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You are here:Home>>Strategic Research & Analysis>>The Stranded Whale Called Nigeria
Tuesday, 18 September 2012 17:31

The Stranded Whale Called Nigeria

Written by MUHAMMAD AL-GHAZALI
The Stranded Whale Called Nigeria vibe ghana

OPINION

In any other nation except our disjointed and hopelessly marooned federation, the fact that the central focus of discourse in the choice of our leaders at all levels anytime elections are about to hold is often reduced to the accident of their geographical origin should be a matter of serious concern to its elites. And if the matter is still the topical issue in the choice of our leadership more than fifty years after our independence it should be a deep source of worry and deep embarrassment, assuming, of course, that Nigerians as a collective, are still conscious of the meaning of shame!

 

To the eternal shame and embarrassment of the entire black race, fifty years after the departure of the British, Nigeria is still nothing more than a 'geographical expression', to recap the words of one of the Trojans of First Republic politics. Sadly, even today, the talk is always about the Yoruba nation, Igbo nation, the fabled Hausa-Fulani Oligarchy, an imaginary distinctive Middle-belt, and the South-South.

 

Whatever gains our colonial experience bequeathed on us in terms of organization and a value-adding public service system have been abused and hopelessly compromised possible beyond redemption.

 

We have been reduced to a nation of big dreamers and little achievers, and here, permit me to take a swipe and indeed enjoy a hearty laugh at the principal objectives of our much vaunted Vision 20:20 Plan.

 

From every indication, the plan was conceived without the slightest contemplation of the crucial role of those expected to faithfully implement the plan itself. And the last time I checked, those 'crucial human resource' to drive the plan called not changed their nationality. They are still Nigerians.

 

They are the big men and women of gargantuan egos and limited vision, especially when the issue affects Nigeria as an entity. They love big parties and big masquerades. It does not bother them in the slightest that their nation has remained stunted in growth for as long as their own statures, so obscenely Omni-present in midst of unprecedented poverty, remains undiminished.

 

And for that reason, they can see no hope for single, united and prosperous Nigeria. They want state police as a first step towards the unbridled cannibalization of the nation. They mock and ridicule every intelligent argument intended to pull the nation out of the quagmire into which their criminal ineptitude had condemned and constantly play the ethnic and religious card because it is the only guarantee for the perpetuation of their primitive hegemony.

 

And for that they are fully prepared to deploy every trick and strategy in the world to ensure that their principal victims - the long suffering masses of Nigeria - whether they lived in Yanagoa, Sokoto, Maiduguri, Ibadan or Owerri are not educated or enlightened enough to question their crass ineptitude and poverty of leadership.

 

Only last week, the Chairman of the Nigerian Universities Commission was credited with the report that Nigerian parents now spend an average of 160 billion Naira annually to train over sixty thousand Nigerian students in Ghana alone! By the time the statistics for the our students in tertiary institutions in Dubai, Ukraine, Turkey, Cyprus, India, Sudan, and China among others are factored in, the statistics in terms of the overall cost to our economy would, of course, be stupefying. And all that because of the embarrassing failure of our government to fix our own educational system which remains in deep chaos.

 

As I write this, two of my son's have just graduated from secondary school with good grades in their WAEC Examinations, thanks to the excellent work the Army is doing with the Command Secondary School in Suleja. Now it seems the bigger challenge is finding a befitting university for the two to pursue their dreams. One wants to become a doctor, and the other a lawyer. But if take the word of my good friend who is a Nigerian university don, even the thought of sending them to any of our public universities is not even an option! He knows the system inside-out and has warned me against the notion.

 

So it seems am also condemned to join the ranks of frustrated Nigerians who must starve so that their kids can realize their dreams abroad! It baffles and increasingly irritates me that our leaders do not even realize that risk we run by subjecting our future to such uncertainties!

 

For every promising Nigerian kid compelled to study abroad, there is every likelihood that he may never return to our shores again to contribute to national development. Among the few credible Nigerians conferred with national honours yesterday was a certain Jelani Aliyu who is the shining star in the renaissance of America's General Motors for his brilliance at designing cars! He had left for America for further studies after completing a diploma course in Nigeria. We are now left to contemplate what would have been if Nigeria had also kept pace with the development of nations like India and Brazil who have thriving automobile industries!

 

Jelani's story, like others before him, easily explains why our best brains continue to troop abroad whether they are scientists, doctors, or promising students, because our broken system and visionless leaders have contrived to make our local environment unattractive to them.

 

We import virtually everything we use in this country including toothpicks and used under-wear. We export every useful products and natural reserve only to import them at a premium because we lack the wherewithal and commonsense to refine the same products for effective national development. Sadly as the case of Jelani, and the endless stream of Nigerian students for better education has shown, such exports are not only restricted to prostitutes, but ultimately our most gifted brains crucial to effective national development. The other word for it of course, is brain drain!

 

The other worrying factor in the face of the current mess we have found ourselves in is the fact that managers of our economy can even dare to think about stabilizing the Naira in the face of such alarming capital flight. Shouldn't it be a cause for serious concern when the amount of money spent to by Nigerian parents to train their kids abroad annually is greater than our yearly vote for education? Do our leaders have blood running in their veins at all?

 

The way I see it, the only way the authorities along with our elites can be compelled to develop the critical patriotic zeal needed to urgently overhaul our health and educational systems for the good of the general citizenry were if there could be a form of legislation to prohibit all parents without exception from sending their kids to foreign institutions, and another for a total ban on overseas medical trips. But I doubt if that can ever happen.

 

Ours, like I wrote earlier, is a nation of big men in a hollow firmament called Nigeria. The nation must remain hollow so that their hegemony can endure. The big men are much more important than the nation itself. And the two are not mutually compatible. Our experience has proved that beyond all reasonable doubt.

 

That is why we celebrate the biggest political party in Africa when in reality it is not more than a dwarf compared to its peers in Africa and the rest of the developing world. Their greed is only matched in size by the evidence of their alarming mediocrity in all spheres of our national life. But we must not lose hope. Ghana was also like that before God used Jerry Rawlings to arrest the drift.

 

Before Rawling's decisive intervention, more than half of Ghanaian women had been forced into prostitution. Their graduates also served as house helps in Nigeria. But now our nation increasingly resembles a stranded whale; rich in potentials, but held down by bad leadership at all levels. We pray for God arrest the accelerated drift of our dear country towards the deep abyss.

 

Source: Daily Trust

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