A few years ago, I gave up on Nigeria. But before you judge me, let me explain why.
The Back Story
During the Yar ‘Adua administration, I travelled out of the country, as a fuel shortage began. By the time I returned, the scarcity was still on. I remember many travelled to villages for the holidays and couldn’t afford the return trip to the city. They were stranded.
I thought to myself, “How could a stand-off with fuel marketers have been allowed during a joyful season, without empathetic statements from the government? Why was fuel scarcity in Nigeria recurrent? How come there was so much unpredictability in this country? And why do many things literally happen overnight?
Fast forward to a few years later and my parents died because of the deplorable medical facilities that we call hospitals. Since then, something in me has broken that has never been put back together.
In summary, I gave up on Nigeria for the specific reasons presented below.
1. I’ve been involved in politics since I was 18. I have been a member of a political party. I have mobilized, written policy and raised funds. Yet, I lack the mass following and obscene funds to have a seat at the political table. To change Nigeria, you need power and I have none.
2. I can’t determine when Nigeria will change. The timeframe is in somebody else’s hands. It’s left to wishes, hope and prayer. So, my life will keep wasting in 4-year increments, based on political cycles.
3. Our leaders no longer have any fear of God or shame. For a long time, tradition prevented them from brazen evil. They coded it. But something shifted. Religion became demystified once some spiritual leaders were exposed to be just as corrupt and financially motivated as politicians. Shame was tossed when people realized you could be a drug pusher and still be governor.
There is no real consequence for bad behaviour in this country, as long as you have sufficient power and money. Our leaders commit evil with their chests. #EndSars is but one example. The blatant disregard for Federal Character, rule of law, as well as the open theft of anti-terrorism funds are others. In Nigeria today, you can be killed by a stray bullet or an ill-equipped hospital and nothing will happen. No one really cares anymore.
4. Hard work now seems to be the preserve of the weak and stupid. Fantastic ideas are buried under bureaucracy and sheer envy. The best brains are left to rot and atrophy.
I gave up on Nigeria because Nigeria was actively trying to kill me, physically and mentally. It was stifling my business with punitive regulation and an educational system that produced sub-standard staff. It was not commensurately rewarding my brilliance and excellence.
I began to associate “Nigeria” with the leaders of Nigeria. They determine our collective destinies and until the people rise up, they will keep charting our course. The people will continue to bear the brunt of our leaders’ actions & inactions. And anyway, it seems the only way to be truly heard in Nigeria, is to threaten violence. Boko Haram did it, Niger Delta Militants did it. Fulani Herdsmen, IPOB, Igboho…It’s a formula.
I Still Cling to Hope
Lately, I’ve begun to separate Nigeria’s leaders from the people. It’s the only way I can forgive this nation and try to help her progress. I accept it’s okay to give up on my leaders, but still have faith in Nigerians.
So, I’ve begun to focus on humanity. I ask myself, “Have I done enough for my family, my neighbours or customers?”
Maybe one day, I will build enough followership and money to change things politically. But for now, I’m simply trying to stop myself from despising the country of my birth.
For more, read Message to Youth Leaders.Nigeria's leaders determine the collective destinies of the people and until we, the people rise up, they will keep charting our course. Click To Tweet