BY; BALA B. B
From the start, let me confess that I have been a great optimist about Nigeria, it’s prospects as a land of opportunities, a blessed land with blessed people. Indeed, Nigeria is the land of my birth, my fatherland; the only place that is my beloved country.
Nigeria my country. A land of plenty resources, one with a good measure of human capital, litany and array of exquisite natural resource endowment in both fauna and flora, good water bodies, forest and bushland.
Nigeria, a land of several diversities, of beautiful creations, men and women, of admixture of colours and candor.
However, my optimism is fast and speedily giving way to something else. My faith in Nigeria is inching into doldrum. A waning zeal and with a dying spirit about Nigeria. My euphemism is being weaned, a slide from bad to worse.
Unlike our narratives years ago, Nigeria today is faced with the stark reality of a failed state; No thanks to concomitants of factors; bad followers and bad leaders, failed institutions, failed infrastructure due to system failure by failed leaders, watched by docile and failed followers.
Ours has been a worsening case of wrong mentality which has led us to wrong reality. We are where we are today because we didn’t get it right at the start of our nationhood.
We have had wrong mind construct and wrong mindsets in all of us and by all of us; leaders and the led which has brought us to this stage.
My optimism has thinned over time. My zealous hope for a better Nigeria, I have seen it flaked and wrinkled into smouldering vapour.
For over half a century, I am living daily to see today in nostalgia of yesterday. Sure, yesterday was better than today and our overmorrow appears even bleaker if things go on this same way.
Our physical institutions have continued to shrink. Our capacities have been withering and the future is uncertain as men and women, citizens grow in dissolution and affectionless.
In sixty years, we have largely increased in size not in might and abilities. We have grown in pains over time and still struggling with processes of growth.
Collective existence and harmony is threatened by recurring social tiffs, religious bigotry, ethnicity, pseudo nationalism and regionalism credos.
In sixty years, our unity ideology is being questioned and our strength in diversity is fragmenting with threats, agitations, clamour and calls for cessation of Nigeria, break away, self determination, separation, ‘let my people go’, ethnic spurs by tribal champions even as religious bigotry and primordial nationalism are on the rise.
Rather than scaling up as I grow, my optimism is perennially taking a downward flights. My optimism is turned into pessimism. My strength is checked by institutionalized inequality, nepotism and corruption which has been growing by the day as against claims of fighting it by those in leadership and the unwillingness of the followers to support the crusade against the malady.
Sense of belongingness amongst many a citizens is no longer common. Citizens’ pride is misplaced by citizens’ pains and despondencies as faith in our country smoulders away like a dying charcoal.
Hunger, lack and malnutrition spreads everyday and every second. Poverty index is well etched across households.
The colours of poverty, the power of hunger and the fangs of death are manifest on millions of starving mouths as mortalities and morbidities grow daily from natural but avoidable causes.
Added to these woes is the heightening insecurity to human lives and property. Life is now turned brutish. Insecurity is now a recurring decimals in communities, towns and cities.
In my country, Nigeria, we have graduated and moved from petty crime, theft, burglary and armed robbery to heinous organized criminalities.
Things have got further worst with insurgency, terrorism, kidnapping for ransom, a reign of terror and mayhem by burgeoning cult groups, blood letting by farmers and herders clashes, armed banditry and increasing insurrections in the land.
The sanctity of life has little or no meaning even to powers and authorities in government on whose shoulders lies such prerogatives to protect, secure and defend all citizens and their belongings.
Killers are on the rampage, killing is on the rise as victims spread from place to place; corners and crannies. It is sorrow, tears and blood everywhere now in my country.
There is pain and anguish in the land. Our confraternity has since been desecrated. Strange forces are swallowing up the land gradually but steadily.
Today, there is grave fears amongst citizens about where we are headed to. Everyday and everywhere, there is a dirge by so many people.
With no job security, no food security, no social security nor personal security, the mass of the citizens are at the mercies of criminal elements.
Gun running is a vogue. Suicide is becoming an escape valve for many. Small and light weapons are being traded like pieces of bean cakes. Nigeria today is at critical stage, worst than it was at independence in 1960.
Graver are our pains today than they had been two, three four decades after our political independence. It needs no amplifying, Nigerians are in pains, Nigeria is in trouble! Our economy has continued to falter, wobble and without real strength of empowerment. Naira, the national currency is daily getting weaker and inconsequential in the face of other medium of exchange in global markets.
Here in year 2020, sixty years into independence, our teething problems have either increased or our teeth are already decaying. Ours is a bad case going worse.
There is so much to be done, so little done with so many things left undone. Nigeria my dear, beloved country!
As the days edge into October 1st, Nigeria’s independence day, my fear and apprehension about my country today and tomorrow have remained near incurable.
My fading optimism is my greatest fear. My worries everyday are inching deeply into my faith on my country. Where would we stand in the comity of nations in a decade to come?
Should I and the rest of us sing “Nigeria we hail thee” or sing “arise oh compatriots” in the face of a gloomy future?
What hope is there for today’s children, and the children yet unborn since today and now has been harder than yesterday and the years gone by.