We are the problem and rightly so too, but how about the Nigerians in their millions that want to be good and indeed are good for the right reasons?
Prince Charles Dickson
What is the problem with Nigeria, who is the problem? Today, I dare say that the problem with Nigeria is not America, the United Kingdom, not Ghana, but Nigerians. Part of our problem is, simply put, ‘us’, ‘we’, ‘you’, ‘them’, ‘they’. The problem with Nigeria actually is you and me!
Nigeria, ideally, is one of the best places to live in, it is not a police state, like so-called Western democracies. In Nigeria, I can urinate anywhere and not get fined or arrested, I can get a ladder and climb the electricity poles and effect a change of power phases, that is, if the problem is not from the nearby power transformer, which anybody can repair with dry wood.
For a government that prides itself in CHANGE as its agenda and yet keeps spending billions for energy in the seat of power, it is interesting to see how there is no improvement, it is equally mind-boggling and baffling that the available power supply is not paid for by both government and the governed, including me. We are a lawless folk largely, because even when the energy is served we refuse to pay!
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Many persons, for good reasons, had seen in Mr. Buhari some form of integrity, an opportunity for a reawakening despite the roguery and treachery of the system, but many without bias have lost hope in the early morning illusion. A lot of us have lost hope in the system, the structure, the leadership with each passing day; it is becoming obvious that Nigeria may be just an empty plastic cup, too light to hold a cup of coffee cold or hot, because the problem is you and me.
I am writing this admonition about us because I have discovered that anytime I have tried hard to write nice stuff about leadership, it remains a hard task. I criticise a lot and hardly give solutions, my reason, simple, there are enough solutions to Nigeria’s multi-dimensional problems, enough to fill an American Congressional Library.
Until I am ready, until you are ready, the solutions would remain utopian.
The government is not ready, the people are not ready, our dramatics remain all but inconclusive. We, for example, made so much noise about Mallam Daura of the DSS fame and, months later, no one is even asking about the much ado about house arrest.
I have watched us being reminded of the successes of far Malaysia and, in recent times, nearby Ghana, a success that was championed and achieved simply because of purposeful leadership, a leadership and people that have collectively gone about bringing economic prosperity, industrial strength, intellectual pride and dynamism.
Unfortunately, as Nigerians, we are continuously part of a circus, of both leadership and citizenry. We cannot simply agree collectively on what is right or wrong, how much more what is bad or left.
A new Nigeria cannot unfold, with fast-paced infrastructural development, rapid push in human resource development, healthcare delivery, when of the approximately 150,000 graduates of various typology that the country churns out yearly, only 4 percent possess a chance of a job, with time the remaining 96 per cent slowly becoming an unemployable lot with redundant qualifications and no form of entrepreneurial education; is it not easy to see how we are part of the problem?
Today’s Nigeria lacks education, health and development, with all the wealth. We are breeding terrorists, frustrated young men, sad mothers, senior citizens that daily curse the nation because we have refused to give them their dues, children without a hope for the future in the prevailing realities of public school utilities.
How can I say I am not the problem when in power I love affluence and will do anything to stay put? In religious matters, I fake it; in business, my checks will bounce. In the civil service, forget the noise of ‘servicom’ and all that shaku-shaku dance of change, files get missing and only reappear when you, and I mean you reading this is, either give or are given the right price.
The pain of this soliloquy is we know that we are the problem and rightly so too, but how about the Nigerians in their millions that want to be good and indeed are good for the right reasons?
Those Nigerians, not easily understood because they will not give bribes, all their actions are in line with tradition, society’s good norms and rationality. They are largely old now, although a few young ones do exist and most times reside in the rural areas, with another few in urban areas. They are generally good and detribalised, they believe in the principles of live and let live.
These Nigerians are neither the bottom power women nor the moneybag men like you and me. They strive daily to remain patriotic and committed to the Nigerian dream despite the reality; they are disciplined and hardworking, and they battle the stark reality that, as patient dogs, they may never have any bone left.
These set of Nigerians suffer the Nigerian experiment because of the larger majority’s inability to curb greed, the inactions of me and you to be fair and rational towards other people’s perspectives, opinions, positions and interests.
My continuous inability to make sacrifices for the common good, and your unwillingness to respect our institutions means that, if others do not stand as a people and resolve to fight for what rightly belongs to Nigeria, the problem with Nigeria will continue, whether it is Atikulated by the Obedient ones or the Buharists have their way, it still will be same difference, but for how long — Only time will tell.