If I were to be a Briton or a German who had spent many years in Europe and heard so much about the nation called the giant of Africa – its people, government, culture, leadership, economy, religion among others – I bet, Nigeria would have remained my best choice of country to visit before I see death. But I am a Nigerian, I have seen it all.
This is a country that is peopled by over 150 million inhabitants, making it the largest black nation in the whole world. By the current population of Africa, what this means is that it can boast of having one out of every six Africans. This, to me, should be a pride for every Nigerian. At least, as always said, “there is strength in number!” Never mind those who continually pontificate that 70 or 80 percent of them (they are not even sure) lives in abject poverty. They are ignorant of the fact that poverty is a world phenomenon that affects over 1.5 billion of its population.
The country has had different tastes of government, ranging from benevolent military regimes to homegrown civilian administrations, the latest being led by a lucky man from an insignificant minority, reflecting equal opportunities for all in a federation like ours, wonderful! Aren’t we lucky to have an international figure as our President through whose foreign policy, many of our helpless neighbours have benefited immensely in terms of grants and other technical or military assistance?
I know critics might want to say that the people’s needs are not yet met at home. But we should understand that this President Jonathan, who is currently competing with Barack Obama in respect of world leadership, is larger than Nigeria, (remember that he has, on two occasions now, posed with Obama in a photograph). We should, therefore, acknowledge the enormous responsibilities on his shoulders towards global peace and development and the limited resources to meet domestic needs.
The country that boasts of over sixty political parties is fast becoming a one-party state, having seen the beauty and potentials of the largest political party in Africa, that is, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP. Doesn’t that exhibit the dynamism of our nation state? Don’t mind if a fugitive brain box calls it a den of killers. The negligible pocket of assassinations and diplomatic killings of the high and low is just part of the features of a growing democracy like ours. America can corroborate this view. The so called fundamentalists behind the bomb blasts in the country must have gone back to their shells, having seen a fierce-looking, combat ready president in his shirt and jeans trousers while visiting the UN office after one of their unpopular show of shame.
Who says the Nigerian economy is not taking after the Asian Tigers? The advent of GSM operators in the country, for instance, readily attests to this. I bet, the much sought after foreign investors will surely come before this administration expires in 2015. If the government is not encouraging local investments to grow, it definitely has a genuine reason for that. After all, the people in government are also foreign investors in other countries. They have refineries, middle and large scale industries that provide job opportunities for their host countries. So, why persecuting ex- governors and other public office holders for merely being driven by the zeal for investment to help reduce world poverty? Our rulers, sorry I mean leaders, are just wonderful and patriotic.
The process of their coming to power too attracted world attention. People of different races and from various regions were just eager to witness the process. They called themselves International Observers while the local ones too were desperate for recognition. But this compassionate government would not like to stress its citizens to queue under the hot sun just because they wanted to renew the mandate of their universally accepted over-performing rulers (oh God! leaders). How would the government justify the huge resources being plunged into its army, police force, and the independently chosen Electoral Commission? Without voters on queue, we all heard beautiful results even for those who did not register their names at all before election. How else can a government be responsible! I think we have to ignore those rabble- rousers that are still looking for alternative government at the tribunal. What for? You may want to ask.
Nigeria, through its government, is trying very hard to deal ruthlessly with the social menace of corruption, particularly since 1999. The ICPC, EFCC, Due Process, among others, are the formidable bulldozers being used by the government, to the admiration of IMF and World Bank officials and their agents. If not for this immunity problem, many big guns would have found their ways to the gulag.
But I am still amazed why the overzealous Transparency International was once rating the country the second most corrupt in the world. Even at that, when we came down to third position, which is very commendable within a short period of time, no one, including my fellow Nigerians, congratulated the President and his workaholic team.
May be the problem that the present regime is facing is largely traceable to the road-side pen pushers that operate in our media houses since 1999. They have not seen anything good in our government. They exhibit, with funfare, what they call obnoxious policies as if they originated from Nigeria. Remember, they saw the under-aged Salisu Buhari out of power, the same way for the old school Evan(s?) Enwerem.
Today, it is “the face of a fraud or a liar”; tomorrow it is “7 Governors that can buy Nigeria”, or “Disintegration imminent in 2015” as if they are on the payroll of detractors. Or is it a crime for a freedom-conscious government to give room for press liberty? Imagine the President ordering the immediate release of the editors of The Nation newspaper after just two days in the Police cells.
That law is made for man and not vice-versa is well demonstrated here in my country. That man is born free but everywhere in chains does not exist in our lexicon. Everyone here is free of man-made chains. How wonderful! Everyone too does what pleases one – no qualms. You can declare a whole state your personal estate even against the authority of a sitting governor, nobody cares! You can always have your way especially if you have the financial wherewithal.
If you wish, you can block a federal highway for the naming ceremony of your new baby. Nobody raises one’s eyebrows in as much as palms are adequately greased up there. One is also at liberty to wear a black uniform and call himself police officer. At least, as long as he meets generous transporters on the road, he can be sure of getting their widow’s mite.
The police we have are such a wonderful force. Imagine the way and manner they engage fearlessly, even with bare arms, those sophisticated armed robbers on our highways. When their Oga was doing well during the era of Ota farmer, he was honoured with national award among other patriotic awardees. At the appropriate time to bow out, he was fired by Aso Rock. We can, therefore, see that things are done at the right time here.
In this part of the world, if you don’t like the other person’s face, you can decide to snuff life out of him so that you can have peace of mind. This is not minding if he is a Minister of justice or a Minister of God. What matters is that your heart’s desire is met, Chikena!
I may decide at will to mount a megaphone on the roof of my house to praise my God while you do same on your car to thank your own Allah. Or is it not true that Nigeria is known to be the most religious country in the world? How best can we confirm this, than the way the Oyinbo men and women troop into my great country to receive their miracles? Remember,
they brought to us this western religion sometimes ago.
The only advice l have for my fellow ever unsatisfied Nigerians is that they should begin to appreciate the uniqueness of this giant of Africa and say it loud: to hell with our detractors!