By Prince Charles Dickson Ph.D.
Someone who has sold an old woman before knows the price of an old man
Yes, like Prophet Jeroboam, of Wole Soyinka’s famed Jero Plays, I danced, with eyes closed and spoke in tongues not known to me and ask the higher powers what is in store for Nigeria, the clouds I saw were misty, it was moving like this and like that and ghen-ghen.
I saw that Nigeria will not break, Nigeria will not fail or fall, because it already has. We are not united, but we are one in corruption, one in greed, one in maladministration and misgovernance. And very well united in our religious and ethnic brinksmanship.
The year 2022 was a long year, a year that a lot of us want to forget for so many reasons and others would not forget for the obvious reasons. But either way what more can we do than be happy that we were finally able to navigate it somehow. There are a lot of reasons to be optimistic this year as well as a lot to be pessimistic about, a lot of us would be watching with an eagle eye as events unfold towards the General Elections, on the international scene the drama would certainly continue from where it stopped last year.
This essay would be a thrust of all I expect would be confronting us this year as a nation and as a people, it would be a confabulation of issues that if tackled can take us closer to the promised land and if neglected as usual will only be ingredients for disaster and a continued slide towards doom. And the signs show that the latter is inevitable!
We again from the beginning of this year will be battling against poverty, of the mind, of pocket and of sensibilities, despite seven years of reforms by the the outgoing Buhari administration, we would still remain one of the poorest in the globe, despite our natural and human resources, due to human mismanagement we would be battling to sustain meaningful development, and growth that is equal to the expectations of our people.
With the emergence of the Obis, Tinubus, Atikus and co., again though subtly we will still be concerned about tribal sentiments, ethnicity, religion and thus to a large extent none of or few of us are thinking nor discussing meritocracy. Around these three evils and many more we are likely to be subjected to more of political irresponsibility, rascality and political arithmetic that further alienates the rulers from the ruled.
We shall again be fighting against negative statistics of reality, we still are likely to remain one of the poorest, the statistics would be against us, whether corruption, malaria, we will still remain and continue to feature amongst nations with the worst badly run economies, a lot of ghen-ghen (events of crazy proportion) would occur.
We are insecure as a people, we are once more going to be constantly dependent on others after 63 years of paper independence, despite all that really and imagined rice pyramid, the rice we eat would still come from Thailand, any land but not our land, our drugs both fake and original, we have India, Germany and co. to thank for them.
This year, will we be able to make sense of our economic policies both micro and macro with currencies that bleach when washed mistakenly in a jean, while we say alhamdulillah for Innoson motors, our cars, computers, clothing, ball point pens all from obodo oyinbo. Will we shed off the skin of a nation that is full of contradictions, a nation of millions of school leavers without jobs, a nation of millions sick with curable diseases and ailments, a nation yet blessed with fertile land, with intelligent men and women in abundance. But being punished by a handful of crooks called leaders, being ruled by a collection of mediocres. A nation where amidst these poverty a man would steal billions.
The issues that stop us from attaining nationhood again would include the fact that we are all hypocrites, constantly waiting for any opportunity to better Judas Iscariot in the act of betrayal, go ask Wike, Atiku and Co. Topmost is, we shall again see leaders who grew up in Oshodi, schooled in Oshodi, lived there all their lives and get elected to serve Oshodi, and first thing on their card would be a familiarization tour of Oshodi. Our Leaders would still be exploring all means and any means necessary to steal from us.
With looting, corruption and insincerity, the ball again would be played on the pitch of underdevelopment and to think otherwise would be deceitful. In a world experiencing a time and season of global recession, our cry would still be trying to catch the Asian Tigers, even West African puppies have gone too far for comfort. Our life expectancy would likely drop further, even as more roads are likely to be unmotorable. We shall lose more kids at birth due to lack of infrastructure while leaders and the affluent treat their stomach disorder in Paris.
More children would fail their qualifying exams especially with all the strikes of the preceding year. With less than 50cents a day, only the Almighty and our perseverance can keep us going.
We shall suffer the rule of idiots, because sages are kept in dust bin, maybe we will have exceptions here and there in shaa Allah, but again, it is going to be like it was, while Tafawa Balewa wanted to be a broadcaster, the powers that be thought otherwise, Yakubu Gowon was not intellectually, psychologically, temperamentally, ready but the oligarchy said it must be him. Then we had an all-knowing Obj in his first coming who was forced on us by Danjuma, Shehu Yaradua and co.
In Shagari it was no different, as the man that wanted to just be a Senator, a man that was not even at the Row Park venue of the NPN primaries emerged as winner without his consent, he was not even aware that his name was on the ballot. In 1998 fresh from prison, the Baba of Aso Rock had asked “how many Presidents did Nigeria want to make of him” but we did not listen. We witnessed a crying Mr. Buhari, who says he cannot wait to leave, has done his best whether it is good enough will be debated, because after all the shoeless one before him from Otueke is revered now.
The Emilokans, Unifiers, and Obidients, men who crave it with the exception of one. These are the specs that we have to navigate this new year. INEC would be in the eye of the storm, as well as the Police, the ruling APC, PDP, the G5, EFCC, and many ruffians that the government has created.
Things could be better, Nigeria can be great if only these institutions, if men and women of goodwill, can take the bull; if only you and I can make a concerted effort at being right in our own little way and fight in our own small corner.
The nation must emerge or else we are wasting time again, we must fight for liberation from tribal loyalties, ethnic jingoism, religious parapoism, monetary godfatherism and many more. We will have to move a ladder up from hope and expectation to reality.
In this New Year, we have to move towards a Nigeria, with Nigerians, we either continue the self deceit and watch the nation crumble like cookies. As I welcome us into this new year let me say that this is our nation, we are the only ones that can stop the drift, people that claim to love us are few, many nations are watching and waiting. Let us remember that we cannot continue to massage the ringworm and leave the sore. Almighty Allah we as a people thank You for a New Year and ask for the best, but are we working towards it—Time will tell