Nigeria@59: Celebrating what? If you like, call it a great illusion, dreamy affair or stubborn reality. Of course, I am referring to the promotion and branding of Nigeria as ‘the Giant of Africa’ at 59.
Nigeria@59: Celebrating what?
By Abdu Abdullahi
I can’t remember when this superlative and fantastic phrase came into being to popularize and modify my beloved country. ‘At what point did my country become the heavyweight of this continent?’ I often question myself. Are we mighty owing to our estimated population of 200 million people? Are we proud of our greatness in terms of being the largest deposit of crude oil in Africa? Are you boasting that we are the world’s fourth largest producer of the same oil and that is an end in itself? There are no objections to these basic facts.
But hard as they may be, the other fundamental truths are laid bare before us for reflections, evaluations and judgments. Don’t make fruitless efforts to refute them for, they are surrounding you and I in complete nakedness. Have we not been looking Giant in false attraction? Have we not been producing hopelessness for the vast majority despite our richness? We thank Allah for His miracle that the millions unemployed are managing to survive mysteriously. Will these promising, energetic, ambitious and resourceful Nigerians ever comprehend the meaning of Giant of Africa?
I would say it loudly again! ‘It is very frightening that the country I so much love is an assembly ground for notorious characters who defiantly and shamelessly retard our progress.’ But if you insist that we are this entirely great, you will end up being ridiculed because of the stealing contest of public treasury by some undesirable elements who view position as a source of amassing ill-gotten wealth. Remember, the paradoxical philosophy of ‘stealing is not corruption ’has its origin in Nigeria.
What are you saying? How many of us are ready to create wonderful minds that can uplift honesty, patriotism and selflessness to a giant level? Is it not easy to find fraudulent rulers than transparent leaders in Nigeria these days? Show me one dedicated leader, I will show you thousands selfish rulers! Believe you me, our Africanism is a big forgery because many of us take pride to disgrace, belittle and smear our national and continental image.
Are you the type who is fair and just no matter the consequences? I challenge you to produce authentic and adequate proof that Nigerians en-masse, love one another in compassionate terms. If you pretend that all is well with our national character and project, why then are we killing ourselves unjustly? Go to the social media forum and see the kind of animosity that will never make us giant at 59.
Do you think that most Africans are ignorant of the rise of ethnic nationalities that have questionable faith in Nigeria? IPOB, Niger Delta Militants, Afenifere are not strange to you. Are they? When we converge in Abuja to celebrate Nigeria’s birthday, we conceal our true colour and temporarily suspend our interior motives, acting as saints preaching love, peace and unity. Our hypocrisy is rest assured, designed and disseminated at our localities. It is now time for a different dialect strengthening hatred and suspicion by the same saintly elements.
This is Nigeria for you and I. At this juncture, who will dare me that we are not managing a complex crisis of confidence and disaffection? One peculiar way of celebrating our woes is how the innocent and weak are resigning to fate silently. Can you see how tremendous distress, pains and agonies are occupying their hearts, making it very heavy? By the way, have you heard the awful news that Nigeria is the fifth humanitarian crisis country in the world? This is unbelievable!
Keep this in your mind. Many Africans are not happy with us because Nigeria has shattered the collective hope of this black continent. Are they not conversant with our perpetual notoriety in highly rated crimes and indiscipline? When they despise us, we cry deep and foul. After all, it is not their making. They need not be intimated that our only house is in shambles. Recall that some Nigerians were fearless to a fault by informing us that the recent xenophobic attacks on our compatriots by South Africans were a kind of a clarion call to reflect on how we intentionally messed up our Naija and the South Africans were uncomfortable that we might transfer that mess to their land.
It is a prominent offence to forget that charity begins at home. Many of us are passive characters when our mighty house requires charitable fittings. Have we not largely abandoned Nigeria at the expense of selfish motivations and desires? How many of us are willing to offer enormous sacrifices to protect and enhance Nigeria’s aspirations? Simple patriotism we can’t display to especially our neighbouring Niger Republic which we consider as too nationally inferior. Yet, is it not very irony that the same Niger is a land of considerable discipline? It is absolutely easy to say that Nigeria is the Giant of Africa but we find it difficult to make it really giant. If you are not troubled by our lackadaisical disposition, I am afraid of the next generation declaring us guilty.
One of our bitter lessons all these 59 years is that there are those who are not ready to part ways with corruption despite its harmful effects on our perceived greatness. They have vowed to remain active in this immoral act till death parts way with them. Count me out of those voracious species that have little shame to make life continuously miserable for the masses. If they like, let them move the heaven and earth to persistently create and sustain hunger, starvation and squalor. Let them feel the highest comfort of life. They ought not to forget that the comfort they know is at the expense of others’ discomfort. What is certain is that the evils men do shall live after them.
It is no longer in our favour to keep arguing vainly that we are still that giant in African perspective. We must not shun the reality of the moment. Are we contextually mobilizing and impressing ourselves with this unsolicited flattering for diversionary tactics? Are you aware that this phraseology is absolutely archaic and no longer valid? Is it not appropriate time for you and I to disband this superiority syndrome to look inward and eradicate all the impediments to our development?
Is it going to be a hard deal that must be accomplished? How can we forget the narration of one of our good times in terms of greatness? Let us take a short glimpse below.
Once upon a time in Nigeria, there was a phenomenal period popularly known as the last 200 days of Murtala. If Nigeria was ever Giant of Africa, it was indeed, that epoch. Where those memorable days not horrific for the arrogant imperialists? Did Murtala’s intimidating and assertive voice of ‘Africa has come of age’ not to promote Nigeria’s and Africa’s grandeur?’ Was Murtala not the pioneer of the Ramatism movement which violently descended on those ruinous elements that would not allow Nigeria to grow big? Was he not the metaphor of our being Giant of Africa?
Nigerians and Africans unanimously applauded him for turning both Nigeria and Africa giant in every sense of the word except the treacherous Dimkas, Bisallahs, Yildas whose jealousy of his brilliant performance sent them crazy to spill his blood. During the same period under review, the late General Joseph Garba offered a bewildering presentation of Nigeria as the Giant of Africa. Hear him, ‘When Nigeria sneezes, Africa catches cold.’
The glorious past is gone and can hardly be resuscitated by ourselves. Nigeria has undergone an apocalyptic metamorphosis of the highest dimension over the years. When are we going to be liberated totally from the tyranny of the Boko Haram? When will the prevalent and wanton banditry be a thing of the past? When will Nigerians celebrate the collapse of kidnapping? When are we going to rejoice at the triumph of the masses from economic exploitation? What will be the fate of our nation which proposes that a secondary school dropout holding a political office should have a salary that is equal to the salaries of three university professors?
At 59, Nigeria is still searching for magnificence. Unless and until we develop great minds that prioritize Nigeria’s development needs, we should forget about becoming the Giant of Africa. Happy Birthday Nigeria!
Abdullahi is from Galadanci Quarters, Ringim