Africa

The Illusions Of A Blessed Country

I am not trying to compare America to Nigeria – in fact, Nigeria is incomparable to any other country in the world – I am just giving a very simple example. America was not great within one day. Nigeria can be as great and as blessed as we want it, but we have to do it ourselves. We have to take our future in our hands and extricate ourselves from bad and corrupt leaders. That is the point. We can no longer blame; indeed, we have no excuse for blaming, colonial power or imperialists. The world is changing and Nigeria, and many other African countries ( Zimbabwe is an example) is not trying to change or is failing up to keep up with the pace of change, and thereby is being left behind.

Why do we continue to take one step forward and then five backward? After we all decided, by God’s intervention, that we must try democracy after years of misrule, inordinate corruption and selfishness by the military cabal serving sectional interests, why are we still not moving in the right direction under the civilian-politicians (although diluted by the same military cabal who have wormed their way in again)? Is this a blessed country in action?

Lo! Just a few weeks ago, in their misplaced esprit-de-corps camaraderie, three of our living former military rulers all spoke in one voice to confer on another former dead leader, sainthood and immortality. And recently again, the controversy of the June 12 election came up in a book launched by the man who conducted that election in 1993, and what we learnt is that some of those military officers who cancelled that election are now state governors and senators in our current democratic dispensation. Can you bear any more of this arrogance and utter disregard for our feelings and our very lives? How much more can we be blessed?

Are we so blessed that the powerful forces of darkness that have been our guide for the past forty-eight years seem to be forever having the edge over us everytime?

My contention is not that we are not blessed, but that we are not so specially blessed in light of what we do or achieve with such blessings. Blessings should and must be converted into something that will benefit all of us, and when this purpose is not achieved, then it becomes a curse, or at best, a millstone round our collective necks. This is the situation we find ourselves today in Nigeria. Our leaders are a curse to us and definitely represent what we are not blessed with. That is our fault. They are dragging us down with them to certain catastrophe which many of us might not see now, but is there gaping at us. We only need to open our eyes and be honest with each other to see it and prevent it.

Whoever thought that in 1999 when we embarked on our democratic experiment for a third time, we will still be in this position? We had great hopes then. We thought all our blessings will be commuted to real gains, but what have we, another disappointment, with no foreseeable light at the end of the tunnel, despite what they would make us believe?

Yes, they say Nigeria is progressing; our economy is strong; our foreign reserve is growing everyday; our banks are now more reputable and more efficient; our ratings have gone up in the Fitch rating; there is Vision 2020; there is the Seven Point Agenda; there is consultation to solve the Niger Delta problem. Don’t you see how we are fighting corruption these days because more and more corrupt government officials and dealings are being exposed and probed on an almost daily basis? They ask you.

But what have you? The Senate and the House of Representatives have not passed a single law since May 29 2007. They have been diverting and concentrating all their political energy, time, resources on probing and investigating, yet nothing has really happened; no results or white paper or blue paper have been published regarding these probes. Nobody has been convicted and jailed for corruption. Arraigned corrupt ex-Governors are still around free to do what they like doing best – mouthing off and trying to keep their cases from the courts. Some of them are even holding court amongst their people, except Peter Odili, who, after ruling Rivers State for eight years, is now suddenly afraid to go back, fearing for his life and safety. (The man is not serious, is he?)

There we are. A very “blessed” country where the people do not feel blessed or enjoy the so-called blessings.

Nigerians have a warped sense or interpretation of the Creator’s blessing, even on an individual context. The senator, representative, assembly member, councillor and civil servant who maimed and killed before he got to where he is will go to church or mosque and tell us he is blessed. The Governor, who embezzled funds meant to reverse the suffering of his people, will shout from the rooftops that he is blessed. The “419” fraudster will also give a thanksgiving in the House of God and declare that he is blessed, while his Pastor and Imam prays for him in God’s name. Warped minds. That tells you our mindset.

Nevertheless, blessings do not come to a people or country in the form of wealth, natural resources or what you have alone. Blessing comes in the form of good leaders, good and productive governance, effective and prudent management of resources and people, poverty alleviation, kindness of the leader to the led, honesty and sincerity of purpose, commitment and fear of God. If we are not ready to transmute all these blessings to benefit our people, and all mankind, I am afraid it still remains a curse.

Let the truth be said always. We will then deserve, appreciate and enjoy the blessings of God.
CSN: 40205-2008-16-03

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