Nigeria: Are We a Generation of Mediocrities?

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To be honest with you, since I came to the country for an international project on road traffic safety in Abuja towards the end of 2013, I have been restless and having sleepless nights in brainstorming andthinking of a simple realistic solution to the multi-variousfundamental problems of my fatherland called Nigeria.

I so much have the beliefthat there is no problem without a solution, ifwe could recognize the problem and areready to take action. As usual, this three-month project eventually turned to eight months without any alteration from the contract papers. What could have been a disaster of the contract extension is now making me to stay back in the country to fully understand the problems and contribute my small quota to be part of fixing solutions without bloodshed.

My heart bleeds anytime our “enemies within” strike to kill innocent citizens and make mockery of our armed forces about releasing our Chibok girls. The unexpected project extension makes me to stumble on many books in my archives and I found again “a well researched and instructive book…I have always been guided by the examples of great achievers and reading through the book gave me additional inspiration. The book will need to be reviewed and popularized so that it can have wide readership” as posted at the back cover by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo at the time he was the democratic President of Nigeria. Up till now, I keep on wondering why the General with all what he read in this well-researched book found it difficult to fix the Nigeria’selectricity issue and rehabilitate all major Nigerianroads,most especially the most widely travelled highway in Nigeria, the Lagos/Ibadan Expressway. The book is titled: “Nigeria: From Depression to Greatness-using achievers’ technique”. It was written by able film and television production guru and administrator, Bola Aborisade.

      This book was published in 2003 (11 years ago) and contains a lot of research findings, insights and exceptional information that can turn the sleeping giant back to its feet, re-write our history and reshape our destiny from the hands of mediocresand imbeciles. We have had them in corridor of powers since 1960. There is no page in that book that does not provide one of the solutions to Nigeria’scomplex problems. You just need to read it or read it again if you have done before. But the introductory page touches the relic of Africancontinent and most especially,my fatherland. I will like the permission of the publishers to make extracts of this introductory page for readers of this piece:

“Mr Teddy Holmes, an Englishman, a Senior Agricultural Officer left Samaru to inspect a Federal Government Rice Project in Bida in 1956. He was met on arrival by a Nigerian Officer, an Agricultural Superintendent.  Mr. Holmes surveyed the rice farm and felt the plants had not been growing at the expected rate. “What is wrong?” he asked the Nigerian Officer. “I think the rain…” “Shut up! Don’t think. Can you think? Can you people think? Because you black people can’t think that is the reason why the white man is here to think for you and give you order”, said Mr. Holmes. This is 47 years after (in 2003 when the book was published but now 59 years this year). If Mr.Holmes were to appear again and survey what is going on in many black nations of Africa today, I am sure he would probably ask the same question: Can you black people think?” The white race has made it. The yellow race hasmade it. It is only the black race that has remained over the ages, the underdog, the dreg, the unfortunate and the never-do-well amongst the human race. No black nation has a buoyant economy. No black nation has overcome poverty, starvation, destitution, squalor and wretchedness. No black nation has acquired technology and used the same to solve problem of its people. The black has become synonymous with non-performance, incompetence, poverty and sorrow. Many say we have no brains. Many call us brutes in human forms. Many call us imbeciles. Up till four decades ago, the white people would not sit with us and we had to be consigned into stables in public transports. Today, our inefficiency, incompetence, indiscipline, lack of wisdom have becomeeveryday juicy gossips in western media. Rather than address this crucial issue, the black elites are busy acquiring luxurious houses in the choice areas of London, New York or Paris…”

      Meanwhile, this introductory page written in 2003 (12 years ago) can vividly still be used in a new book introductory page as the story remainsthe same in the Dark Continent.The level of mediocrity is evident in almost all sectors of the Nigerian federation. My first grudge for this nation goes to our founding fathers (TafawaBalewa, NnamdiAzikiwe, ObafemiAwolowo,Ahmadu Bello, Dennis Osadebey,AlvanIkoku, Anthony Enahoro, M.I Okpara, to name but few) out of which almost 90 percent of them studied abroad with scholarships and those who didn’t travel abroad had Cambridge correspondence programmes. Despite the fact that these nationalists thatfought for our independence knew the essence and importance of education, theycould not invest, commit and make education free, qualitative, and compulsory for all Nigerianchildren from primary school (standard six) to secondary or modern school levels, except in the old Western Region. If this was done by the first adminnistration after independence,we wouldn’t have knownwhat is called terrorism or religiouscrises or poverty as thesehave torn apart the country. Nigeria could have been competingasone of the five industrialized countries of the world. The subsequent governments and regimes could not do anything to rectify the situation since independence (54 years after) and that is why we are in the situation we are now.

      Moreover, those legacies left behind by the British have been privatized and sold to political jobbers that cannot distinguish themselves while in government. The most glaring example is electricity supply that we could not see any difference of much talked-about privatization after a year. A country that produces fuel has to argue, quarrel, fight and even kill themselves to get fuel. I have never queued one day in twelve years of residing in Spain-a country that has no oil. A nation with the highest concentration of the black people could not have an efficient and effective railway network that transports its people across the length and breadth of the nation. Our story is that of incompetency, non-performance attitude and indiscipline thatmake a nation with enormous natural and human resources produce more than 70 percent of the population to live below poverty level. A country that has what it takes to feed the whole of Africa. The Western media turn us into a laughing stock as we recorded the most disastrous kidnapping of more than 200 Chibokschool girls. What a catastrophe happening to our own generation? Greatness is no longer based on rhetoric as our soldiers ran for safety to Cameroon for their lives.

Finally, in Nigeria, mind control, manipulation and exploitation by the so called political leaders have become major threat facing our voters today as stomach infrastructure take its tolls in decisionstaken. The preferedsolution to this nation problem rest on the mindset change of the Nigeriancitizens in voting for patriotic, committed and competent leaders with vision, passion, conscience and integrity to change our poor nation into a great and prosperous nation. The mind of man can make the man and it can also destroy the man.  This is time to vote en-masse for leaders who will use our enormous human and limitless natural potentials to catapault us into greatness. Life has never denieditself to any personwhohas given life his all. When you are good to others,you are best to yourself. It is our collective responsibility and decision and not the system in the society or the complex circumstances we are facing that determines the survival of this great entity.  Great hopes make everything possible according to Benjamin Franklin.

Adewale T Akande,

An Author and Road Safety Traffic Consultant
based in Barcelona, Spain. Tel;0034632511469 (Spain) / 002348125896631(Nigeria)




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