Politics

NIGERIA: SHAME, SHAMBLES AND 50 YEARS OF IN-DEPENDENCE

Nigeria can celebrate, but in celebrating it should realise it is not celebrating anything close to independence let alone 50 years of such. We are a nation of perpetual anomalies and aberrations, so then if it takes a week to celebrate our failed promises, if it takes billions of naira to celebrate an abnormal economic set-up, if the kidnapping of children is the essence of our nationhood then we can keep on with the celebrations.

Would the president be in a celebration mood if his children were among the 15 children that will live with the scar of their abduction for life even if they survive the ordeal? Will the governors be in celebration mood if their children had any stake in the rot of the educational system? The past three years has witnessed monumental scales of failure in the WAEC and NECO exams and the immediate future is not promising either because strikes remain a common face in the system.

Governor Fashola has done really well, but then say that to the traders who were sent out of Tejuosho market only to find out that their former business points were no longer within their reach. It has become an reserve of the super-rich. The market that offered many the opportunity to get good clothes without emptying their pockets is sure to be one of the most expensive when it reopens because those buying it will look to recoup their investment.

Tell residents of Lekki to celebrate Nigeria’s independence when they have had to battle their own government over what should ordinarily be a non-issue. These are a people burdened with all sorts of taxes from waste to signage, to the maze-like Lagos tax system and are yet expected to part with at least N400.00 per vehicle per day for a round trip. That’s no way to lead. Fashola has done really well by Nigeria’s standards but I need not tell you that those at the base of the Lagos economic pyramid – the market women who have to pay exorbitant fees just to do subsistence business, the motorists and commercial bike drivers who have to deal with several men of fanciful uniforms paying several sums of money from one point to another – will not buy that proposition. Of course the burden of such ‘taxes’ falls directly on the masses.

If that is exclusive to the common man, the incubus of armed robbers and past military men and their cronies daily haunt Nigerians rich or poor. Folks who should be languishing in prison are bold enough to say ‘vote for me’, one of them is so desperate he says ‘for just one term’. I used to know armed men as folks who operated at night, but that is the old way. They now operate at anytime. Kidnapping looked to be a fight for regional justice but it has become the most lucrative form of business besides official sleaze. I can’t just get the 15 kidnapped children off my mind. CNN milked the story and that alone should have been enough to make us bow our heads like a soon to be 50 years old man who has just discovered his own old jobless elderly children have kidnapped his little ones. I almost slumped as I watched the news relayed on CNN in our so called independence week. What a shame!

Before October 1st 1960 Nigeria was burdened by colonialism, today we are a nation in dependence. We rely on the government to provide us power, the government determines the prices of goods, they favour a few wanna-be capitalists at the expense of the general economy. How do you explain a situation where a few are allowed to obtain tens of billions of naira of loans from the banks, then granted monopolies on basic necessities like sugar and diesel then told they could pay a part of their loans while the remaining chunks are written off. That is not just but then who gets justice from a nation whose law makers got their by unjust means. Unjust men can only make unjust laws, unjust laws are no laws. They may bring about relative peace but only a peace that has had justice sacrificed at its altar.

Ours is a past embroiled in lies, shame and corruption. We have failed and are still failing the African continent. The present crop of presidential aspirants even douses the little hope one has for the future. None has said anything about a time bound, SMART workable vision. They have all been offering the same rhetoric. We are burdened with rulers when even some other African countries now have leaders.

Oyo state remains shackled by the near absence of governance, Aba in Abia state that by now should be catering for a global demand for goods is a no go area even for its indigenes. Jos is a serial time bomb. Each tick sends men, women and children to their early graves. Even Ogun that seemed to be making a head way a few years ago has become a draconian, lawless state where anything negatively imaginable is possible.

So much for 50 years of independence when Gabon – a country where Nigerians make up just about 10% of its population – is ranked above us on the FIFA ladder. We do not have any world champion at any sport whatsoever. 150 million people plus the Diaspora and not a single world champion! If our nation had a body, soul, heart and mind, she will be soaked in her own tears by now for failing to deliver on its promises.

