By: BM Dzukogi
It is not wealth that we lack; it is just that a few who didn’t need all, took all.
It is not knowledge that we don’t have; it is just that everyone who has it thinks he is better than all, hence, its uselessness. More, most of us use our knowledge for food. We hardly remember that knowledge is for the advancement of society, in between which food is eaten as a mere fuel.
It is not land for agriculture that is in short supply; it is just that it is simply treated as a resource for sale only. 90% remain unused and abandoned while heavy scramble for it in townships becomes inexplicable. Meanwhile, It is the same land that harbours assorted minerals buried beneath her belly only for us to continuously top the list of poor nations on earth, always looking into empty spaces for solutions that are beneath our feet.
Nigeria is the real God’s own country! Here, almost everyone is talented but the grounds for manifestation and growth remain perpetually illusive. Those with means have no need for nurturing the talented ones. They may become owners of means, too. Here, it is a game for self and family. Systems and institutions have either degenerated or are embarrassingly lacking. No light, no road, no water, no shelter, no food, just nothing but circles of blames and hypocrisy. Even things as small as chairs are not found in our classrooms.
It is not petrol that we don’t have; ours is about the largest in Africa but it is kept and drank by less than fifty citizens only. It has been a curse, actually, a source of misery and hatred. Endless queues at filling stations. Monies from sales of oil have all disappeared to known pockets yet, nothing happened to the thieves. One magical notoriety is that, for forty years, these fifty pockets are yet to be filled to the brim.
It is not wisdom that we lack, Solomon’s brian is Nigeria. It is not ideas and creativity that we lack; ask how we have lived this long, suffering and smiling, idiocy and stupidity are the fire of our creativity. In it, we are all champions of our corners.
Every city, town or village on earth abounds with our people, shooting ahead excellently but upon manifesting such excellence here, you get buried alive and seen no more.
There is commerce, there is education, there is resilience with tremendous hope, yet, we end up with nothing except despair and lamentations.
It is not religion and faith that we do not have; they are in abundance. It is the deliberate up-side-down understanding of our religions that is so elevated to stupur, intoxigating our psyches, causing all sorts of madness that everybody is refusing to admit they have and needed to be cured of. Thus, sixteen becomes greater than nineteen, good morning becomes a hate speech because it’s not from my tribesman, and the sun, rising from the west only to be told that West and East are the same.
Everywhere is mosque, everywhere is church but everywhere is sin, everyone reveling in mutual suspicion about nothing. You are not supposed to make mistakes; it is anti-islam; it is anti-christianity. Just be perfect. And perfection means doing it my way. So, it is not God we lack; It is the foolishness of 180 million humans out of the 7 billion on earth that God has no time to listen to. So, for over fifty years they pray and their troubles increase. They don’t even take a break to ask themselves why the curse.
It is not energetic youth that we don’t have; it is just that they have been abandoned to serve as fathers and mothers unto themselves. Today, they are effective sycophants; full of eye-service, scrambling for crumps thrown at them by those they aided to power, forgetting that within a twinkle of an eye, they too could install one out of themselves as the new power. But, they hardly know their power let alone the use. Otherwise, they should have known that elections are won by adults or the rich or people of influence because youth take control of electoral proceedings on their behalf. Use it to the advantage of one of you nah.
We have everything. Do you know what we don’t have? Leadership! No. Do you know what we don’t have? Good leadership! No. Do you know what we don’t have? Volunteer-leaders who will give themselves away and all they have in the service of man to appropriate the nation.
Each time we talk about bad leadership, you dismiss the issue by adding that the followership is bad too. Ok. Are you saying that if there is a good leadership, the followership will also be good? Nice thesis! So, let the leaders start being good so that followers can follow in good stead. In other words, bad followership is engendered by bad leadership and bad society. Does this explain why God had to send leaders across time preaching good, anytime He decided to straighten the world? Achebe is right: the trouble with Nigeria is leadership.