I have severally re-examined the situation in Nigeria with nostalgia on one side and profound sadness on the other side. Nostalgic remembrance because, somehow, this country started well but whatever was the gain collapsed like a pack of card in 1967 when mediocrity overshadowed sensibility, deceit replaced patriotism and willingness to grow and advance with the rest of the world was overshadowed by selfishness and self centeredness. Profound sadness because the outgoing generation of Nigerians seems to have eaten the big pie reserved for generations of Nigerians yet unborn to the extent that even the new generation is left in confusion, dejection, desperation and hopelessness since the “gourmets” called leaders did not leave the crumbs on the table. The Yoruba of South West Nigeria caption this graphically with a prayer “Olorun k oni jeki a jeaiyeawon omo wa mo aiye “but that is a saying on the tip of the lips. If you pray to God not to put you in a position of comfort with your children in abject penury, then your action must justify the words. This is certainly not the case in the Nigeria of today.
Every night, the few aircrafts on our tarmac are filled to the brim with the majority of those on board being young Nigerians. A good number of them leaving without knowing what is at the other side of the journey. They are just leaving the shores of Nigeria because the only other option available is to completely evacuate from the world. Parents are helpless because they have watched enough while the lives they midwifed are being dumped in the waste basket of the vicissitudes created by senseless, incompetent and outrightly selfish leadership. Children wasting away gradually before the nose-bridge of parents.
There is no pain greater than parents being absolutely helpless while their offsprings wriggle in pains. Imagine the xenophobia in South Africa with hundreds of Nigerians brutally, callously and senselessly murdered by those beasts and in cold blood, yet, survivors who should run back home stuck to the apron of the country that loathes them with intense passion. Afterall,”Iku ya juesin lo” literally meaning “death is preferable to disgrace”.
Those who have spent their lifetime in diaspora are every ready and willing to return home but return to what? They wouldn’t want to leave minimal comfort for emptiness and fear that is the bane of the Nigerian society.
Looking around, one can conveniently agree that Nigeria is one of the worst countries in the world but it shouldn’t be if the jesters and comedians who call themselves leaders are ready to put in the least effort. To buttress this point, one needs to be abreast of the development in many countries of the world. Even Africa. Unfortunately, nobody is willing to do anything to save the situation. Those who dare nurse the idea of romanticism are hounded, blackmailed and terminated. Unfortunately, the pauperized, overworked, malnourished and intellectually incapacitated masses roll out the drum to bring- in another morons when the bell for the next election is rung. Do you blame them? Afterall, a man in deep hunger never listens to sermon.
Muhammadu Buhari, the current President of Nigeria will miss a lifetime opportunity if he fails to change the disastrous music on the Gramophone of the country. We need to sit down to channel a clear focus for our country. Almighty Allah has given him the opportunity to leave a mark, the rest is in his hands. He is old enough to give everything since he is going to lose nothing. Anything short of redirecting the fortune of the Nigerian nation through dialogue and complete re- orientation will not yield any fruit not even the sour fruit. All his efforts at the moment are like the efforts of a man fetching waiter with a basket because like the Yoruba says “Omo ti a koko, niyiogbeile ti a ko ta” literally meaning, “A child you refuse to build is the one that would sell the house you expend your efforts in building”.
The respected Chief Olusegun Obasanjo missed that opportunity. I am sure the current happenstances in the country is enough to show him that all his efforts in twelve out of the fifty nine years of the Nigerian nation have been in vain because he kept on feeding the bird without putting it in a cage. He was adequately counseled to do a restructuring of the country. He simply refused because of his wrong belief that a talk with put Nigeria on the edge. His huge efforts in many areas crumbled because there is no solid foundation.
This is the great opportunity President Buhari should not miss. The remaining three years of this administration is like washing and drying a cloth in the evening but he should realize that with prayers and commitment, the evening sun could dry the cloth.
The President should realize that when the branch of the tree breaks, the birds on it will fly away. All the officers surrounding his tenure now are like those birds, at the wink of the eye, water will find its level.
Right now a good number of those in leadership position all across the country are mere comedians. Otherwise, the road to a local government secretariat should not be as derelict as the road in an isolated part of a forest, Offices of electricity distribution companies should not rely on generating plants for electricity, the office of the police should not be vandalized by hoodlums and robbers, the National Assembly of our nation should not be vandalized. These are clear realities of our time. They show that our situation is extremely pathetic and there is an urgent need far action.
A word is enough for the wise.
Prof. Ojikutu wrote from Faculty of Management Sciences. University of Lagos