Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Is Nigeria a Failed State or A Failing State? (Part 3)

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While communicable and water-borne diseases remain a menace, there is hardly any urban or rural set up with potable water supply, thereby dashing the hope of eradication of these preventable diseases like diarrhea, enteric fever, dysentery, etc. People still drink from the same rivers and streams with cows and goats in some parts of the country when government could effortlessly provide them with pipe borne water.

Fake drugs litter the shelves of several pharmacy and patent medicine stores. The importation of fake and substandard drugs by some unscrupulous businessmen has put the lives of several Nigerians on the line. So many people have met their untimely deaths following the ingestion/injection of fake, injurious drugs. Some have even become paralyzed as a result. The high cost of living has made so many people depend on the sub-standard drugs imported from some Asian countries thereby jeopardizing their health.

Insecurity of lives and property is now the order of the day as Nigerians can hardly go to sleep with both eyes closed. The country’s just recovering from the era of militant assault when the Boko Haram insurgency started. Today, several people have been killed and many others maimed by this terrorist group operating in the name of religion. Churches are being burnt and bombed without provocation by these religious fanatics all in the name of Allah. The police, military, civil defense corps, etc. are obviously helpless in the midst of these spates of bombing and terrorism. The Boko Haram seems to expose the intelligence ineptitude of the security arms of government.

The judicial arm of government is also not helping matters as they are indirectly helping to frustrate the drive toward eradication of corruption in the country. Of the several cases arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), only an infinitesimal proportion has so far been convicted and punished in a manner satisfactory to the average masses. There has always been the excuse that there are no enough evidences to prosecute and convict the accused persons. The few ones convicted were made to pay fines reminiscent of being given a pat on the back for stealing. They pay meager fines and go back home to feed fat on their booties.

Sports (especially football) that has provided some consolation for the badly battered Nigerians in the midst of these colossal failures has recently become a source of disappointment and heartbreaks to so many sports lovers. Our football fortunes have nosedived to irredeemable level. For the first time in 27 years the Super Eagles failed to qualify for the Africa Nations’ Cup after they were eliminated by Guinea. The male U-21 team and the Super Falcons were both eliminated from the All Africa Games by the Ghanaian teams. The Super Falcons also got knocked out of the 2012 London Olympics by Cameroon. The last straw that broke the camel’s back came when our U-23 (Dream team 5) got eliminated from the 2012 London Olympics as well. The U-17 could also not qualify for the world cup in Mexico.

The question now is, is Nigeria a failed state or just a failing state? If it is yet to become a failed state, what should we do to redeem the fortunes of our darling state? Should we all watch helplessly while the country sinks into oblivion or should we do something to salvage the situation?

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Monday, December 26, 2011

Is Nigeria a Failed State or A Failing State? (Part 2)

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With all the oil wells and the abundant deposit of coal in the country Nigerians are still groping in darkness; power supply is erratic and epileptic. Many people die from fumes from the exhaust pipes of generating plants which are imported into the country in their millions, which has made her the highest importer of generating plants in the world. With over $20b sunk into the power sector, electricity still remains a mirage. While the world is running away from nuclear energy because of the associated dangers to health, it is now that Nigeria is considering building a nuclear energy plant to cater for the electricity needs of the masses. Our natural gas and coal are begging to be tapped.

The country has the 2nd highest deposit of Bitumen in the world (second only to Canada), yet her roads are death knells, infested with potholes, which has increased the incidence of road traffic accidents with thousands of innocent souls sent to their early graves daily. The annual budgets approved for the ministry of works and housing disappear into private pockets while the poor masses continue to be exposed to untimely death and have no where to rest their heads at the end of the day.

A country that is so blessed with vast arable lands imports rice, beans, peanuts, etc. to the tune of several billions of Naira instead of developing her agricultural sector to create jobs for her teeming graduates; she even imports sardine from Morocco and Tuna from Ghana despite the oceans and rivers that surround the country. The saddest part of it is that the country imports virtually everything from bicycle spokes to tooth picks, peanut burgers, cotton buds, sewing needles, biro, matches, photocopy papers, second hand cars, refrigerators, etc.

