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NIGERIA AT 50

By: Che Oyinatumba

Published September 23rd, 2010

Today bear with me, we will do a little maths. I know many Nigerians hate addition and subtraction that does not involve the Naira sign. If Nigeria were to be a 50 year old woman, she would have had a grandchild by now. From 1960-1990 she would have been 30 and married(pre 1970 girls married at early age) with over 6 years experience and fruits of the womb (all things being equal) and this child would have been old enough at 2009 to further reproduce.  But the Nigerian Nation which is 96 years (1914-2010) still lives in denial about her true age and takes bearing from when her “abusive husband” divorced her in 1960. From whichever side of the divide you look at it Nigeria is too old for her organs not to function well or at least to an acceptable standard.

The first infrastructure in Nigeria that has gone dead is the power sector, represented by the almighty Power Holding Company, Never Expect Power Always (NEPA) as it then was. Despite the billions of money voted to give it a cosmetic surgery, the power situation in Nigeria has gone progressively bad. Successive administrations have been oiling this dead organ of mother Nigeria with open deceit that with a little more money all will be well. For over four months, most satellite towns in Abuja had resulted to moon generated visibility to conduct businesses and prepare for exams.  Let no one tell me we need time. 50 years after the near annihilation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the first nuclear bomb, Japan celebrated 50 years of non interruption of power. If you think Japan is too advanced, how about Ghana?

It is very crucial to get the power situation right otherwise we will spend another 50 years perambulating wondering where to find the match stick and why the candle wax does not last all night. Let us pretend to forget that millions of quality lives had been lost to explosion of second hand generator sets and some of the would be best brains had been charred by candle induced inferno.

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My generation-those below 50 and dangerously close to 40, should stop asking questions about situations in Nigeria and proffer solutions. Our fathers had asked the questions, it is now a dare necessity that we must find how post 50 year Nigeria can have Nuclear plant that will generate power. Instead of planting trees to serve as wind breakers, we should partner with nature and get her to work for us. Where are those book worms that went abroad on scholarship at tax payers’ money? Where are our scientists? Where are those brilliant chaps shown on numerous NTA Kids program? At this flash back, my heart weeps for my country. We had and still have the ingredients for greatness; why are we still haggard, malnourished while less blessed countries are on the runway?

Although power sector is the super structure of failures in Nigeria, another collapsed sector of Nigeria, is the Health sector. Mother nature reminded us of this when few weeks to the foolery called golden jubilee celebration, cholera struck and took bright and promising fruits for post 50 year Nigeria (enough grounds to cancel the celebration) .The number of body bags of politicians from hospitals abroad shows that the leadership of this country has given up on restoring our health sector. We are left to the mercy of divinations from herbalists who would have developed the way GLND, Forever Living Product and all roots imported from Asia if our leadership had gotten it right.

The most comatose of Nigeria’s infrastructures is Education. Nigerian leaders, who benefitted from quality public school and even rioted over shearing of chicken at meal times, are making sure that our generation does not get an education that would liberate us. They send their children abroad and operate a business outfit called private schools and universities. Is there no decade that the universities were not close down?  Year in year out Nigerian Universities are outstanding from the rear on the list of top 100 Universities in the world. As they celebrate 50 years, South-East Universities are grounded yet our leaders are not shedding tears at their ineptitude.

Another failure after 50 years is the inability of the country to forge into a nation. Our ethnicity that would have united us had at every turn been used by our leaders to divide us. When push comes to shove, our leaders reminds us that you are either from the North or South and that the deity you worship, is not the one accepted by the majority, hence we are at war with our brothers over the god of Ishmael and Isaac. The recourse to this is because our leadership class, apart from those of 1960-1983 had not been able to produce a charismatic leader that will fire our imaginations, galvanize us into one indivisible and nation where although tribe and tongue must differ but our brotherhood and faith in Nigeria will see us through. 

As we project into post 50 Nigeria, the leadership class should tell us in what direction they are navigating the affairs of this country and in no better way would they do this other than a short term program.  We are tired of shifting the goal post for the availability of basic amenities from 1990 to 2000 to 2010 to 2015 and now 2020. We are in a hurry to catch up, as our contemporaries have left us behind.

©Che Oyinatumba

         




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