Nigeria Matters

Nigeria’s Sea Of Poverty And Her “Prosperous” Government!

With identifiable and measurable targets, the Millennium Development Goals include: eradicating poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, ensuring environmental sustainability, and developing a global partnership for development. There are various mechanisms to ensure that this government is not “islands of prosperity” in a “sea of poverty” but rather have a sustainable positive impact on local economic development, ranging from enhancement of humane-chain linkages, to establishment of local foundations, to equity share arrangements. Nigeria needs to find ways to raise employment, especially in above minimum wage-paying jobs, to more of the workforce. In this country, this may someday discourage Nigerian workers from thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the border and allow them to save more for tomorrow, rather than living from day to day.

In Nigeria, this may mean the reduction in the numbers of the working poor and an increase in their confidence and self-respect, as well as their personal savings. Let’s address first things first, as so many here in Nigeria have suffered during the last eight years under the first president since Obasanjo era to oversee a net loss in jobs during his administration. “It has now been confirmed that the disintegrating N29.95 billion ($256 million) NigComSat – 1 flown into orbit about a year ago by China Great Wall Industry Incorporation (CGWIC) is irreparably damaged and has been safely de-orbited to its eternal resting place in the heavens” who is fooling who?

Two contributors at Chinedu Arizona-Ogwu’s “nigeria4betterrule” through phone conversation, referred to retributive justice as an optional punishment on those who fail to leave a leadership legacy but have brought harm and negative consequences on already suffering Nigerians. When I studied this government back-pedal economy and its effects, one after the other, I couldn’t help but shed tears.

I shed tears, not because Mr. President thinks the PDP proposed mansion was once used as an area for nefarious activities and military hostage several years ago , but because of the millions of Nigerians who live under socio-economic hostage today wondering when economic freedom and independence would come, whilst N50billion which could be used to abolish the economic hostility is rather going into a PDP national secretariat .I wail because of the daunting circumstances our brothers and sisters going through today from curable diseases, hunger, and starvation which could be eradicated with the US$30 million that is meant to build a PDP national office. I shed tears, not because of the self-centric traits of our leaders and their megalomaniac desires, but because of the millions of women like the rural women of the Niger Delta area who have not had any such micro-credit support from anyone and are suffering because their own government has neglected them and the huge N50 billion which could have helped to bring them out of perpetual poverty is geared toward the creation of another PDP national office.

I shed tears, not because the head of state is trying to increase the tally of ruling party facilities, but because of his neglect of the plight of millions of hard-working men, women, and children, especially in the rural areas of Nigeria who cannot get potable water to drink, even today, and are suffering from guinea worm epidemic, just as I suffered from guinea worm attacks for two academic terms thirty-three years ago, which could be eliminated with the N50billion, but which, is rather going into the construction of a new ruling party office.

Despite Nigerians finding it difficult to put food on the table for their malnourished children, buy them school uniform, afford them aspirin/malaria tablets when they are ill, and lead happy lives with smiles on their faces, millions of our fellow Nigerian patients who are helplessly sick and laying in our empty, dilapidated hospitals, some laying on the hospital floors and not on beds, without medicines, adequate equipment, medical staff/nurses/doctors, and utilities, yet I see no end to the suffering of the rural men and women who toil from sun-rise to sun-set in the scorching sun working hard on the fields/farms to provide a decent meal a day for their families.

The tens of thousands of our policemen and women who put their dear lives on the line to protect and secure the citizens of our country and yet cannot afford a decent meal for their families, not to dream of saving for the future of their children .

Mr. president, during elections campaigns, had promised the destitute milk and honey and now delivering tears and fears and wanting to live in his own-dream .The pain and suffering of the rural woman who works so hard from sun-up till sun-down in the hot sun, carrying her little malnourished child at her back, and walking several miles, often bare-footed, to get to the nearest village market to trade her merchandise or to the nearest clinic to get her sick child attended to.

The thousands of young mothers who die in the process of child labor owing to either a lack of transportation (mobility and rural roads) or a lack of the requisite medicines and prompt medical attention, which could be reduced with the thirty million dollars that.

