You have often heard a parent, uncle, aunty, grand parent, Methuselah’s cousin talk about the good ol’ days. They talk about it like it is a thing of pride. They will sit down and regale you with tales of when the Nigerian Naira was stronger than the US dollar, when you did not need a visa to go to Britain or the US, when people were more respectful and were less sexual. Heck if you believe much of the things they say, you would think about 40 years ago Nigeria was a utopia of abstinent upstanding and hardworking people who could do no wrong. The fact however is far from that, those good old days laid the foundation for the state our country currently is in.
A few months back, I was watching a series of videos about Nigeria around independence and it triggered a tracing back of our history and I continued to watch more and more videos about independence, about the coups that followed independence and I also read about the coups of 1966 and the Biafra war. I came to a sad conclusion; many of the “founding fathers” we have venerated and made into models of selflessness, nationhood and sacrifice were in their own right, selfish, tribalistic people who thought of themselves, their immediate ethnic group and so on at the expense of the overall good of the nation. Of course this is just a personal opinion.
I believe the dearth of leadership in our nation was there from the very beginning. Our country was built on a very shaky foundation and hence it has refused to stand solidly for over half a century after independence. We had leaders at independence who were more concerned with maintaining their titles of “Local Champions” than forging a United Nigeria. We had leaders who even though on some level wanted to unite the nation and forge for the good of all wanted to establish hegemony of one group over the other. There was no mutual respect amongst the main groups of this nation from the beginning. Each group saw themselves as superior to the other and hence our nation was built on the crabs in a bucket principle. Every group trying to succeed and pull down any group they see progressing.
Yesterday the crippled giant Nigeria turned 52. My diagnosis as an uncertified doctor of BS with a certificate from the school of 419 (think school of hard knocks, naija version) is that Nigeria is suffering from an early onset of dementia (It cannot remember its past, cannot function properly and is prone to making poor decisions for its citizenry), arthritis (inability to progress normally), glaucoma (a torrid lack of vision by leaders and populace alike), loose bowels (a nation under the constant threat and throes of anarchy, crisis, division and insurgency), erectile dysfunction (Nigeria’s mojo is not working properly, it has lost the respect of nations it used to regularly kpansh on the African continent, it suffers performance anxiety and makes a lot of noise when it has had its burantashi) I can go on.
Here is the man who graces our 200 naira note speaking about Igbos and I bet his contemporaries held similar divisive thoughts
As Nigeria turns 52, what is your assessment of the state of the nation and what can we do to change it? I leave it to you, o ye of brilliant mind.