“In such a regime, I say you died a good death if your life had inspired someone to come forward and shoot your murderer in the chest — without asking to be paid.”
― Chinua Achebe, A Man of the People
In the next couple of months, Nigeria would be sixty, you would think that at sixty Nigeria would be sustainable enough but that’s a myth. For a country that brags about having some of the best minds on the continent, still develops retrogressively, while we all pretend and assume that “all is well” but in reality, we’re in a sinking ship. A few years ago I remember I was really patriotic, I had the best dreams for Nigeria and I sang the national anthem with pride, reciting the pledge with youthful glee, I was ready to do anything and sacrifice anything for my dear country at least till when I grew much older, I then discovered that youthful naivety covered my eyes from the reality of the “Nigerian situation” there was a popular song we sang while we were growing up, which had a popular refrain “we’re the leaders of tomorrow” but the truth is that right now I don’t think tomorrow is close, probably the day has refused to break for the Nigerian youths, like a store’s caveat warning off potential debtors, our future had been mortgaged and no share was given to us. Adulthood opened up the masks and exposed me to the harsh reality. I begin to ask myself, “what does this country have in store for me” It didn’t take too long for me to eventually answer that myself, absolutely nothing. I had to sit up and create a life for myself because our past and present leaders have eaten my future and present and I was doomed if I waited on them. It's important to note that a number of Nigerian youths have been sucked deep into a life of crime and gambling just to make ends meet and this is not about me making an excuse for them. Education used to be the reasonable way out in the past, as educated individuals were seen as successful, but in recent times, education holds little relevance, in fact, you’re on your way to hell if you dare study “sciences” in Nigeria, yes it’s a fancy tag to be called a “scientist” but little would you understand that you’d soon find something else to do if you want to survive, well a lot of the so-called scientists are now bankers or “entrepreneurs” that’s the reality called Nigeria and that’s what you’re subjected to. Funny enough, the people leading this country are so out of touch from reality, and you can blame the fact that they’re from several light generations away, so now imagine who you mortgaged your future too. The ultimate Nigerian youth dream is to hustle hard either financially or academically to leave Nigeria, for any country except Nigeria, if you’re patriotic enough to not plan for your exodus, you’re doomed and your future generation may as well curse you. But then we also have those from the younger generation who are also out of touch from reality, they belong to two groups, the first, involves the naïve ones, you can also call them the kids of the elite and political class, they don’t care or understand anything because they’ve actually been covered from the reality all their lives, by the wealth of their parents, not that I simply blame them for their privileged background, but I simply hoped that they could step out of their comfort zones and see how others are faring, this group of individuals had one or all their academic experience in the best schools abroad and when they’re back they simply join the best and the juiciest organisations here, I mean who hates to network with the rich? I can bet I would also be glad to have a rich friend who can help in my career advancement so I won’t simply blame them, today isn’t a day of blames. The second group, are the ones that should actually be flogged or dragged as it fits, but then, who can blame the hungry? This group simply involves kids from the middle or lower class, they love to eat beneath the tables of the rich, after all the crumbs still contain the same nutrients as the whole. This is the particular group you should stay away from, because they know the truth, they can see the truth but would still help propagate the lie at a cost, their conscience can actually be bought at the right price. Nigeria would have been much developed if only we could just come together and tell ourselves the truth, but we’re so polarised along several lines that it’d take the messiah himself to perform a miracle greater than biblical times on us. Now ask me, why I should still believe in such a country? It’s unfair that even after studying for years in the university, you aren’t still qualified for any form of employment except you’re geared by either nepotism or networking (another form of nepotism, but its allotrope). The reality of a Nigerian undergraduate is to enter the world of entrepreneurship or educational migration after their studies, the new term for such migration is “scholarship”. Development can’t occur when the best brains in your country remain redundant. We’ve got a collective responsibility to make Nigeria sustainable for the next generation unless we want to be cursed, how can we be able to achieve that? Firstly, by going back to the basics, we need to impart the spirit of unity in ourselves, you are a Nigerian regardless of whatever, tribe or religion or skin colour. Secondly, we need to take education important, as it is, education is going extinct because, most people simply don’t see the relevance in their lives, but truthfully, it’s the only way out of this mess, we’ve created for ourselves. Thirdly, we need to kill the “I better pass my neighbour” mentality we all have, this mentality is damaging to our collective development, it results to greed, corruption and crime. Comfort should be paramount over luxury. Fourthly, our constitution should be reconstructed, in such a way that every political office is held accountable, from the top to the bottom, as it is, running a democracy in Nigeria is expensive, some things should change. I believe that if we all can gently take each of these solutions, we can initiate the first stage to achieving civil responsibility. It is likewise imperative to understand that the definition of a republic simply means “The governed must hold the government accountable”. Elections come and go but the country would always remain the same regardless and the people are a reflection of their government. I hope, that Nigeria would work in my lifetime, and it’s my duty to do my bit as an individual. What could’ve been Nigeria is supposed to have been a highly successful black nation, but alas, it's slowly declining into a failed state. I’ll be ending this rant, with poetry.
All we ever prayed for
Was for a better yesterday
So that tomorrow would be blessed
But our leaders have eaten our yesterday
Their bellies filled with our tomorrow as they belched
The crumbs they left was today
We tore our robes.
All we ever wished was a piece of the “National Cake”
But we were chased and beaten,
Jailed and killed
Our only crime
Asking for a better today.