The Nigerian Youth; Half a dozen and six

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What is logical in politics is not always practical, what is practical is not always right. What is right is not always ethical, what is ethical is not always desired and what is desired takes us back to what is not logical…

The Nigerian youth is a victim of power, property, prestige, popularity and pomposity…it is these ‘p’ factors that make it impossible for the Nigerian youth to do that which should be done, it is the illogical, the wrong that becomes ethical.

Let me start this way…One should keep one’s eyes on where one is going, not where one stumbled. (The best course of action is not to dwell on setbacks, but to resolutely face the future.)

But how can they look to where they are going…when only last week the Nigerian blueprint for 2050 was released, first by a dude that is in his 50s, and then with the only encouragement being that, it would be run by the organized private sector, don’t ask me which OPS are we talking here.

So I drifted to sleep…

For three days on the trot there has been electricity, before these three days of electricity, the electricity company had called to say there was going to be routine maintenance and there would be no light for some thirty minutes. Before that, there was light non-stop for two months…

My state governor was discharged from the state specialist hospital; he had just done an eye surgery that otherwise would be done in Israel, and while leaving the hospital, I spent barely 30 minutes and I was done with the dentist. The doctors were all at their best, patients all smiles. I went to the accounts and reconciled the stipend that was due. It was so small as a result of the National Health Insurance Scheme, it was functional and no fraud involved. It was a Nigerian hospital!

Earlier in the day, my grandkids had gone to the local park to play basketball and would watch the Maths competition, which was in its final round; Jamatu Nasril Islam and the Christian Association of Nigeria were sponsoring it.

A day before we hosted our Senator, although his job is almost part-time, it is as serious as you can expect. He had come to the Town Hall Meeting, a month back it was the Member representing us in the House, before him was the governor. We are expecting the Local government chairman next week. Our LGA chairman is 52 years; the other three were aged 34/41/39 respectively.

The Senator had presented his quarterly report, and we had a robust question and answer session and he went away, all those that had issues saw them handled. It was Nigeria…

The local water distribution company that was privatized years back was doing well, after initial hiccups; water was flowing even in the remotest part of our city. The billings were still a problem for now but we believe that it would be okay soon because the regulatory body was putting pressure on them to get it right. It was young Nigeria!

Electricity was there, health services were fantastic, and water was running from the taps…It was our Nigeria.

My second son’s daughter had just finished all her school registration online, I recall, the Nigerian Post Office had brought her letter of admission into Federal Government Unity College Gusau. We knew no one, bribed no one, all she needed to do was know her studies, and the rest was so easy. After registration, all we needed to do was put her on the Nigerian Railway train from the Owerri station. It was one of the recently commissioned speed trains across the Niger.

In case you were not aware, the Federal University in Otueke, Bayelsa had 600 international students and was in 47th place in the World University Rankings. This was Nigeria…

My friend and I were sharing a meal and shared an experience, the police on a routine patrol stopped him, and they asked for his papers, checked it, politely greeted him, wished him well and drove up. The keyword was politely, one of the cops jokingly told him, to get an extra screw for his not too balanced front bumper. It was the Nigerian police without force and N20 accidental discharges.

EFCC had been merged with the now efficient fraud unit of the Nigerian Police…I did not tell us that the dollar was not selling at just N30.00, and the last time some of us went to Dubai was because we had to attend professionally related programs.

I was supposed to be going to Borno for a wedding, but was stuck in two minds; to go by air or train…air flights were relatively cheap as most people now do the train and travel by road just for sight-seeing and the need to make more stops. This was Nigeria…

Over the next weekend, I am going to go see the second public execution in the capital, two local government chairmen and one governor. They had systematically and deliberated defrauded and looted the public treasury. A contractor was six months ago sentenced to 24 years in imprisonment and it was Nigeria, no injunctions, and conjunctions, at any junction, and no British law or police. These days’ stealing from public coffers was neither fashionable nor attractive. It was Nigeria…

Places like Nike Lake resort, Yankari Games Reserve, Olumo Rock were indeed tourist’s havens for foreign nationals—Jos had become small London, peaceful, only slightly expensive. The world was watching NIN—Short for New Improved Nollywood.

Nigeria was fourth in FIFA soccer rankings, progressively we had moved from a miserable 60th up, and was best in Africa, we had earlier in the year won the U-17 world tournament, with 16 year old boys and added it to the U-21 which was already in our cabinet and Nations Cup.

There was a functional social security system, though still in its infancy; the National Assembly had five years earlier finished a successful expanded national dialogue-this was Nigeria, relative peace, social justice, fair play, and independent self-sustaining component states.

Indeed Nigeria was moving forward, our president was neither Christian nor Muslim to us. He was just a good man; bold and was ready for the task. He was charismatic, democratic yet firm. The leadership ethos and value had gone through a lot…but now we had only one consensus and that is…at no point would we allow shoeless people or people of the next level to govern us again.

“Prince, Prince, Prince—wake up, wake up”. It was all a dream—nothing but a dream, I woke up sweating, there was no light, it had been like that for five days now, no water, unemployment was on the rise. The only development was on paper and little to show for trillions of naira in debt, the young people to push for change were watching Big Brother; they were still battling logic, morals, and right. The kids in their late teens have never known a good Nigeria, the ones in their late twenties and early thirties cannot ask for better and reflect on my dream, as Nigeria nears 60 in a few days—would we see a better Nigeria—Time will tell.

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