The first step to getting it right, to raising the mind to the reasonable horizons permitting rational and logical thought, to uplifting a certain set of people from the gutters where they are to the apex of serenity: the corridors of commonsense and development, where they ought to be, is a honest and proper diagnosis of their ailment. For any patient to be healed of ailments, a good healer recommends specific drugs after thorough tests and diagnosis have been carried out. Only a quack doctor administers drugs to patients, hoping the ailment leaves them without doing this. To solve any problem, there must first be an acceptance and definition of the problem. After that comes the specification and diagnosis of the problem. What type of problem is it? Physical, Cultural, Intellectual, Biological, etc? After identification, the next stage is the application of specific solutions to the specific problem. A dwarf cannot be the Giant Of Africa.
In Nigeria, the reverse has always been the case. The leaders do not even admit the existence of a problem. Like quack doctors, no diagnosis is run even at the evident emaciation, no diagnosis is performed even at evident retardation in thought and speech of the patient. Our idea of positive change is about keeping the status quo and expecting a difference. It seems both the patients and doctors, in this case, are one. The doctors are as sick as the patients the patients choose to heal them. Our leaders in Nigeria are a reflection of the majority of the people. And I was told that to be a patriotic and good citizen I have to keep screaming ‘Nigeria is the Giant of Africa’ and other phrases like ‘This Great Country of Ours’ and ‘One Nigeria’. All these phrases(yes, they are phrases in the rational language) can never positively transform the country until we put in real effort to change.
Nigeria is not one, Nigeria is not united, Nigeria is not a great country and Nigeria is not the Giant of Africa. You may keep lying to yourself to project a positive image of your country but know that no one but only you are the fool here. You are running a circus and you are both host and audience. Nigeria is filled with (blind) tribalism, religious intolerance, senseless leadership, nepotism and corruption. Tribalism is simply the loyalty to ones tribe. You can be a tribalist and still love your country but to be wicked and hateful is different from tribalism. Tribalism is like Patriotism. It is like the loyalty shown by people of a country’s states to the progress of that state. Like the loyalty we all show to our first families. It is not hatred for other tribes or the antagonism of their progress. It is not the wish that other tribes suffer because they dared to dare. That is blind tribalism. In Nigeria, wickedness is the definition of tribalism.
A Giant of Africa where Citizens are murdered at the slightest provocation on religious and stupid grounds like protests and pelting of stones, seems to me like a giant of the stone age. About two years ago, a woman identified as Evangelist Eunice was killed by Islamic extremists for preaching around a mosque. In Kano State, another woman, Mrs Bridget, was murdered by Islamic extremists for blasphemy. In Kaduna, another group of Islamic extremists almost hacked a young man to death because they saw him eating and tempting them during Ramadan. He was an evil temptation and must be stopped if they must be holy. A young man was butchered in the capital of Nigeria, Abuja, for urinating close to a mosque. In the past three years, the Nigerian Army has murdered many protesters in the name of fighting terrorism and lives have become less meaningful. Nigeria can’t be the Giant of Africa if they can’t be the giant of Religious Tolerance. We can’t be a Giant when we are masters of human rights abuses.
A country where some think their lives are more important than others cannot be the Giant of Africa. Here, some are licensed to kill. The herdsmen can kill anyone and nothing will be said or done to curtail the madness or bring anyone to justice. You can’t kill in the name of religion and get away with it in a great or sane country. You don’t kill farmers or cattle rearers and get away with it. You don’t open fire on protesting citizens, because of what you consider as stupid ideology (in a democracy) and get away with it in a great country. A country where the people are perpetually angered, hurt, killed and troubled by fellow countrymen cannot be a great country. In George Orwell’s Animal Farm, ‘All Animals Are Equal But Some Are More Equal Than Others’. Today’s Nigeria is like George Orwell’s Animal farm with Napoleon, Snowball, Squealer, Boxer, Clover, Minimus, Mollie, Moses, Muriel, Mr Jones, Mr Frederick, Mr Pilkington, Mr Whymer, Old Major, The Sheep and Dogs working together. Really working together the Manor Farm way.
There is, in Nigeria, and in all countries, a small group of short-sighted and irrational nationalists, who, irrespective of the grave sins, still think that their country is on the right track. They see the killings in the name of religion, they see the nepotism currently on the rise, they see the actions of the senseless leaders but choose to pretend, as if by pretending, any problem has been solved. Some months ago, I responded to a post about Ghana’s consistent electricity. I replied the poster that Ghana is yet to get 24 hours electricity and that all he read on our media about that are lies. He couldn’t believe it and called two Ghanaians who kept lying for their country until a third guy(a honest one) came in to resolve the issue. In Nigeria, some of us have become mercenaries to the mantra of that nonexistent giant. You are both the joke and clown. What exactly do our people gain from lying for their country? If maturity is the ability not to lie but not to tell the truth, silence would be golden whenever the urge to defend that lie comes up.
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A great country without great educational institutions? We can’t be outside the top ten Universities in Africa and still claim to be the Giant of Africa. In the 2017 and 2018 rankings of Best African Universities released by Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings data, only one Nigerian University was named in top 20 while South African Universities dominated. You don’t get to see South Africans chanting any of those fruitless mantras we have mastered. If we must be the Giant of Africa, our primary, secondary and tertiary institutions must be at the highest level. Most of our Universities are like shanties and this is not hyperbole. Admissions are largely based on bribe and not merit. Quota system still rules over everything. Some primary schools still receive lessons on bare floors. Secondary schools still pay WAEC officials for the free flow of ‘Expo’. In the 2017 Jamb Exams, some candidates were delayed by poor internet network. A Giant? In the 21st Century?
Security in Nigeria is a joke. The probability of dying from the gunshots of police and military men is higher than dying from the hands of robbers and gangsters. One must always watch the position of the rifles held by our security men when stopped on the road and never ever run from them even if you are innocent(take this advice serious). Your life will be wasted by mentally unstable men, guns placed close to your dead body while ignorant Nigerians cuss your corpse as they watch their TV screens. In Nigeria, the police is not your friend but they will tell you they are your friend. The soldiers are not like God. They are God. Alpha and Omega over lives. They’d boldly tell you how you will die and nothing will happen and they are not lying. The borders are porous and the customs let in thieves and murderers after notes exchange hands. You can’t have porous borders, a mentally compromised police and soldiers who care about their egos and not the citizens they were formed to serve and still call yourself a Giant. That’s a poisonous delusion.
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Nigeria is not the Giant of Africa. It is only the Giant of Corruption in Africa, the Giant of Senseless Leadership in Africa, the Giant of Tribal Hatred in Africa, the Giant of Religious Intolerance in Africa, the Giant of everything that has kept Africa backward. But we are not beyond change. We are not irreparable. We can become the Giant of Africa. We can play the role of an intelligent and wise big brother who knows what is at stake. We must first accept that the system, right now, is not working. We must accept that we are sick and need sound medication. We must know that pretence has never helped any country solve their problems. We need leaders who are smart and not under any mental asylum. The mental asylum of Neocolonialism, Blind tribalism, Nepotism, Intellectual deficiency, Spiritual emptiness (I am not talking about Religion) and Inhumane tendencies must be brought down, both in the leaders and masses, if we must become the Giant of Africa. For now, Nigeria is just a dwarf. Sit down!