President Muhammadu Buhari is a hero. I don’t care what bad-belle people like PDP and Bill Gates think. If you doubt me, check out Baba’s Superman-pose in a group picture with the “returnee” Dapchi girls. Then, you’d know “it didn’t easy” to get a Boko-something understanding; negotiating with the terrorists and having the girls returned – with luggages. Not to mention striking a pose in a confused nation!
So, anyone who knows Bill Gates should warn him, seriously. How can he bring in “common” $1.6 billion just to talk to our presido anyhow. In a country where we cut grass with billions of naira? Nonsense! And the way he put his oyinbo mouth as if he was telling us all the things we never knew. That’s how they always “show body”. Is that not how Mungo Park came here years back to claim he discovered a spot that my great-grandfathers were busy fishing? Busy-body!
Gates claimed Nigeria’s health and education sectors are in shambles. As if we don’t know. Even our president said that much before he won election in 2015. Well, is it because the man went abroad to treat ear-pain that Bill thinks we are stupid? He said Nigeria is one of the most dangerous places in the world to give birth; we now die at 53 and our kids are malnourished. As if we don’t know. Yet, he clapped for presido on immunization. That’s where he escaped my knock. The plan I had against him, enh! I was about mobilising 10 youths to block him in the air as his plane took off.
Yes, our health system is bad, we know. And we’ve put it in so many national documents. Full stop! Let them remain there. Bill, e-consain you? He should clap for us, mbok! Or, has he not heard that allocations have been raised to the sky in this year’s budget? As if we ever get to see the result. Concrete outcome! Implementation! Execution priorities! Those are the words that help summarize Gates’ concerns. Anyway, Mr Oyinbo, never mind that El Rufai’s hasty and child-like explanation. He ended up agreeing with you on the implementation of supposed well-intended policies, abi? But that should not swell your head o. Enhen! We know our problems.
Our sustainable foundation for prosperity, Gates said, lies in “human capital”. I doubt if some at that meeting understood that man’s accent. Finance Minister Adeosun, with all her phonetics, merely drew a smirk from Gates. “They (Nigerians) lacked the basics of a good life: food, shelter, health, education, and opportunity”, Gates reechoed like an afro American preacher. Imagine! He enjoyed our bottled water and encomiums and still talked “naked”. The audacity of bluntness! For him, “while it may be easier to be polite, it’s more important to face facts so that you can make progress”. He’s lucky he’s not from here. Else, EFCC would have remembered his 1532 corruption file, by now.
Our education in a bad shape? Well, I no know book o. Has Gates seen the repainted schools in some of our urban areas? We’ve kindergartens, pre-schools; pre-basics; secondary schools; polytechnics; universities; preps and even the night school run by my driver’s wife. Some are expensive, especially the ones built by churches with members’ money. Forget the academic contents. Oh! Was he talking about federal schools? Nosy fellow! Why couldn’t he just drop the money and leave? We’ve better things to do with it – like the next campaign, for instance. Bill should just open gates of fortune for our leaders and not our nyansh, jare!
Someone has promptly reminded us that Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard. But he owns Microsoft, a global brand, abi? In other words, what good is a school when someone can make money through enterprise? But hold it: which Nigerian environment would provide such Gates-like opportunity?
Sometimes, I wonder why we rate money and complexion above the brain. Gates has money, yes. He’s oyinbo, thank you.o, he has brain, too. But in Nigeria, we’ve many egg-heads, some more brilliant than Gates. Some have been in respective government’s economic teams. Whether in government, private sector or ivory towers, they abound. And so many of them have been shouting themselves hoarse on the way forward for Nigeria. Yet, hardly are they taken serious. Now, Bill Gates came and we gave him tea and “poor” water, organized our best in government to receive a lesson on what we already know. Ha-b-a! Do we really need a retreat to know, for instance, that we need to develop our people? Gates said: “People without roads, ports, and factories can’t flourish. And roads, ports, and factories without skilled workers to build and manage them can’t sustain an economy”. Simple logic. That man didn’t learn it from any Ivy League college. No spiritualist revealed it to him. Common sense, though not so common, did!
Still, there’s a lesson in the man’s visit. He also taught about the need for continuity in laudable government programmes and policies. Again, as if we never knew! About 40 years ago, Dr Olikoye Ransome-Kuti developed the primary healthcare system. The world copied. But Nigeria dropped it along the way. Maybe because Ransome-Kuti didn’t speak through the nose and wasn’t “white”! Gates blamed the neglect of policy continuation for “the epidemic of chronic malnutrition, or stunting…a condition that develops over time because they (children) are deprived of a diverse diet and the services a strong primary health care system provides”. Like Chris Oyakhilome shouts during his TV drama, sorry, preachings: D-i-d you hear th-a-t?!
Gates spoke of opportunity as if it’s sold in Oyingbo market. Or shared in churches. What the hell is “opportunity”, anyway? Many Nigerians have never heard of it. Or is it him or her? Yet, opportunity is what made Gates what he is today. If things they take for granted abroad hadn’t been there when he skipped school, his experiment with Microsoft would never have materialised. Ok, so there’s also the “can do” spirit, too!
Anyway, opportunities in Nigeria, if any attempts to emerge, gets commandeered by the big, high and mighty. “One of the most important of these opportunities”, said Gates, “is agriculture”. Yet, we the small scale farmers lack access to fertilizers, seeds, etc. The ogas would rather sell those and pocket the money. Loan, nko? Osai! Only 4% farmers currently access loan in Nigeria. If you doubt me, ask Gates.
The smart fellow, however, said nothing about security – be it herdsmen or that of women! He was obviously very serious about returning home. But then, he missed one crucial point that boosts economy. By not harping on the need for improved security, his improved economic vision for Nigeria is just a castle in the air. Check it out. Healthy and well-educated folks with abundant opportunities. Good. What does that come to if they’ve to die “one by one” – in T.Y. Danjuma’s tone? Security is key to improved economy. But the truth is, we know all those! And, hey! By ignoring security, he deliberately tried to make nonsense of PMB’s laborious pose with the returned Dapchi girls. If that is not a diplomatic offence yet, I’m determined to make it one. Shikena!