Memo to Nigeria

The new year finds you wondering why you’re so distinguished in your lack of distinction. You agonise that you’re considered a synonym for dysfunction. Those who don’t truly know you think you’re trash; those who know you know you’ll transcend the stars if only you tried. Because you don’t even know your own capabilities – paralysed as you are by interminable phobias and myopia – you sulk. “Who did this to me”, you ask? “The fault must be in my stars.”

There’s nothing wrong with your stars. Indeed, the joke frequently being shared about you is that at the beginning, when the Unmade Maker was creating the world, every other country envied you because you were unduly favoured.


“Almighty Father, how can you give only one country so many minerals resources – Gold, Barite, Bentonite, Columbite, Coal, Cassiterite, Marble, Iron Ore, Gypsum, Kaolin, Gemstone, Tantalite, Lead/Zinc, Talc, Limestone, Salt, Granite, Trona, Wolframite, Barite, Feldspar, Dimension Stone, Clay, Crude Oil, Silicon Sand, Bitumen, Rutile, Bismuth, Kyanite, Manganese, Mica, Molybdenum, Phosphate, Fluorite, Diatomite and more?”, they asked.


The Unmade Maker replied: “Before you envy Nigeria, just wait and see what they will do with these bounties”.

Year 2019 has rolled in and the Nigerian elephant is still struggling for crumbs with forest ants. You shirk your responsibilities and throw the ball back in the court of the Almighty. “By God’s grace”, you say, when all it takes is for you to get up and work. You deify idiocy, glorify kleptocracy, pauperise your own people and then wave the flag of religion as a fix-all cure. Your factories are shutting down; warehouses are being converted to miracle factories.

Like rabbits, you populate your patch of earth with children you cannot cater for and blame Providence for the 12.5 million out-of-school children defacing the national landscape and giving those who think you’re retarded something to hold on to. You personalise your people’s collective patrimony, stealing as if thievery was about to go out of fashion. And then you blame your colonial past for the general misery all around.

Liar! 58 years after Independence, you’re worse off than when colonialists left. Now, each urban home is a municipality by itself, providing electricity from generators, water from boreholes, private security in place of local police, private waste disposal and environmental services. It is every man for himself.

Idler, go to Rwanda and learn a thing or two about social engineering and national reinvention! The white man degraded the traditional kingship of old Rwanda and installed a divide-and-rule regime of lackeys. In no time, a land of traditionalists was segregated into Christians and Muslims and animists. The Germans and Belgians took turns to rape the land.

What finally tore the social fabric of the Rwandan society was the Hamitic hypothesis which  categorised the Royal Family and the Tutsi as invaders from the North, of a different race and tribe to the Hutu. The Twa (Pigmy hunter-gatherers) were at the bottom of the racial hierarchy. The leading Hutus characterised the Tutsi as invaders who were lording it over the Hutu. The portrayal of Tutsis as outsiders was one of the main factors behind the horrendous Rwandan genocide of 1994 in which 800,000 souls perished.

With an economy based on coffee, tea, tin cassiterite, Wolframite, and pyrethrum, Rwanda is on the mend today. GDP per capita is about $820 with a literacy level of 68%. The median net hourly wage is 450 Rwandan francs (RWF) about $0.51; the average worker who works eight hours a day for 30 days would therefore earn $120 (about N43,200). Unemployment rate is 18%. Massive infrastructural development is ongoing. Now, government has outlawed ethnic classification. No more Tutsis or Hutus or Twa. Everyone is simply Rwandan.

Nigeria, you had a Civil War which ended 49 years ago. Are you sure it really ended? The terrorism now depopulating the North-East, did the wind of lunacy blow from the desert or from within?

Take a step back and think. You have everything any nation needs to rub shoulders with the best. Your children are making waves all over the world in science and technology. Your people are self-assured and resilient. Yet you manage to instal your worst specimens in power. Men who would defile any queue were they allowed in at the rear, are instead at the front of your blind march into prehistory. You routinely recycle looters of yore. Some of your political aspirants make Jean-Bedel Bokassa look ‘canonisable’!

Take another look at your democracy. Those who want to replace the current order haven’t detailed what they want to do differently. You want to spread prosperity? How? The last time I checked you were distributing poverty, ignorance and disease. Now wolf cry has been elevated to an art, complete with tree-climbing legislators and sundry dregs of your misbegotten system.

Your public servants and their families are to be found in First and Business Class cabins of foreign airlines at public expense and you say you are poor. You import everything you used to produce and you want to prosper. You make crucial appointments on the basis of ethnicity and look zombified when excellence flies out of the window.

But this is 2019. You will be 59 as an independent country in October. I have news for you. You’re still destined for the stars. If only you can be disciplined! Did you hear Jim Rohn: “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment”.

Do yourself a favour: take a look in the mirror.

Happy 2019!

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