Do we really want a beautiful, working country?
This It is well known that our individual actions represent the sum of what our society does. We dream big and want the best, but do things that go against our national desires. In essence, we are the architects of our misfortune. We want our institutions, systems, processes and procedures to work like magic in America, Europe and other organized places around the world. Yet we persist in doing the wrong things and we cling to wrong beliefs, thoughts and norms. It’s not that we can’t tell the difference between right and wrong, but our innate being just refuses to accept the right path because we may be winning from the wrong path. It’s not that foreign countries don’t have their challenges, they do, but the difference is in their modus operandi. In terms of organization, conduct, responsibility, institutions, politics, government and governance, relations with citizens and vice versa, foreign countries are much better.
Consider this: Angela Dorothea Merkel served as German chancellor from 2005 to 2021 and left office with a standing ovation, while Diezani Allison-Madueke, who served Nigeria as oil minister, is fighting to save her head and avoid going to jail for allegations of financial recklessness as well. many to mention. Both are women but from different countries; the difference between them is their state of mind. One displayed a progressive approach to national issues, while the other exhibited a primitive acquisition mentality. In this context, we still want an overnight transformation of our country to resemble the enviable foreign countries that have organized systems and institutions.
Laughable as our wishes are, the people who want Nigeria to look like foreign countries include politicians who arm thugs to kill their opponents, disrupt peaceful elections and impose a candidate on the masses. The same generation of politicians would get rich with funds for community and development projects. Are these the same politicians who have been hoarding food aid during the COVID-19 lockdown as other foreign countries drop off food at the doorsteps of their citizens, who want our country to look like organized foreign nations ? Is it the same ruling class that would not at least provide the necessary in terms of education, health care, running water, electricity, good roads, but instead would fly out of the country to get the best education and medical care with their families? Are we talking about the National Assembly deliberately spending more N1b to amend the constitution which they know cannot be amended but they want Nigeria to be like America where almost all systems and institutions are working perfectly with a due process?
Young Nigerians have thrown caution to the winds, find it hard to read, refuse to learn concrete trades but also demand a better country. Isn’t that ridiculous? They prefer to sleep and wake up from various screens, engage in cyber crime, ritual murders and other illegalities just to make money, but they want a better country to live in. What was their contribution to saving the decaying system and turning it into a land of their dreams?
Again, are we talking about the education system, especially universities where courses like medicine and surgery, law and engineering have become a hotbed for a certain class of students and their parents? A story has been told of the pressure a certain principled Nigerian university vice-chancellor faced some time ago, to admit several unusual candidates to study medicine and surgery at the school. “Lists of students came from Government House, traditional chiefs, accomplished men and women of the state, all wanted their wards to study medicine. It was a big problem for the Vice-Chancellor to deal with. It got so bad that the Vice Chancellor ditched his own daughter just to clean up the system. When such intimidating letters or phone calls come to him, he would be happy to announce that his own daughter has failed and will retake the exam next year, so tell your ward to go prepare for the year next. And that became saving grace. If a VC’s daughter couldn’t be admitted to college by her father, who else would he admit? Is it the same education system where sex-for-marks thrive that would resemble foreign universities? Yet we all yearn for better days.
A country where stealing a cup of garri would result in heavy prison sentences, while stealing public funds would yield chieftaincy titles and an honorary doctorate. Even religious organizations and communities! A country where the justice system, the hope of the common man has been nearly destroyed by judges who willingly accept bribes, leaving the masses in dire straits, desires a better place or are we just dreaming in as a country? A country where judges and lawyers have lowered the standard of the rule of law and allowed criminals to escape; do unimaginable things to get around the law, and we stand up for a better country. Civil servants have reportedly been accused of being the main culprits of corruption and misbehavior towards the workforce, but they want their country to resemble that of Europeans. Let them compare their work ethic with those of foreign countries and measure the difference themselves.
Hilarious, we want our country to be like this and that; coming from the same citizens who avoid queues and disobey traffic lights. Meanwhile, when traveling abroad, they abide by the rules of the country, go about their business without a long convoy and a loud siren, buy economy class tickets to travel, and show the best conduct and responsibility that the one can ever have because of the fear of the strictly enforced law.
Nigerian parents who would not allow their status-conscious children to take vacations or weekend jobs to support themselves while studying abroad also complain of poor leadership and yearn for better place. White, English, UK-born students all take holiday jobs to support themselves. The same people who are asking for change would not allow their children to travel economy class, instead they travel business class and first class even as students. I watched Richard Branson (Owner of Virgin Atlantic Airlines) on Biography Channel, and he said his kids were flying economy class, while he and his wife were flying business class. The British Prime Minister, including the Royal Family, does not have an exclusive aircraft for its use. They all fly on British Airways, including the Queen of England. Kate Middleton, wife of Prince William drives a Volkswagen Golf or something close to it, but unemployed Nigerian kids, whose fathers are movers and shakers drive the best armored SUVs, and still want the country to move forward and be like the others. How many Nigerian parents believe in Nigeria’s education system and health system? They have all lost hope and are not ready to fix it, so we all add and strengthen the best situation of foreign countries. In fact, when some of my friend’s children who returned for the Christmas party described themselves as “Americans born to Nigerian parents,” I felt the punch of their word very deeply.
Do parents who pay for malpractice special exams for their children also want Nigeria to become a better place? Let them start the change by first changing their mindset.
Now teachers who do their best to organize private lessons and pay less attention to normal lessons, the same teachers who eat students’ meals, steal raw food and watch students go hungry, abusive teachers who pronounce all sorts of curses on the students they are supposed to guide and train; same teachers who manipulate students’ scores, do they also believe that the country is moving forward? Again, you have teachers who are partners in crime, who falsify documents, to accommodate wrongs and eat bad seed. What about doctors who refer and divert wealthy patients to their private clinics to make more money and more mistakes that lead to preventable deaths? Nurses swapping babies in the delivery room, caterers filled with lies, deceptions, shortcomings and lack of professionalism; are they also looking for a better place in the country? Most caterers would never live up to expectations, always wanting to win heaven and earth at the expense of the customer. Merchants who hoarded goods and inflicted injury by skyrocketing the prices of goods and services to punish the public. Craftsmen who collect money and vanish into thin air, cleaners who do their jobs haphazardly, bosses who privilege certain personnel over others, religious leaders who commit heinous crimes, but all of us, at different levels, want societal change, good governance, respect for humanity and peaceful coexistence, but not ready to give up certain personal behaviors and show blatant irresponsibility. The ball is in our camp, the one who has ears, let him hear.