By Emmanuel Adebayo, Nigeria:
Sometime ago, a man made a statement that was reiterated to me by a friend, this statement was meant to be funny, but it made me sad. The statement was: “If Nigerians were all moved from Nigeria to America and all Americans were moved down to Nigeria, in a short while, Nigeria would become America and America will become Nigeria!”
Sadly, this statement was made by a Nigerian, and it's true! Not because we’re dullards and do not have the ‘know-how’ but because our preferences over the years have proven to be less intelligent. We are “free” physically but we’ve been subjected mentally and held hostage in our minds.
Over the years we’ve adjusted well to whatever situation that faces the nation, nothing seems to ever faze us; we’re not perturbed by the rising difficulties. I have often thought of this attribute as a great national heritage, something good about us, and in fact I had thought of publishing a paper comparing the rate of hypertension within Nigeria, to a developed nation. These notions were soon changed when I realized that we weren’t fazed by these unfriendly situations because we had found other ways to drown our sorrows; it is rather that we seem to discuss every other thing but the real problem. We go around in circles never completing a cycle and roaming the wilderness like the children of Israel depicted in the bible. We do all we can to alleviate the problem without touching the problem itself.
If ten people died in a terrible car accident that involved a government official, instead of taking care of the road, we give money to the families of the deceased, only for more people to die on the same road days later. An explosion in a city kills 12; instead of seeing to security, we ask for compensation. While electing leaders, we love those who spend recklessly and offer money for votes, whereas those who seem to build infrastructure and refuse to throw money around are not loved by the majority.
Nigerians, we complain about waywardness, looting and maiming, perpetrated by youth, and we also try all we can to alleviate it without looking at things that ‘ginger their swagger’ towards such delinquent behaviour. Nigeria has the largest tobacco company in the world and the third largest brewery in the world. These companies however hardly sponsor education, but instead they sponsor jamboree all over the country, which for me is an avenue to drown our sorrows as usual and breed vipers. School dropouts are at large. The intelligent ones are constantly being lured out of the country; I can’t count how many of my intelligent friends have left the country for greener pastures.
Nigeria is only conducive for people who want to either go the rough political way or be a crazy entertainer – that’s all that seems to count right now! Entertainers are being selected as ambassadors for our youths –what do we get from them other than that they make us feel good? Nothing I say! What does their music teach and preach? Drugs, sex, money and girls! And yet we complain about the decadence in the country; we’re only kidding ourselves! It’s time we rise up and begin to focus on development instead of distracting ourselves with the various options we have come up with!
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