NIGERIA AT 52; ONE STEP FORWARD, MANY STEPS BACKWARD - SMART AJAJA.

Nigeria at 52 represents a conglomerate of wholesale failure in almost every aspect of human endeavour for the vast majority of its people, especially its teeming youth population whose collective future is at a great risk of being put in perpetual jeopardy. No one can argue this given the giant strides we have made, and are still making with great speed too, in the reverse gear.

Why should we be celebrating, when at 52, we are still dissipating lots of energy in endless debates about rotational presidency that  has produced the worst form of mediocrity? We continue to debate the sanity of those in authority in our nation when other nations are constantly in search of the most capable hands to drive leadership and their economies, in a highly competitive 21st century!

Why should we be celebrating when  access to clean, portable and drinkable water has become a fleeting illusion that can never be achieved?

What is there to celebrate in the face of an embarrassing and widespread youth unemployment which has exposed the country to monumental threats to national security with all the associated violent criminal activities? Sophisticated organised sectarian disturbances and ethnic rivalries are fast becoming uncontrollable as our antiquated security outfits and flawed intelligence gathering mechanisms are focused on looting the security votes! 

Why should we be celebrating when strategic roads and bridges, as important as the ones linking the Southwest to the South East, and the ageless Niger Bridge have been reduced to earth roads and relics of an arrested development of a once promising and progressive African giant. A nation with great potentials to match those of the United States of America, has become a major arteries or conduits used by construction companies and their accomplices in the political leadership of the Ministry of work to defraud the country of billions of dollars. Good road networks in the nation are a constant subject of campaign rhetoric by Presidential aspirants to win elections every four years.

There is nothing, absolutely nothing to celebrate in the energy sector. The power generating capacity has proved to be such an intractable problem for the "wise and the prudent", because it is a cash cow that those in charge have utilised to their full selfish advantage. What are we celebrating?

Nigeria’s inability to generate power is the singular killer punch that has kept the Nigerian economy on the canvass. It is sad that people are still paying a lip service to the revitalization of the energy sector because of their involvement in the importation of generators from China and India. These people are too bent and cannot see beyond personal economics. In the process, they expose the population and the environment to the irreversible consequences of pollution and environmental degradation. If we still don’t understand what a weapon of mass destruction is, this is one classical example, far worse than the use of Anthrax and other biological weapons in warfare. Any Government policy that doesn’t support life is a weapon of mass destruction.

Should we be celebrating the reward for corruption just as the president did recently, when he assembled a group of mostly corrupt politicians, economic saboteurs and fraudsters for national merit awards?

Fighting corruption and white collar crimes in high places with the EFCC reduced to a mere toothless bulldog and accomplice in committing fraud should surely call for celebration, or shouldn't it?
Is there anything to cheer about the educational sector that has been reduced to nothing but cash/sex for pass, producing mostly half baked or non–baked- at- all graduates?

Why should we be celebrating when our internationally recognized and respected national icons such as Wole Soyinka and others who should be put to champion the cause of Nigeria still live in foreign countries in defiance to a system run by eminently corrupt men and women? 

When we have leaders who say the citizens who hold them to account are their enemies, it is because they have no understanding of the basic tenets of democracy. You could not help, but wonder how they came about democratic power

The communication sector where we seem to have made progressed to an extent was initially mismanaged as attention was not given to the provision of land telephone which could have done individuals, businesses and the country’s economy a world of good especially in the area of secure data transfers. that too, has stalled as millions of Nigerians cry daily of poor, mediocre and sometimes, no services at all! Celebration? Naaaa! 

Should we be celebrating Nigeria’s stagnant economic foreign policy posture that has us, in recent times, cap-in-hand, begging manufacturing neo-imperialist economies like China, India and South Africa to come and invest in our economy? We continue to be consumers of their substandard goods without a commensurate capacity to manufacture and export to those same countries?

The federal structure of Nigeria in practice, is nothing but a consumer and parasitic federalism co-ordinated by one big Father Christmas at the center with the powers to control almost everything. This Father Christmas and his apostles, promote laziness in the states and local governments arising from the over-dependence on Oil revenue to the detriment of revenue firm agricultural produce that Nigeria was famous for. Who is still calling for celebration? Not I!

Nigeria has nothing to celebrate as it stands. We should mourn today and go back to the drawing board with the hope that we can create opportunities that are capable of positively transforming us for own good and for the good of Africa. The black race and our friends who have started showing signs of weariness from referring to us as a potentially great country over the last fifty two years of our journey to nowhere, need some meat on the bones we have tossed at them. Nigeria, it is time to be truly great

Nigeria is sitting on a big keg of gunpowder and if it explodes, there will be no hiding places for us all. However, I strongly believe that we can arrest the ongoing slide into anarchy and still prevent a full- fledged explosion, by bringing down the current structure. Only then, can we collectively build an almost new Nigeria on a solid but expandable foundation that would be capable of holding together, our diversities today and very deep into the future. Only then can we celebrate!

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