Plainly Being Unhappy About My Country

I am an incurable optimist when it comes to Nigeria. Somehow, I believe that most of us are good people but normally spiced by bad people as is common with even the so called sane state. But thinking deeply; I guess things are worse than we want to believe. There is an urgent need for re-thinking and if we want to erase the label of a failed state which we carry whether we like it or not, then we need to act.

I am not a believer in staying away from Nigeria and that is because I understand the fact that home is the best. You can never be totally free in another man’s country. For example, I can easily register a company in Nigeria and do business if I have the right conditions (a story for another day). In other countries, I will most likely need to have a local as partner before I can do business even if I don’t need their funds or intellectual contribution. But analysing this, it might actually make more sense to do that than start a business in the Nigeria of today.

Perhaps, the only strong point we have is our huge population that ensures patronage even when giving crap services. The cabals who have decided never to make Nigeria work are relentless in their efforts. It is as if they have sworn to an oath to totally destroy our nation. Funny thing is that these people are led by sheer greed and the drive to secure the future of their children and generations to come. The fool thinks he will be alive tomorrow, he who keeps his life will definitely lose it. But I guess they are not meant to even think.

Our fundamentals are greatly flawed. The purpose of having a system of government is such that confusions do not arise. In Nigeria, our claim is that we practise federalism. But it is obvious that we don’t. Federalism ensures each state has first right to their wealth and governance. The centre is only meant to unite the country and have some common front. The Yorubas know that the meaningful developments in that region till date were accomplished during the Western Regional Government when we had true autonomy. Our Cocoa was enough to build us the UCH , NTA, Liberty Stadium, Cocoa House, University of Ife (Africa’s most beautiful campus) as well as other landmarks. Point to a great edifice we have gained from the flawed logic of federation we have been practising after that. Almost none.

Our politicians are not prepared to do the right things and that is because of their love for money and power. If we start practicing true federalism; their gold pot -Oil will mostly be available to the Niger Delta. But in being greedy and despondent; there arises even worse consequences. I have said that the only real solution to the power problem is to grant each state autonomy to generate power. Nigeria is a very big country and it makes no sense that an agency of government as epileptic as PHCN could solve our problems. Kwara State has played politics to another level and I think other states should ask Bukola Saraki how we was able to convince the Federal Government to implement the Ganmo Power plant which has ensured stable electricity supply for their state. As far as I know, that is the state industries should be moving to now in Nigeria.

It is very clear that some powerful people do not want electricity supply to work in Nigeria. These are the fifth columnists who import diesel and generators. They are the power brokers and are supported by corrupt people in the private sector too. Imagine how much diesel is used by the GSM companies in Nigeria daily to power their base stations. It is also known that top guns of some companies using diesel make a lot of money by inflating the price per litre. Now, will they be happy for normalcy to return? I guess no.

We are a very funny people and we are selective in our remembrance. How can we not understand a simple principle called cause and effect? Coca Cola has only 2 concentrate plants in Africa – one in Nigeria and the other in Swaziland. Swaziland is a country of just about a Million people while Nigeria as more than 140 Million but guess where a plant is closing? Nigeria of course, due to power problems as well as a tense business environment. Now, those thinking of getting jobs should wake up to reality – the jobs will be getting scarce per day. Where is Dunlop, where is Michelin, where are the car factories, even chocolate. They are nowhere to be found. Ghana is claiming them in droves and I won’t be surprised if Coca-Cola moves there. You are jubiliating about the Glo Marine 1; please don’t celebrate yet. Where is the power go with it or it will just run on its own? How will data centres work when there is no electricity?

Must we all lose hope before we know things have totally gone bad? Today I woke up with bad news again. An assistant news editor (Politics) with Guardian News – Bayo Ohu was brutally killed in his home yesterday in Egbeda Lagos. Notice the keyword – politics. 2011 is here, many politicians are embroiled in a lot of saga but they want to be back by all means. The killings have started. How long will this continue and will our children ever be proud of their country? I guess the answers are obvious but it is not a done deal as I know that we are almost nearing the brick wall and then hope arises.

No one person can help us. We cannot get a leader who will be a lone voice in the wilderness leading us to salvation. Every man has to be serious about salvaging Nigeria out of these shackles. We must be prepared to rise up and take action. Look around and count the number of graduates around you looking for jobs. Check your inbox and tell me you have not received an email from Interswitch recently asking you to divulge your ATM details. Tell me you are happy with the noise coming from the numerous I Pass My Neighbour around your house. Tell me the sticky and acidic airs you breathe are good for you. Life expectancy is reducing everyday due to stress level, bad roads and the likes.

You are asking me what we can do. I think it starts from our minds. From the little things we do in our private corners. From the way we treat our colleagues and family. From the little bribe you just collected or paid. And then we graduate to the level of enlightening others to rise for change. Swaying one or two votes in the next elections. Talking to our fathers and mothers, siblings and friends about the need for change. I am doing that. Are you? Change starts with you!

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