NewsReel 1/10/13 - Nigeria At 53: Tottering on the edge of disaster

 [ Masterweb Reports: Theophilus Ilevbare reports ] –  As Nigeria performs the ritual of celebrating the country at it marks 53-years as an independent nation and a member of the international community, without the usual pomp and fanfare that has been associated with such celebrations, this time would have added insult to our collective injury, the journey to democracy and nationhood has been tortuous. The country is in dire straits. At the time of departure of our colonial masters, Nigeria was considered to be one of the emerging great nations of the world, like the proverbial child of great promise. After a civil war, military rule and now, democracy, with greedy and self-serving elite as leaders, the country has continued to slide deeper into underdevelopment despite the advantages which oil wealth conferred on us. Lets not be deceived by the ruse of a sombre celebration, typical of our government, it is a decoy, meant to pave way for a more elaborate, yet misguided, multi-billion naira celebration in 2014 to mark the centennial anniversary.


The trouble with Nigeria, title of late Chinua Achebe’s book, gives a fitting and explicit description of the state of the nation. “Nigeria is not a great country. It is one of the most disorderly nations in the world. It is one of the most corrupt, insensitive, inefficient places under the sun. It is one of the most expensive countries and one of those that give least value for money. It is dirty, callous, noisy, ostentatious, dishonest and vulgar. In short, it is among the most unpleasant places on earth.” Add to that, a country of “kleptomaniacs,” whose insatiable quest for power have put a country of great potential and promise on an almost irreversible track of imminent implosion. Those who had predicted 2015 as the tipping point may not be far off the mark considering the fraud being perpetrated in the name of governance and the fact that we’ve been on the wobbly part for too long. Something has to give. Nothing else captures the picture of the sorry state of our nation at a time like this.


We celebrate independence, at a time when insecurity in varied forms like terrorism, kidnapping and armed robbery are at an all time high. Government says the economy is growing when factories are either shutting down or functioning far below installed capacity; they are winning the war against corruption but indicted persons in monumental frauds like the fuel subsidy scam are cosseting with their co-travelers in corridors of power. Misrule and its resultant poverty are traced to the rise in religious extremists in northern Nigeria. Boko Haram have crippled the economy of the north and sent thousands of innocent Nigerians to their early graves, the latest, been the massacre of about 50 students of College of Agriculture, Gujba, Yobe State, while they slept in their dormitory.


It is unfortunate, that a country that offered so much in hope and possibilities for its citizens at independence has today become a land of suffering, insecurity and near hopelessness, teeming youth unemployment, poor electricity supply, incessant ethno-religious crises, no thanks to rudderless and bumbling leaders who have failed to lead a well-endowed nation to harness the talents of its vibrant, energetic and resilient people. We can spend the next few hours cataloguing the problems of the country and we would still not scratch the surface.


Rather than fully maximise the country’s potentials for mutually assured prosperity, a ‘privileged’ few have hoodwinked the Nigerian people. The result is what we have today; a country exhibiting all the characteristics of a failed state. The problem of Nigeria is the ruling elite and the failure of leadership. There is nothing wrong with the Nigerian land or climate or water or air or anything therein but the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the challenge of nation building.



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