship, religion, education, patriotism, ethnicity -name it.
I beseech you to attempt this one appraisal. You may do it mentally or in writing. But, by all means, do it and alone. Ask no one anything, compare no notes except after you had long concluded the exercise -and only with someone who also had.
After rounding off mine, I wept -and still am weeping- for Nigeria because it drew a blank -completely blank- on all (I mean all) counts. I found not one subhead on which over ten, the country scored even three. In God’s Name or whatever you believe in, please leave government out of this because -beyond the futility of fingerpointing- I can tell you for free that government is not wholly responsible for this chronic mess. Nigeria is where it is because of the clollective nonsenseness at the top, in the middle and at the bottom.
Take life and living, for a start. Without meaning to preempt you, in the eyes of government and the masses what is the life of an average Nigerian worth? This is by, for and of us, so let’s be truthful. The way government treats the citizenry and the way we treat ourselves as well as the way we treat each other, can we honestly say human life is valued at up to 50,000 Naira in this country of ours?
Continue to argue in falsehood and in denial and in pretence and in crass patriotism if you like, I am moving on. However, while you are at it, please raise your voice and tell the world the general living standard in this country. That is, beyond the extra tiny minority who have direct or indirect access to our commonwealth, how easy or affordable is living in Nigeria? Dear false patriot, how much is a cup of garri, how much is common bag of rice, how much is a litre of petrol or diesel, how much is a bag of cement and sssh -how much is one Naira to one Dollar, to one Pound, to one Euro, etc.?
I see you can no longer make a noise. Yet, I won’t let you be because your cohort (defenders of rubbish) have -by perpetually defending the indefensible- permanently hurt this country beyond redemption. Next, look at general infrastructure. We are light-years away from where we should have been yesterday but even today there’s no hope things shall change for the better tomorrow.
Alas, some of us are busy vandalising the little provisions. There must be something evil in our DNA that forces us to destroy public utilities again and again. How many of our streetlights are still standing and working? How many tarred streets have we not destroyed in the name of burying pipes or raising speed bumps?
Every day, we deface public buildings with lousy literature as if that accentuates our height and wellbeing. Every day, we drive or walk on aesthetic lawns thereby defeating their very essence and instead make them an eyesore; only to turn around and blame government. Every day, we turn against or prey on the very weak and the very innocent of us (our children and female folk) or the very people whose only crime is the uniform we gave them for our sake. Every day, going forward, Nigerians should sit down severally and corporately to critically appraise where we are plus how we got here with a view to apprising ourselves of the way out.
Surely the twin felonies of kidnapping school children and attacking soldiers or ethnic and religious soft targets, which have become a northern Nigeria pastime, no matter how much hide and seek politics we play, would forever dent not only our global image but also and more importantly our national cohesion. Since it takes two to tango, the south to the east has restarted from where militancy in the deep south left it off by going for broke against police stations. How long before this magmatic situation degenerates with lava remains to be seen. Are we ready for the cataclysm that is waiting to erupt when the man-made lava from the south and north mate to birth volcanic rocks, figuratively speaking?
I hate to say it, sweetheart: time is running out for Nigeria. Now then is no time to preach APC versus PDP or such other political party inanities. Now is no time to sermonise about Christianity dusting Islam, or that one ethnic group is the problem and another the solution, etc. Now is the time for Nigerians to stand up for Nigeria in truth and in spirit, with love and respect and patience and forgiveness and faith!
At this juncture, can we shift focus to the business of the day? The internal political battles (that is, against each other) that Nigerians have been fighting since 1960, pray: how have all the killings, all the hate, all the deceit, all the divisions and all the promises benefited the masses? What exactly do Nigerans gain by threatening their compatriots every now and then? Does one section seek eternal lordship or takeover?
Is that a possibility and even if, would that not be a mere pyrrhic victory considering the eternal vigilance, constant anxiety and untold human and material cost required thereafter to ward off perceived or real counterattack? At the end, just what’s the worthy value of 99% of the ego we display, the greed we evince and the victory we seek? On a personal level, most of us pull down -and in most cases kill- others with our tongue or in writing. Is that success for eternity, and worth it?
Which reminds me, for instance the new chairman for Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa, are we going to allow the young man concentrate, or distract him as we almost always do with frivolous friendship and petitions? The nonsense we write on the social media or say on air against others, whether true or false, has that proved -beyond the momentary sadistic joy- to be the best and most potent approach? The empty political, social, economic and sundry battles we fight, most times in proxy against our potential helpers (as we have begun to witness to see all because of the 2023 general elections that no one can predict) is it too difficult to see they are tantamount to a shot in the foot? Finally, let’s learn the art of walking away or ignoring most provocations: stop hating, stop fighting, stop plotting, stop suspecting and above all, stop insulting people so we don’t erroneously bury our future in regret -because we never know!
God bless Nigeria!