DAY 10: SOMETHING FOR WHICH I FEEL STRONGLY.
About two weeks ago, I was at a gathering, and at the start of the event we all had to arise and recite the National Anthem and Pledge. I saw myself struggling with rolling those words off my lips, not due to an inability to remember them, but rather out of dissapointment at the country whose anthem we had to sing out aloud. At that point, the words of our popular anthem did not symbolize anything but a remembrance of our current state of affairs.
I am Nigerian. Born and bred. And I love my country. I’m far from proud of what we’ve currently become, but deep down within me there is a love I have for this place that I find hard to understand. Is it possible for love and disspointment to be felt simultaneously towards something? For me, concerning Nigeria, it is. It’s how I feel everyday.
Sometimes I don’t understand. How did we get here? Why can’t I point to one sector in this nation and say, “at least this is working”? Why do citizens have to beg and almost fight so they can have assess to the most basic of amenities? I’m currently typing out this piece on my phone while the background generator symphonies play aloud; a reminder that providing constant electricity, one of the most basic amenities of any economy, has proven to be a herculean task for our lawmakers.
Last week my father and I were stuck in a 2-hour traffic across a route that should take less than 15 minutes. Guess what we saw at the end? A gaping hole in the road, or pothole for those familiar with the lingo. Let that sink in for a minute.
In that traffic, if there was someone who was having a heart attack and desperately need medical care, they would have died. If someone was rushing to an interview, they may have missed the job. A woman in labour might have had to birth her child in the car instead of the labour room. I had a 1pm appointment that day. I left the house at 10am and still wasn’t able to make what should have ordinarily been an hours’ journey. All because of a pothole in the road that the right authorities have neglected to address.
Good roads, constant power supply, better healthcare, more security, better education, cheaper internet. Are these things too much to ask for? Countries that are progressing in these areas and many more, do they have two heads? How are we experiencing all these challenges all at once? Why does it feel like those who have the power to make things better aren’t lifting a finger to make these changes? Worse still, why are they making even more harsh and insensitive policies?
I belive someone is being paid to maintain that road. Someone is always being paid to provide these services that many Nigerians clamour for. But somehow they never get done. This thing called corruption? It has eaten us deep. We’re at the point at which selfish interest overrides common sense most of the time. When I think about it, I marvel at the immense amount of wickedness and selfishness it must take for someone in a position to effect postive change to sit back, watch it all crumble to nothingness, and embezzle all the funds while doing so.
I wish it was just a government problem. Selfishness, that deep-seated type that displaces one’s ability to reason rationally, has flowed to every corner of this nation. Not many people care about getting the job done right anymore, it’s their selfish agendas and nothing else. The system can go to ruins, as long as they make a killing they don’t care. No nation can make significant progress when majority think like this.
Sometimes it feels like living in Nigeria can be likened to being in an abusive relationship. You’re being disrepected on a regular basis and you remain silent about it for a long while, but the moment you speak out and declare that you deserve better, they huff and puff and attempt to bully and threaten you back into silence. Case study: Omoyele Sowore. Need I say more?
Do I love Nigeria? Without a doubt. Do I like Nigeria right now? Not at all. It can’t continue like this. Nothing works as it should. Our solution does not rely on foreign aid, because poverty is not our main problem, poor governance is. It’s only those who wear the shoes that know where it pinches. The solution is within us, the governance and the governed.
We can’t continue like this.