n civilized societies, people have willingly sacrificed their lives for freedom to right wrongs, but in our case, the average Nigerian is not willing to sacrifice a little comfort for the overall good. We are inherently wicked, selfish, self-centered and greedy.
Our leaders lack the moral fortitude to redirect our self-ambition to national patriotism. Deep rooted corruption is the hallmark of the kind of leadership we have at every level of governance. Little wonder the "do or die" stance of our politicians in mounting the seat of offices. Ours, unfortunately, is a failed State without question.
Where do we start turning things around, or, is the situation completely, hopelessly unrestorable? I have read and seen expressions such as "I still believe in Nigeria." No doubt many of us share the same sentiments but my fear is that we cannot sustain the sentiment much longer in vacuum.
What is missing is two-fold: First, leadership failure and secondly, lack of moral courage on the part of followers in demanding accountability of elected office holders. It is only when we begin to acknowledge and highlight areas of failure and actually begin to own up and take responsibility that healing can start.
Confession is always good for the soul and it brings about healing and reconciliation. But confession has to start from within the individual. A good way to start is through self-introspection. 'What role have I played and continue to play in the decadence of Nigeria as a society?' I will give you a minute to process that.
As you answer these rhetorical questions, you should begin to pen down some of the unacceptable conditions that plague our contemporary society. I will address mine under the categories of education, transportation, healthcare, and energy.
Those of us who were priviledged to have received our higher education in the seventies and eighties would agree that the status quo of our educational system as we have it today is totally unacceptable. The proliferation of mushroom private institutions set up as parallel systems to address the inadequacy or failure of government supported colleges should be seen as a mockery rather than anything to brag about. At best this is another inimical way of propagating mediocrity and producing self-serving billionaires.
Another parallel system prevalent is seconding our children to foreign institutions as nearby as Ghana and Dubai or as far away as UK and USA. In doing so, many family units have been disrupted, dissolved or disillusioned. The outcome in most cases has been counterproductive, propagating ignoramus rather than excellence.
Equally painful at the home front is the corruption and fraud that has riddled the entire system. A case in point is that of establishing a parallel system of admission into our universities over the JAMB. My understanding is that the post JAMB evaluation of candidates into the various institutions was created as a response to the loss of confidence in the veracity of the JAMB results because of the inherent fraud within the system. A better approach could have been the revamping of the existing system rather than promoting and encouraging multiple tiers of evaluation systems which end up multiplying corrupt practices, and passing on the tabs to the parents to pay for the multi layered systems.
The transportation system is another cardinal area of categorizing the developmental state of a sovereign nation. For civilized societies there is always a visible improvement in cardinal system of development such as transportation but not so in Nigeria. While the extremely rich with their ill-gotten wealth are gravitating toward Private Jets (PJs), the rest are left to scramble to get in motorcycles (okadas).
The roads and highways are unattended to and have been death traps to unwarrying travelers. The rail systems are either abandoned or operating in their archaic states. Even the few airports we have do not meet international standards by any means, not to talk of the safety of our air fields. The respective management bodies of these various transportation systems are practically nonexistent. How many more lives of innocent people going about their daily assignments are we going to lose to provoke an outrage to say, 'Enough Is Enough!'
In the ranking of health status among the nations of the world, Nigeria is well situated among the last ten. The irony of it all is that our legislatures and politicians are the most paid, dollar for dollar throughout the world. It is a known fact that 70% of our total national expenditure goes to servicing government workers while the total health allocation as percent of gross domestic product in recent years has been consistently less than 4%. It is not surprising that the expected lifespan of men in Nigeria is equal to or less than 47 years. This is nowhere to be compared to 83 years in the United States.
Instead of revamping the entire healthcare system, the prevalent trend is along the line of medical tourism which is heavily patronized by the high echelons of our government agencies and a handful rich people. I just read somewhere recently that one of the legislators in Rivers State died of complications of heart attack while being prepared to travel overseas for thorough medical care. Or how many times do we hear of our eminent personalities dying in foreign countries where they've been smuggled to receive medical care. And this is the story throughout our land. "Thorough medical Care" is being sought anywhere but Nigeria. What a Shame!
While we neglect improving our own healthcare system, Nigerian trained healthcare workers are helping to build excellent healthcare systems in their newly adopted nations where their expertise is being celebrated and reasonably remunerated. Another area little talked about is the personal failure of some of these emigrant healthcare workers who for myriad of reasons cannot assimilate into the work force in their new found land and forced to settle for just anything. While to Nigeria these people constitute part of the brain drain, in terms of their own personal accomplishment, it is nothing but brain waste!
What is most disturbing is that majority of our wealthy people and government leaders travel out and see how things are run in other places and yet are unwilling to invest any of their mostly ill-gotten wealth to improve the healthcare of their own people. We hear of people like Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey and Jimmy Carter to name just a few making impact in the area of health beyond the shores of their nation, USA and making a difference in faraway countries, including Nigeria.
When are we going to start empowering ourselves rather than waiting for handouts from our corrupt government officials? When are we going to start investing in primary healthcare projects across local governments, teaching our people simple safety and hygiene measures? When are we going to stop propagating the superstitions that no ill health and no death is ever a natural phenomenon or a consequence of our negligence and ignorance but always a culmination of diabolical hocus pocus? When is enough going to be enough?
Lastly, in the area of energy and power, I am at a loss for words. A nation that cannot supply adequate electricity for her people in contemporary society will remain in darkness for a long time and the ripple effect will reverberate throughout. Light is a singular agent of development and transformation. Can you ever think of anything that does not thrive on power? The problem of insecurity hinges on darkness and the situation can only dramatically improve by constant and unfailing supply of electric power.
Light indeed dispels darkness and exposes the work of evil. We see that in our own society, a counterfeit parallel system of importing generators and powering individual homes and businesses is barbaric and counter intuitive. It takes us back to the Stone Age. There are wide reports of unnecessary deaths secondary to carbon monoxide poisoning and electrocution. The statistics are yet to come in on the health repercussions of chronic exposure to fumes and pollutants being generated and the effect of bombardment with high decibel level of noise on hearing.
What exactly can be attributed to our elected government officials as something they excel in? When are we going to start demanding accountability from these folks? When is enough going to be enough? I go back to where I started fromů
We are all individually culpable for the rampant failure in our society and, to turn things around, all hands must be on deck. We have to start by introspection and a resolution not only to be self-accountable, but to be accountable for fellow citizens and to God. Our self-serving ambition will have to give way to looking out for the good of others and the society at large.
My 2 cents.