Help! The 'Giant of Africa' Is In A Coma
Newspaper Column

Help! The ‘Giant of Africa’ Is In A Coma


By M. Babajide-Alabi
Nigeria is a very unique country. So also are the citizens. They are regarded, all over the world, as very special. If you are a Nigerian and in doubt of the last sentence, I implore that on your next holiday, pick up your green passport and make Indonesia or China your choice destination. The “royal”‘treatment you will receive will convince you that you are from a very UNIQUE country. No thanks to the Nigerians who have been able to convince the world we are good at hiding illegal stuffs in the cavities of our bodies.

Aside this, Nigeria in recent years has become a source of real concern for the international community. This is not borne out of hatred for the citizens or the country, but the way the leaders run the “estate” called Nigeria. As a result of this, they view Nigeria as a typical example of how a country should not “progress”.

A country once regarded as the Giant of Africa is on her knees begging for survival. A giant that should have everything going for it, but has nothing working because its leaders’ agenda run cross purposes with the “ingredients” that can make it great.

In the recent past, Nigeria was once the toast of the world. It was an emerging power from the sub sahara of Africa and a leading light in the continent. Unfortunately, the leaders that were meant to make the light glow are the ones that are bent on putting it out. The supposed leading light has been dimmed by corruption, mismanagement, ethnicity, terrorism and unpatriotic acts, among many.

The world look on in dismay as the fortunes of the country are decimated by those who are supposed to protect them. The world leaders shake their heads in pity as the Nigerian leaders who should guard the honour of the country are daily “raping” her with reckless abandon. They marvel at the fact that the greatest enemies of the country are not external forces, but the people entrusted to defend her dignity.

They are in shock of what had become of a country of hope. They offer sympathies to the people when all they see on their faces are despair, hunger and sadness. The community of leaders think they are helpless and can only do little to wake up the sleeping giant. Apart from the fact that they know Nigeria is a country with a lot of potentials, they always factor mismanagement and lack of transparency as reasons for staying aloof.

They look into a vast land blessed with natural, mineral and human resources and shrug their shoulders at what had become the fortunes of the people. They can not reconcile the fact that despite these resources, the common men cannot afford three square meals, access good healthcare and basic amenities. They see the queue for fuel everyday, everywhere in the country and they cannot put this side by side with the fact that Nigeria is an oil producing country.

Seeing all these, they salute the resilience of Nigerians, for keeping on appearances despite their situations. They know some shining stars had emerged from the country, leading their peers in chosen professions. These Nigerians are dotted all over the places and are making names outside the shores of the country. They ask why cant these “geniuses” come back home and change the system. But little do they know that while these eminent Nigerians are making their individual marks in their fields, the leaders are struggling with each other on who is to deliver the final blow that will incapacitate the country. This is what frustrates the Diasporan.

While the world looks on in pity, Nigeria’s fore fathers who fought with their blood, sweat and tears for a better tomorrow are turning in their graves. They are asking themselves what happened to their dream of a viable, strong and united country?They are crying and asking when did the wheel of progress go off Nigeria’s cart. They hurt because the modern age leaders carry on without a bother of what happens to “the labours of our heroes past”.

Unfortunately, they are “feasting” on the labours of the heroes past. They have turned the dreams of the forefathers into nightmare. The fate of Nigeria has been on the downward slope for many years now, and it seems all the supposed leaders have in common is totally in contrast to the dreams of the forefathers. They mouth the national pledge “to serve Nigeria with all” their strengths and “to defend her unity and uphold her honour and glory”, yet they do otherwise.

Nigeria, the most populated black country in the world, with over 150 million individuals, is struggling because it lacks visionary leaders who can take her out of the woods. The present crop of leaders are more concerned with what loot they can get out of the system than making genuine contributions to the governance of the country. They have sound bites that will melt the electorates at the knees without an idea of how to take them to the “laboratories” for actualisation.

These “chop I chop” leaders would do anything, including punching, kicking and killing to get their selfish ambitions realised. They have no moral fibre in them that can “tune” them to do things that will improve the lots of the masses.

Many times, we wonder who a leader is in the Nigerian context. There are many leaders but none fits the bill of a national leader. Experience has shown that being the President or Head of State of Nigeria do not confer the title of leader on the occupier of the post. This is understandable as the occupier’s loyalty is first to the ethnic region he is from and secondly to the country.

We can therefore understand the desperation in the jostling for the elective national positions, especially the Executive arm. Nigerians would be deceiving themselves if they continue to deny the fact that ethnicity and regionalism are still high on the political currency in Nigeria. The country needs a leader who can detach himself from regional politics and become a leader of a country, rather than allow ethnicity rule his head.

I wrote in this column some time ago that what the country needs was not the chant of change, but the re-orientation of the individual. A ‘re-tuning’ of individuals from the family unit to the national level. Without a re-programming of systems, a Nigerian politician will still be “wired” to think that elective office is nothing but an avenue to enrich himself and family.

As long as the individual politician is not taken through a “deliverance” programme, Nigeria will continue to travel in circles, without any hope of success in governance. When the individual politician, aspiring to be a councillor or a Senator, is injected with a dose of civility and the desire to serve propels him more than the monetary gains, the country will progress.

Published in the Sunday Vanguard June 28 2015. CLICK HERE


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