There is no use crying over spilled milk – or spilled anything whatsoever- though we can start remaking our beloved country. We need transformation at every facet of our national life. Commuters still burn valuable man hours on our roads and they remain in danger of tanker drivers and other road menaces. At times it looks as though we are not governed by laws. I love being a Nigerian but like my Arsenal devotion, it hurts being a one

Dreams are shattered on a daily basis. We complain about cyber criminals. Forget the whole holier than thou attitude, an idle mind involves its body on evil things. Nigerian youths are said to be unemployable and the Nigerian government seems bent on letting them remain like that. EFCC barked for a few years but it is now taking a rest after realising you don’t cure a disease whose cause you are not ready to nip. We should not be fighting criminals; we should be engaging our people. The economy should be made free. The ease of doing business should not in our case be a burden. People are over taxed yet infrastructures are under-provided. Every thing seems to be in place yet nothing really works. Companies have folded and many are still folding. Nigerians are indeed suffering – I know not if they are smiling but I saw no smiling face when I tried to see how many people in a group of 50 would smile into an event venue. That is no basis you will say but then are boys smiling?

Over time I have come to realise that Nigerians may never be cured of their impulsion to always trust new rulers. We clutch at any straw that looks new enough. Any new face that seemingly looks like the birth of a new order is seen as the big deal. I hope this renewed hope will be herald a real independence for our nation, economic liberty for our people and a safer country for our children.

Nigeria has no business being in this state. Hundreds of trillions of naira of oil money has been wasted over the past 50 years, we can do better. We sure can do better than we are doing now. It is easy to please Nigerians. They really have lost the ability to expect much and this I believe is enough to inspire anyone interested in leading to want to surpass this not-so-high expectations. It is okay to mark October 1st 2010 but trust me fellow compatriots, we have nothing to celebrate. Nothing! Nothing besides a future that always promises to be better. Happy birthday Nigeria as I look forward to celebrating your 60th birthday in style.

Oh God of creation, direct our noble cause
Guide our leaders right
Help our youth the truth to know
In love and honesty to grow
And living just and true
Great lofty heights attain
To build a nation where peace and justice
shall reign

Japheth Joshua Omojuwa blogs on http://omojuwa.com

About the Author

  • pamella

    happy birthday nigeria. i feel you japh and i love the passion displayed. Nigeria will get there. 2011 is crucial to that though.

    • http://www.gidilounge.com japheth

      couldn’t have been better said. 2011 is really crucial.

  • najaboy

    very deep indeed. Reading you blog about nigeria@50 made me cry……. its a shame, it really is.
    50 years of wasting trillions in revenue generated from crude oil. Sad Sad day.

    • http://www.gidilounge.com japheth

      we can be the change we seek in Nigeria. the future is sure to be better.cheers naijaboy

  • Fikayo

    God bless the person who published this blog.
    At least this is a good sign that we are not all blind people in this country, meaning their is still hope somewhere.
    The truth is not pleasant, but we really just have to accept it.
    I don’t want to start pointing fingers on who is to be blamed, but I want to employ Nigerian to be careful about people we elect to lead us< especially at the nation level.
    At the moment all we have are leaders with misplaced priorities, who are allowing some wanna be capitalist influence them.
    It really by God's grace we are still one today, and that's the only thing I'm happy about during this independence celebration.
    I keep hoping and praying, we as Nigerian don't get frustrated to the point where we won't be able to take all this nonsense, hence violence and bloodshed just because we want our needs and good leadership.
    In ourselves, we should continue to trust that this nation will be better and In God that he would see us through..
    Happy Independence day Nigeria..

    • http://www.gidilounge.com japheth

      God bless you too Fikayo. And may God bless Nigeria. He will see us through.

  • http://www.kelzclusive.co.uk kelzclusive

    HAPPY PEOPLE 2
    Thinking about yesterday and remembering how good things used to be compared to what it is now makes me ask myself what really went wrong. Although they suffer and smile, the smiling is only a reminder of the good past. They were happy people who knew no difference between themselves. They lived happily as one blood and a family, but one day things changed. Their joy became sorrow and the price for freedom was unbearable. Children lost their parents, and husbands didn’t get to say farewell to their wives. The whole family got turned and the situation of things hurts more than thorns in the flesh. The happy people were enslaved exploited and battered. They worked and didn’t get paid, planted but didn’t reap and spent most of their times bounded with chains. They dwelled in sorrow night and day without seizing to struggle and hope for better days ahead. Things are better now because of the struggle of the brave ones that the strengths of the chains in which they were bound couldn’t hold down and the unbreakable people that supported the fight for freedom. Now we can proclaim our liberty and remember the past as a stepping stone to the present which will yield a greater tomorrow for us and the generations that are yet to come.