There are millions of our poor farmers who need help to improve on production methods, output, and enhance their lives. There are millions of Nigerians who sleep in leaking homes and thatched huts without electricity and lanterns, simply because they cannot afford to buy kerosene and are sometimes attacked by wild snakes and other dangerous reptiles. There are tens of thousands of our soldiers who put their precious lives on the line to protect and defend our country and others, and yet cannot afford to feed their families and establish a better future for their children . There is deteriorating condition of our factories and falling industrial output. Tens of thousands of our university students do not have enough dormitories, classrooms, textbooks, laboratories, and often study on empty stomachs .Thousands of school children drop out of school because there is no food to feed them at school, and their poor parents cannot afford to sponsor their education.

There are thousands of our poor youths who sleep along the stinky, mosquito-infested gutters of Lagos and Onitsha at night because their government has neglected and failed them. There are poor primary school children who, today, still walk to school bare-footed, in the scorching sun and on the hot grounds, just as I did during my primary school days over twenty-five years ago. I would continue to shed tears, not because our president is not unskillful at steering our economy, but because of the begging our future generations would have to master as a profession, just like the president, to get these new policy that he is now piling up.

Millions of empty stomachs on which it is going to be built – the empty stomachs that put all their fate in their political leader but got nothing in return, except increased poverty, hunger and diseases. There are thousands and thousands of poor, helpless Nigerians who are sick and dying of HIV/AIDS and malaria, whose plight is not the concern of the government. There are millions of teachers, doctors, nurses, engineers, farmers, traders, civil servants, and many more, who work so assiduously and yet, can not save money for their children’s future or make one decent meal a day. There are thousands of customs officers, prisons personnel, watchmen and other private security agents who risk their only lives to secure human lives and property but yet cannot afford a decent meal for their families.

Living Nigerians could become non-living (die) because the money that could be used to save their lives from dying of starvation, malnutrition, and curable diseases is being mismanaged. There are millions of our city dwellers, traders/market women, businessmen/women, pensioners, nurses, fire-fighters, labourers, construction workers, technicians, other professionals/artisans, and millions of the unemployed, who struggle each day to make ends meet at the dining table, and yet barely make it, while this government is on the drawing board instead of projects to alleviate the suffering of these people.

I believe, Mr. President’s ignorance that many future budgets will be affected by this ungraced satellite mission quest may one day get sobriety. One would pause to ask, does Nigerians have a president who is careless about the suffering of most Nigerians, but also because of the increased self-quest, his ill-planning and mis-prioritization has brought upon the common, poor citizens of our nation.

The way forward as a nation, is to transfer the confidence we have reposed in our sleaze politicians, THIS INSANITY, DISGRACE, FEAR, GREED and ENVY, MUST END!! We are all brothers and sisters and we will not allow a few to separate us! We will not allow the ship to sink! No! Let me now fatten richly the purpose of this write up with this anecdote. Not too long ago I talked to one of the senior officers at our NEPA-turn PHCN about his organization. Like the critical mass in animal farm that came together to overthrow the economic system that enslaved them, we must come together to pull this economy by its roots. We must for once put aside partisan bickering, tribal influences, and ideological differences. Party or tribal loyalty when our country is sinking is plain wrong and disloyal. A group of like-minded folks, intent on making fundamental economic changes, can get it done. Our redemption does not lie in either the PDP or minority parties. What we are going to need is a third force whose sole purpose will be the building of a self-sustaining economy. Yes, we must organize and yes we will have to wrestle power but it cannot be politics as usual. We don’t need politicians! We need radical nationalist with the people at heart. It will take a group of selfless individuals who seek power for a great purpose. A group that is selfless and willing to make all the tough decisions so that we might be free for good. We have a lot of convincing to do and the time to start is now. Let me end with a quote from Robert A. Carlo, “no one can lead who does not first acquire power, and no leader can be great who does not know how to use power.” Carlo also says, “many people want to be leaders, but very few are leaders in the sense that I mean it: using great power for great powers”. Power for a great purpose is what I am talking about here. Let us prime for the hard work ahead.

There is a great purpose to be met. Where are the leaders baying for power with the sole purpose of getting the job done? Nothing short of a civil revolution run by a fearless movement will work. We have to make fundamental changes and only a covenant with Nigeria will suffice. Let us organize, organize and organize to take back our country, so that these leaders will sit-up!!!

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