Truth is that the little talked about New Year speech by the Nigerian President has come and gone, at the heart of it was sour hope, no charter, the treaty that binds the collection of her people, as a Nigerian project was not there. It is well worth reiterating that at the heart of pressing matters of governance, each passing hour in a year that is barely a week old, a lot is slipping from public consciousness:
The protection of lives and property
The faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the Nigerian citizen’.
The integrity of our law enforcement and judicial systems.
The ability of the government to, ‘promote social progress and better standards of life’ as a means to enlarge the experience of freedom is eroding us.
So let me start by saying that, in Nigeria a lack of resources and imagination would be our bane, beyond the branding of budget figures across states, we are at the heat of a second wave of COVID19, during this pandemic, an additional million of primary school aged children will slip into ‘learning poverty’, a term that refers to the inability to read and comprehend simple texts by the age of ten. More have moved into extreme poverty during the pandemic, most of whom are children; there will be struggle with food insecurity, while learning has completely stopped for millions of children who are ‘unlikely to ever return to the classroom’ anytime soon.
In what I call a confabulation of issues that if tackled can take us closer to the promised land and if neglected as usual will only be ingredients for disaster and a continued slide towards doom.
We again from the beginning of this year will be battling poverty, of the mind, of pocket and of sensibilities, despite twenty one years of all sorts of reforms we would still remain one of the poorest in the globe, despite our natural and human resources, due to human mismanagement we would be battling to sustain meaningful development, and growth that is equal to the expectations of our people.
With the end of year conversations around Father Kukah, tribe, religion and region, again though subtly we will still be concerned about tribal sentiments, ethnicity, religion and thus to a large extent none of or few of us will be seriously thinking nor discussing meritocracy. Around these three evils and many more we are likely to be subjected to more political irresponsibility, rascality and political arithmetic that further alienates the rulers from the ruled.
We shall again be fighting against negative statistics of reality, we still are likely to remain one of the poorest, while other statistics will only be largely deceptive on one hand, confusing on the other hand, with all the hope, we still will remain and continue to feature amongst nations with the worst badly run economies because of thieving politicians and accommodating populace.
We are insecure as a people, we are once more going to be constantly dependent on others after 60 years of paper independence, our rice would still come from Thailand, any land but not our land, our drugs both fake and original, we have India, Germany and co. to thank for them, as we continue to play politics with both our Kebbi, Lagos, Benue and Plateau rice, killing farmers, and our agencies after spending billions would be producing “Technological Infested Kilishi”.
This year, will we be able to make sense of our economic macro-policies, with cars, computers, clothing, ball point pens all from Obodo Oyinbo. Will we shed off the skin of a nation that is full of contradictions, a nation of millions of school leavers without jobs, a nation of millions sick with curable diseases and ailment, a nation yet blessed with fertile land, with intelligent men and women in abundance. But being punished by a handful of crooks called leaders, being ruled by a collection of mediocres. A nation where amidst these poverty a man would steal in billions.
The issues that stop us from attaining nationhood again would include the fact that we are mostly hypocrites, with no collective resolve as to what is morally right, legally binding, a people constantly waiting for any opportunity to better Judas Iscariot in the act of betrayal. Topmost is, we shall again see leaders commiserate with deaths that could be avoided, condemned, and remained shocked as many would still be exploring all means and any means necessary to steal from the nations patrimony.
With looting, corruption and insincerity, the ball again would be played on the pitch of underdevelopment and to think otherwise would be deceitful. Our cry would still be trying to catch the Asian Tiger, even some West African puppies have gone too far for comfort. Our life expectancy would likely drop further, even as more roads are likely to be unmotorable. We shall loose more kids at birth due to lack of infrastructure while leaders and the affluent treat their stomach disorder in Paris.
More children would fail their qualifying exams especially with all the strikes of the preceding year. With less than N120 a day, only the Almighty and our perseverance can keep us going.
We shall suffer the rule of idiots, because sages are kept in dust bin, in the eye of the storm would be the Police, the ruling APC, PDP, ASUU, Legislators largely dishonourable and a few honourable, we will intend a lack of electricity and many ruffians that the government has created.
Things could be better, Nigeria can be great if only our institutions are made to work, ready to work, if we can look at the bright side of #endSARS, if only you and I can make a concerted effort at being right in our own little way and fight in our own small corner. If only the nation will fight for liberation from tribal loyalties, ethnic jingoism, religious parapoism, monetary godfatherism and many more. We will have to move a ladder up from hope and expectation to reality.
In this New Year, we have to move towards Nigeria, with Nigerians, we either continue the self deceit and watch the nation crumble like cookies. As I welcome us into this new year let me say that this is our nation, we are the only one that can stop the drift, people that claim to love us are few, many nations are watching and waiting. Let us remember that we cannot continue to massage the ringworm and leave the sore or tackle the ringworm head-on, as the future will only contain what we put into it now—Time will tell