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By Julius Oweh
Today, Nigeria, the limping giant of Africa celebrates 62 years of nationhood marked with pains and gains. It is time to reflect on the journey so far. It is very said that for the past eight months our children are out of the classroom, no thanks to prolong ASUU strike. University lecturers who are revered the world over for their cerebral nature and contribution to progress and development, here in Nigeria have acquired the unique but dubious distinction as always abandoning the classroom under the veneer of strike. It is just the signature tune of what is wrong with the country. Today, inflation in Nigeria is sky bound as the Naira kisses the dust. As an undergraduate at Akoka in 1982, a dollar was the equivalent of sixty kobo and going to America, Europe or Canada was not in vogue. The reverse is the case as our national currency is worthless and this was displayed by the two major political parties’ primaries where dollar became the unofficial currency of the nation. Young Nigerians are eager to escape from the poverty stricken den that is called Nigeria. These are the tears of nationhood brought about not by lack of natural and human resources by the indifferent and indolent attitude of the parasitic political class that feeds on selfishness and cronyism.
We are operating democracy without democrats. Our elected leaders at all levels are dictators masquerading as democrats who find it difficult to obey the laws of the nation. Party primaries is case of dog eat dog and dagger drawn affairs. The nation is sleeping walking and some people are of the delusional sense of reasoning that we should clink glasses because of 62 years of nationhood. Amidst the insecurity plaguing the country and poverty making skeletons of many of my compatriots, the political class is more enamored with next year election. The founding fathers of the nation in the mould of great Zik of Africa, Obafemi Awolowo, Sir Ahmadu Bello et al must be rolling in their graves of what had become of a promising young nation turned a political caricature. It is perhaps time for the youths to take back their country and change the political narrative for good by participating actively in next year election.
The ills plaguing the nation are many and varied. But it would be the height of intellectual insincerity and political insensitivity to contemplate for a split second that the country has not developed. It is either looking at the glass half empty or half full. There are varieties of reasons to celebrate Nigeria. After all, the nation is still one after the gruesome and genocidal civil war. There are both leaps in economic and educational fortes of the nation. Nigeria today is the home of most educated Africans as my brothers and sisters are making waves in Europe, Asia and America. The best doctors and scientists are of Nigerian extraction. And not too long ago, a Nigerian was on the verge of becoming the Prime Minister of United Kingdom. If these are not achievements, I am at loss to get the real definition of the term. But the drawback here is that given the enormous human and natural resources, Nigeria ought to be in the same league with United States, Europe and Japan. And that was the more reason a global diplomat said with painful injection that Nigeria was too rich to be poor.
It boils down to the method of political recruitment. Our leaders are of the mindset of political robbers who see their presence in government of that of pillaging our common patrimony. It is a political axiom unique perhaps to Nigeria, that politics is the fastest means to primitive accumulation of wealth. That explains why a councilor could be richer than a university professor. The lamentations shall continue until we change the method of political recruitment and committed Nigerians should not sit on the fence and allow third rate Nigerians to run the show. It is a patriotic duty to contribute to the growth and development of the nation by active participation in politics. Sitting on the fence in matters of politics is a dangerous option with doomsday consequences for the nation. The era of lamentation is over. At 62, we should be able to see the development of the country as that of individual and personal efforts.
As usual, the annual ritual of speech making shall dominate the airwaves and the mass media. We have to hold our leaders accountable. Next year election is an opportunity to elect leaders who have the interest of the nation at heart. Why faulting the political leaders, their collaborators in the civil service cannot escape blame. They are the ones who tutor the elected politicians how to steal our money. Both the political class and civil servants are the toads of war feeding on the blood and sweat of the masses. A corrupt and perhaps inefficient civil service has brought us to this sorry past. As for my colleagues in the mass media, the culture of celebrating politicians without integrity and status conferral must cease. The mass media must remain the mirror to reflect the ills of society and proffer solutions. The issue of finger wringing must stop so that Nigeria sits in its rightful place and the country should be beneficial to vast majority of the citizenry.
A sixty two year old man by global standards is not a small boy. He must have worked and retired. In the private sector, he should be a captain of industry, sitting atop Blue Chip Company. Unfortunately the image of Nigeria as a man child haunts the imagination of this writer. It is our collective duty to change the ugly political and economic narrative for good. All the same, happy celebration of independence!


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