Nigeria, no doubt is one hell of a dramatic country; we have all shades of it, we have the good, the bad and the ugly and it has been the case since our existence and creation of an Independent Nigeria. The drama called Nigeria interestingly has a way of alleviating the many frustrations that citizens have about the country; the sufferings, the corruption, epileptic power, low-ebb of leadership, tribal jingoism, violence, electoral fraud and much more. There is nothing new about our history as Nigerians, simply a difference in facts, figures and peculiar happenings in time. The many things that we have seen in Nigeria and things that can happen within a year but, however in a different dimension.
The many things that have been wrong with Nigeria have all been with us since we became a sovereign nation. The bad leadership that people like Chinua Achebe told us about, the corruption, the militarism that is very much part of our national and democratic dispensation, the corruption, ethnic hatred, electoral violence, power issues and whatever present day challenge you can think of. The nature of our leaders not addressing us in moments when lives are threatened is not new with us. The advent of social media has even worsened the situation rather than help matters; with applications like Periscope that can be used to stream live broadcasts; we still have leaders addressing us through aides that hardly know their bearing or what their masters are thinking.
Nigeria is typical of that passage in Scriptures that tells us that there is nothing new under the sun. There is nothing new under the sun of Nigeria with the many challenges that have been bedeviling us even before independence. They are generational issues that have been passed down to us, both good and bad without our forefathers caring about posterity or the continuity of the country when they are no more. The Festus Okotie-Ebohs of the 1960s are still very much with us in 2017, the people who had a way of dividing us during the Western region elections have grand proteges in this century and decade, the many people have been laid to rest have reincarnated in many people who are doing their bidding viciously and unfortunately raising proteges for the next generation.
Among us still, are youths, educated and uneducated who sell their souls cheaper morsels than those of Jacob to Esau, people who confidently buy into things like stomach infrastructure, crowd renting, protesting for a daily meal, being foot soldiers in wars that don’t matter and after elections are over, they get back to the status quo and the list and categorization continues and nation keeps going light years behind other countries.
We still are called the giant of Africa, we are proud of that name Nigeria for those who are having good but the poor that lives on less than a dollar a day has a different story. Despite the big names abroad, we have millions suffering and struggling to live like human beings, people who have equal rights endowed to them by their Creator and for the reason that they are Nigerian citizens, names abroad when young people are being stunted, uninspired to do something for themselves because the system is counter-creative.
The purpose of this piece is not another criticism of Nigeria, but to point out that we have been criticizing the same things for 56 years now, our stories have been the same, the events of a particular year is no different from other years, we have been going in circles and unfortunately adopting the same strategies that don’t work and will never work. We have refused to think differently, our goals have been the same yet unachieved, our cries have been the same, yet much more people are being relegated to more agony and grief. The threat to our national sovereignty that is constant is man-made and that includes the so-called sovereignty that some see as being sacrosanct or non-negotiable.
Nigeria is one hell of a deja vu, where history has been repeating itself and we keep managing it while other nations transcend us with many generations of light years.
The question for us as a country is how we should solve our challenges, how we would meet the needs of today and the future. We know our problems as a country and largely we also understand them; it is, however, a greater task to decide and choose which path that will solve them sustainably.