Like Tunisia, like Egypt, like Nigeria?

by Bob MajiriOghene Etemiku

For thirty minutes, I tried to write the first of what should have been this paragraph but I failed. I am trying again using this format, with the hope that at least, I would be able to strike the right chord. I cannot explain what is happening to me. Ordinarily, I get inspiration from feeling strong about a matter, and from that feeling, the words come at me like a mighty rushing wind. I feel terribly strong now about what I want to say today but I do not feel the crush, neither do the words rush at me. Well, the Most High God is the author of inspiration and of creativity, and now I call on him for the energy and the verve to be able to say something about the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. That is because before my very eyes, I can see exactly what I had read about of the French Revolution of 1879, of a people who were pushed to the wall and how a people pushed to the wall pull down walls of despotism and official absolutism. Unlike me however, the people of that era did not experience the paucity of words with which to describe their emotions at the fall of the Bastille and of the guillotining of the French King. For William Wordsworth though, it was bliss to be alive that morning that the Bastille fell. To the young it was like being in heaven, he said. So why was I finding it difficult to find my own words? Lord why?

Hmmm, God is faithful. He responded like I knew he would. The words are pushing at me now, and I know now that it was my psychological as well as physiological states that were responsible for my initial slow start. So, the following took place between me and the Lord [in my mind, mind you].

The Lord: I am happy you are ok now Bob…
Bob: Yes, yes sir, I am happy too. But Lord, I didn’t think that ordinary malaria fever would generate the initial inertia that dulled my sensibilities about the seriousness of the rage of Egypt and the turning of the tides in Tunisia. What about my mind? Why did it go blank?
The Lord: But my boy, it didn’t go blank. I was only trying to use your own illness and psychological state to tell you some things.
Bob: What things, Lord?
The Lord: Have you heard of my SANE children in Africa?
Bob: SANE children Lord? Does it mean that there are no mad people in those lands? Or that the others are insane?
The Lord: Now, now, one at a time Bob. First I made you ill to let you know what illness does to the body and mind, and to let you also know how it is with a sick country. The word ‘SANE’ is actually an acronym for four African countries – South Africa, Algeria, Nigeria and Egypt. And no, it does not mean that all others are insane.
Bob: But Lord, how did these countries become SANE? Was this your handiwork?
The Lord: I didn’t put them there. I made all peoples ‘sane’. That categorization was the handiwork of the African Development Bank, ADB, not me.
Bob: Why would the ADB do such a thing? What parameters did they use in separating Africa into a SANE and a seemingly insane group?
The Lord: Good question. The countries in the SANE group are said to draw more than half of Foreign Direct Investment, FDI, they are more than the remaining 49 countries of Africa. They account for half of Africa’s GDP, they share among them nearly half Africa’s exports, total trade, and foreign reserves.
Bob: But Lord, that is not fair! How could they include Nigeria and Algeria in that group? Apart from oil and gas, those things you put there by yourself for them to use for the benefit of their people, there is nothing else this duo contributes to the world economy. The monies are in private pockets, Lord. We could excuse South Africa – this is a country much more developed than Spain, Australia or Portugal, even without the endowments of oil and gas. This is unfair. I think they should have put Morocco, Tunisia and Libya there instead of Nigeria and Algeria.
The Lord: Hey take it easy there young man. Did I hear you say Tunisia? Have you not heard of the insanity that took place there and which spread into Egypt, Jordan, Yemen and the others? Is that why you want them to be inducted forcefully as a SANE country?
Bob: My father, please do forgive me for not sharing this sentiment with you. What you refer to as ‘insanity’ is what should be taking place in two of the other countries in this SANE group.
The Lord: Why would you be saying that my boy?
Bob: Because that is the only language that the people you put in positions of power in Africa understand.
The Lord: So since it has happened in Egypt, Nigeria should follow as well?
Bob: Yes sir…!
The Lord: But Nigerians are not that type…
Bob: Oh yes Lord I will agree with you on that!
The Lord: Really?
Bob: Yes Lord. You are known to be a God of impartiality, aren’t you? If this ‘insanity’ has happened in South Africa, Tunisia and Egypt, why not in Nigeria, a member of the SANE group?
The Lord: Oh no but that will never be my boy. You Nigerians are very good when it comes to religious riots and the pursuit of ethnic acrimony. You don’t look at the bigger picture. And that perhaps is the real reason why you may never bring change and development to your people.
Bob: But Lord, what should we do? Please help us…
The Lord: There’s nothing I can do about your people my boy. The future and your destiny lies in you the people of Nigeria. I am surprised you ask me what you should do, particularly when an example has been set for you…
Bob… [Sighing] Thank you Lord for your words of wisdom and encouragement.
The Lord: Bless you my boy…

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