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Nigeria @ 60: Grow up!

Nigeria @ 60: Grow up!

2 October, 2020

SIR: If Nigeria were to be a person it would have nearly lived a full life by now having gone through childhood, puberty, adulthood, middle age and about to enter the blissful age of retirement. That is to say Nigeria should have got over its teething problems, settled into a steady growth rhythm by adulthood and now at retirement should be a nation everybody should be happy to live in.

In an attempt to govern ourselves we’ve tried every form of governance known to man – without success- from military dictatorships to the US- presidential style we currently practice.

We have the largest deposits of crude oil in Africa yet our ancient and crumbling refineries can’t pump out cheap petrol and kerosene for the populace to consume: to make matters worse fuel subsidies have been removed and a litre of petrol now costs a fortune. We have to import refined petroleum products – even from countries like Niger who only started commercial oil production in 2011.

Boko Haram and other insurgents are busy terrorising the land killing and kidnapping  people at random and sacking villages while the Nigerian Army is powerless to bring their reign of terror to an end.

Still after 60 years, building and maintaining simple basic structures such as roads and bridges is alien to our culture. We build them (if we do!) and forget about them.  Driving from Lagos to Abuja is like a day trip to Hell! If the pot-holed roads or non-existent roads, rickety bridges and other reckless motorists don’t kill you, you are bound to meet your Waterloo at the hands of marauding robbers, kidnappers – or the police! (SARS are the guilty ones here!).

The minority ruling elite are well-heeled (-and corrupt!); well educated (-well most of them!); send their kids abroad to proper schools; order cooked pizza from London while the rest of the country wallows in poverty and uncertainty.

With nothing else to do, many are jumping on planes to go abroad – many vowing never to come back home again. The nation is losing its top brains to institutions and organisations abroad  and the government is doing nothing to stem the flow. How many PhD. holders work for Dangote driving trucks?

Faced with hopelessness many are forgetting that “Get Rich quick or die trying” is meant to be lyrics in a rap song and not a mantra a great many Nigerians live and swear by.

So after 60 years of independence Nigeria has managed to wangle its way into the infamous club of failed nations, hardly something worth celebrating.

 

  • Tony Ogunlowo, Lagos.

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