Why On Earth Should Nigeria Appear Poor?

by L.Chinedu Arizona-Ogwu

Nigeria and Nigerians are becoming worried. The nation is capsized by the caprice of those who failed to convert opportunities into wealth. Were they unlettered? Tolerated, other than such disappointment we perceived. As if they were not like you and I, who once in a life-time, look from the blackboard, write down in pencil, pen and paper.

Having finished my last opinion page on “Snatched From The Wretched Food-Table”, my phone kept ringing; curse, abuse, backbite and threat did not miss out. My extended family was forewarned. They were reached to call me to order. I began to imagine what this nation would turn into in a situation where everybody is muted, press freedom restricted, radio stations shut-down, newspaper firms hunted and television licenses revoked.

I am not “sorrowed” ever since I realized that I am not working against my home-country’s collective well-being. I respect the dignity of every Nigerian, opportune to rule or not. I am proving those who trailed my vehicle last night with a Mercedes 190E Benz wrong; government agent or assassins, I don’t care, so long I know the Nigerian long-suffering people were freed from this economic nonsense. I write to please God and humanity. I have never written to tarnish images, for money or for man-made awards. I write facts and not fictions. Those who accused me or abused me in one way or the other may, in any day discover the essence of my written Op. Ed.

If I may prove resilient, how do we feel rewarded from stealing away our treasure? Before his demise, my father left this phrase, “something gambled, nothing gained” to me. The phrase left a memory to me! It reflects what I ponder. I take people by their past records. I venture into what I take observation of its track-record. Some track-records reveal to me that 90% of some post-independent politicians are today walloped in abject poverty. As end-product of sweat-less acquisition (loot) and reckless spending, they guess eternity is their intent to loot us dry. No singled-out future! No decency!! No Rule!!! No principled! I hate persons who do not set pace, people who have no charisma and people who do not stand by their word. How come, do we fail? How come do we shun leading an exemplary life?

Our quarterly “nigeria4betterrule” debate summed up that no single Nigerian leader, past or present is patriotic. Politics is played to the death in Nigeria, where the lives of politicians can be as cheap as spent bullets and murky business groups wage a murderous struggle for their cut of everything from real estate deals to millions from oil money. During a furious political season last year (2007), the office of the chairman of FCT municipal electoral committee was set on fire, and the garages of the INEC were on the verge of being fire-bombed. The minority party stalwarts were shot, some killed with several bullets, as was a wealthy City Council chairman in the South-West.

All this evil, just to have a glimpse of our huge revenue and common wealth, keep everything to self-reach while carpet-tramping wretched law-abiding citizens to bring to fruition their intention to rush-out loots to western world, where they lost control to fall into the trap set by the foreign government to lose it. So far they denied ownership of the huge loot from our fatherland, and get acquitted, eventually come back to look for another opportunity. This is how Nigeria is becoming poorer everyday. Politicians serve as “Nigeria’s money conduit” to the western world.

Why on earth should Nigeria appear poor? The difference between the poor countries and the rich ones is not the age of the country: This can be shown by countries like India and Egypt that are more than 2000 years old, but are poor. On the other hand, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, that 150 years ago were inexpressive, today are developed countries, and are rich. The difference between poor and rich countries does not reside in the available natural resources. Japan has a limited territory, 80% mountainous, inadequate for agriculture & cattle raising, but it is the second world economy. The country is like an immense floating factory, importing raw materials from the whole world and exporting manufactured products. Another example is Switzerland, which does not plant cocoa but has the best chocolate in the world. In its little territory they raise animals and plant the soil during 4 months per year. Not enough, they produce dairy products of the best quality! It is a small country that transmits an image of security, order & labor, which made it the world’s strongest, safest place.

Executives from rich countries who communicate with their counterparts in poor countries show that there is no significant intellectual difference. Race or skin colour is also not important: immigrants labeled lazy in their countries of origin are the productive power in rich European countries. What is the difference then? The difference is the attitude of the people, framed along the years by the education and the culture & flawed tradition. On analyzing the behavior of the people in rich and developed countries, we find that the great majority follow the following principles in their lives: Ethics, as a basic principle, Integrity, Responsibility, Respect to the laws & rules, Respect to the rights of other citizens, Work loving, Strive for savings & investment, Will of super action,. Punctuality and of course…Discipline.

In poor countries, only a minority follow these basic principles in their daily life. Nigeria is not poor because we lack natural resources or because nature was cruel to us. In fact, we are supposedly rich in natural resources. We are poor because we lack the correct attitude. We lack the will to comply with and teach these functional principles of rich and developed societies. If you do not govern Nigeria with honesty, nothing will happen to you. Your pet will not die, you will not be fired, you will not have bad luck for seven years, and also, you will not get sick or go hungry.

But those you pilot their course happen to agitate because of your lack of discipline and prudent, your love for intrigue and politics, your indifference to saving for the future, your stubborn attitude. If you love your country, let your regime make vast difference.

I believe that, incrementally, we will continue to integrate our economies – 10 years from now maybe 15 years from now we would look back and we are going to have a union in everything but name. Then the new big idea which will see Nigeria through would reach a level of economic and security status unmatched by any other country on earth. The good news is that the next big idea already exists is a presidency without grudge. Who is going to stop these people from completely selling out our country?

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1 comment

jun November 20, 2008 - 3:13 am

I’m from the Philippines and pretty much we have the same situation. I sometimes read Reuben Abati’s writing, and it mirrors my country. Many Filipinos are going abroad and sending money home to keep our economy afloat. We are continually fighting corruption and I just hope that someday my children see the dawn of a new era for better Philippines


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