Monday, 30 April 2012

Thoughts on Nigeria..

Appearing below is an excerpt from an email that my friend sent to me recently. I share all of the views that he expressed and with his permission, I thought to share them here:

"Nigerians need a reality check.

On The Pakistani ambassador offered help from Pakistan to Nigeria to combat terrorism. The scorn Nigerians poured on the poor guy, saying Pakistan is synoymous with Terrorism. I was thinking, is this a case of the pot calling the kettle black, how sad.

The same criticisms Nigerians were levelling at Pakistan, is what other African countries could say about Nigeria. It seems every month at least one act of terrorism will occur.  When the Abdulmuttallab incident occured Nigerians were in  denial, saying it was a one-off. What a big lie that was, terrorism had been bubbling away unnoticed beforehand, that time it just went international.

It is evident President Jonathan has neither the means nor resolve and is surrounded by dimwits or people who are working against him. As a result Boko Haram have free rein to kill and maim whomever they want, whenever they want. There is no such thing as counter-intelligence or proactive measures (these words and their meanings are lost to security chiefs). No one is even calling for the dismissal of such ineffective personnel. The security forces only appear after the scene of the crime, to pick up the dead bodies [and beef up security after the event] and the minister of infomation issues some lacklustre speech about "combating terrorism". How lame!

It is quite apparent that some powerful political leaders in the north and foreign backers behind them are responsible for this. Yet the security apparatus can do nothing. Even when people get caught, they are released (intentionally), or forcibly sprung from jail, as has been seen in Gombe and Bauchi states.

I cannot see any bright future for Nigeria in the short or medium term. The glaring wrongs remain un-addressed. President Jonathan is talking about changing BRICS to BRINCS, and nonsense like that. The oil subsidy reform was 60% unsuccessful. Since then Jonathan has kept relatively quiet.

The BBC correpsondent, Mark Doyle has an interesting series on Nigeria.

(When will Nigerians let go of such dubious claims to global significance, by saying that they are Africa's "most populous nation", and are an "oil producer". When you have no tangible, genuinely self-made achievements you are forced to cling to straws. I don't hear China, boasting of being the most populous nation in the world. In fact they are working hard curb population growth. Yet Nigerians know better it seems...)

Somehow, it confirms my conclusions. Nigerians in pursuit of wealth are self-destructive. Any innovation or mechanism that is designed to enhance the quality of life, is abused and ends up making life worse for the people. This is a national trait, it is not dependent on ethnicity or religion, the majority of Nigerians have this world view. We see that there is no justice in Nigeria. Ibori was only jailed when he left Nigeria. When he was in Nigeria (the scene of the crime), he was carefree and happy. This shows how the British justice system has subverted that in Nigeria, and shown it to be ineffective and ridiculous.

People were shouting for democracy, when democracy finally came the elite hijacked it and are subsequently abusing it. Other developing nations were complaining about not receiving adequate monetary reward for their exports. Nigeria can never use that excuse, they have had more than enough  money from oil, and yet the result is a big disaster. No matter what opportunity is placed in the hands of Nigeria, they turn it into a disaster and start saying it's the "oil curse". Yet other countries with oil utilise it wisely and sensibly. 

The destruction being wrought in the Niger Delta by both the government and the locals is shocking. Yet no one gives a shit. That land that was so green and fertile, has now been turned into a wasteland. We know Nigeria has no green credentials, so there is no chance of it being restored. There are people who pay lip service to environmental restoration, but as we know, this is a ruse just to obtain more money and misappropriate it.

The fact that the locals aren't getting their fair share of oil revenues, does not justify allowing local gangs to devastate the land. The South South zone is/was the most fertile region in Nigeria. But as Africans we seem to be incapable of logically develop ourselves. We can only make a mess, and then send someone outside to ask for help. When eventually a poor response is received, this too is squandered/embezzled and we then find all sorts of silly reasons to account for our failure, rather than facing the truth by saying it is no one else's fault but our own.

You look at other nations, and you can see the managed approach adopted to oil exploitation, with Nigeria it is just one big mess that all sorts of scallywags are attempting to benefit from 'a lack of control, order and discipline'. With such devastated land the locals either have to live in that hell hole or move away. That is our fate it seems."

And to this I add:

Not many Nigerians are willing to accept the reality and face the truth. Many of us are in denial and are still dwelling in a make-believe, fantasy world. The actuality is that our opportunities for setting our country on the road towards achieving real development are finite, and only so much frittering away of those opportunities can we can get away with. There is only so much time available to us, and that time is fast running out.

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