  • http://www.kelzclusive.co.uk kelzclusive

    HAPPY PEOPLE 2
    Thinking about yesterday and remembering how good things used to be compared to what it is now makes me ask myself what really went wrong. Although they suffer and smile, the smiling is only a reminder of the good past. They were happy people who knew no difference between themselves. They lived happily as one blood and a family, but one day things changed. Their joy became sorrow and the price for freedom was unbearable. Children lost their parents, and husbands didn’t get to say farewell to their wives. The whole family got turned and the situation of things hurts more than thorns in the flesh. The happy people were enslaved exploited and battered. They worked and didn’t get paid, planted but didn’t reap and spent most of their times bounded with chains. They dwelled in sorrow night and day without seizing to struggle and hope for better days ahead. Things are better now because of the struggle of the brave ones that the strengths of the chains in which they were bound couldn’t hold down and the unbreakable people that supported the fight for freedom. Now we can proclaim our liberty and remember the past as a stepping stone to the present which will yield a greater tomorrow for us and the generations that are yet to come.

    ——————–Happy Independence———————

    • http://www.gidilounge.com japheth

      ”Now we can proclaim our liberty and remember the past as a stepping stone to the present which will yield a greater tomorrow for us and the generations that are yet to come.” that’s my desire too for this beautiful nation of ours. well done Kelz

  • http://www.gidilounge.com japheth

    you can follow me on twitter @omojuwa . cheers peeps

  • http://www.articles.co.il/author/26830 Elva Petell

    Good post, I like your blog site, and Please update it more frequently.

    • japheth j omojuwa

      Elva, visit http://omojuwa.com for regular updates of my posts. that’s my personal page.thanks for the kind words too.

    • japheth

      thanks Elva. I’ll try. you can also see some of my posts at http://omojuwa.com where i get to take on more issues. cheers

  • Daniel Lawal

    As there are millions of good things to say about Nigeria so there are millions of bad to say about her.

    Nigeria is a country that has made great people and until today Nigerians continue to be people that needs second look in every society where there are human race. From the World Bank, United Nations, African Union, British Parliament, Nobel laureate, American government Agency, International Aviations, International media to Sport organizations.

    From 1960 Nigeria is one of few countries in the world with colonial past without disintegration in many aspects of life such as ethnic conflicts, religion and many more. Even there are problems sometimes on these issues, Nigerians are people that are very resilient and very strong mentally so they know how to face the future and live yesterday in the basket.

    After the civil war in 1970 there have been many changes in ethno co-habitations,
    Educational standards, involvement in governance, contributions to different international organizations and many opportunities have been missed.

    Nigeria is also one of few countries in Africa that has been successful in changing hands of power from one government to another either by military or civilian.

    Today good or bad, Nigeria is one of the most successful countries in the world; she has paid off her debt after debt forgiveness by London and Paris club, lunch communications satellite into the space and many more.

    Despite all the chances God has given to the country to still be one without separation like many other countries in the world military men and their civilian counterparts had chosen wrong way. Corruption, nepotism, bad governance and so on are daily routine at the highest level.

    I take China as case study; after living in China for more than 6 years, reading books about China, seen things first hand myself and having the chance to meet with people at different level in China. Recently I read a book about “The 30th Anniversary of China’s Economic Reform” it helps me to understand that the word “corruption” belongs to the West. Every country has the best way to a greater height with her understanding.

    There are more than enough changes in my 6 years of living in China but the last time I visited Nigeria after 4 years without sight of the nation there was nothing to show about democracy. The educational system that use to be great in Africa has become laughing matter, no power, all the roads are bad and greater percentage of Nigerians don’t believe in going to the hospital anymore because the person that went there last died so they have chosen visiting spiritualist for medical security instead of going to the hospital.

    If you are fortunate to be at a social event with people in authority you will never see the sign that things are not good for the nation because you will see different kinds of cars that are just few days old from the factory, expensive drinks and many more.

    I have traveled in more than 20 countries in the world and I continue to ask Nigerians questions “which way forward” everyone said since the agents of corruption are from every corner of the nation maybe the best way will be to divide the country according to ethnic line.

    I often reply them that the greatness of her citizens all over the world lies in the spirit of co-habitation. Also there are bad cultures like get rich quickly, all the money in the world goes to my pocket and co that are serving as stumbling blocks for her good citizen all over the world.

    I am really sure there is no country in the world without a Nigerian who’s a lecturer, researcher or student in his/ her University.

    There is hope for Nigeria because if the government can fix the problem like power, road, security, hospital and her banking system many Nigerians will retrace their root and this can be like the same road that lead China to a super power.
    Daniel Lawal
    Guangzhou, China

    • japheth

      very insightful Daniel. well done.

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    Good, good, great.