The abundant solid mineral resources that are evenly distributed across the 36 states of the federation are mined by a selected few and by those with political connection, with some of them already being depleted but officially this sector is yet to be tapped. For how long should the poor masses be deliberately fed with lies by those who govern them?

Hospitals merely exist by names but can hardly deliver quality health care because they are poorly equipped. Sadly, the country sends minor cases that should be handled here to Egypt, India, South Africa, Ghana, Israel, USA, etc. Today, the nation ranks amongst the countries with the highest maternal and infant morbity and mortality rates in the world. Nigeria recently became the second most HIV-infected country, only second to South Africa. Children die in their droves daily as a result of malaria, diarrhea and malnutrition while our politicians milk the national cow dry. What an irony!

Our colleges and universities churn out graduates who can hardly express themselves in simple Queen’s English let alone defend their degrees. ASUU hardly maintains a full academic section without the universities embarking on strikes. It now takes an average student an additional 2 to 3 years extra to graduate from the university due to incessant strike actions. Politicians deliberately crippled the educational sector to give their children unprecedented advantage over the children of the poor. Their children school abroad and come back home with bogus certificates and ‘Toronto’ degrees which eventually position them to become managers and directors of the few institutions and government establishments available. No wonder our institutions are failing by the day.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Is Nigeria a Failed State or A Failing State? (Part 1)

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The unhealthy political atmosphere and decaying infrastructure coupled with the slow technological and industrial growth in the country have left so many people with the question as to whether Nigeria is a failed state. Why should Nigerians be so pessimistic or hopeless about a country so blessed by God? Why should people live in misery and abject poverty in a country that is arguably among the most naturally endowed in the world? Are the average Nigerian citizenry unpatriotic and non-supportive of their country? I think not.

In a situation where one sees so much natural resources – Crude oil, flowing in the creeks of the Niger Delta, limestone, gemstones, bitumen, gold, bauxite, tin, coal, clay, kaolin, etc. distributed around one and yet there is hunger everywhere, and only politicians are growing fatter and walking around ostentatiously in their flowing regalia, how do you think they should feel, happy?

The reason for the pervading air of despondency and indifference spans from the fact that the lingering state of backwardness, social insecurity, poverty, hunger, preventable diseases, academic decline, political enmity and treasury looting have given the masses no hope about the future. It is on record that 45% of the masses live below poverty line.

Nigeria has earned several billions of dollars (over a trillion dollars actually) from crude oil since oil was discovered in the country in1957. But as the 6th highest producer of crude oil in the world, after 54 years of oil exploration the political leaders are yet to publicly account for the revenue derived from this precious ‘black gold’ which is supposed to be a blessing to the country: the country heavily depends on oil revenue which accounts for over 90% of national GDP to finance its budget while other sectors like agriculture, solid minerals, etc. have been grossly neglected, leaving a lot of the youths and graduates unemployed and roaming the streets.

Each government that comes into power seems to be bereft of concrete ideas as to how to move the nation forward. Log term planning does not exist in their dictionaries. All that comes to their minds is how to increase the pump price of petroleum products since it is the easiest way to make money without sweating. A lot of the oil revenue eventually ends up in the pockets of the few avaricious politicians and their cronies who believe they are doing Nigerians a favour by ruling them.

The current government is even considering total removal of petroleum subsidy at all cost. But nobody has told us what has always happened to the moneys derived from the increase in pump price by successive government. A few individuals are growing fat on the so called subsidy. They buy petrol at a much cheaper rate (subsidized rate) and divert them to neighbouring countries to make more gains why queues at filling stations continue to linger.

The country remains the only oil producing state in the world that imports refined petroleum despite the fact that it has 3 standard refineries that are supposed to take care of the local demand. The resurgent queues for fuel at filling stations remain an incurable malady. The billions of dollars purportedly spent on providing subsidy are enough to make our refineries functional and stop importation of refined products. But the will power to do that is just not there.

Apart from being blessed with crude oil, our natural gas reserve is enough to take care of the financial needs of some countries that do not has these endowments. But today what do we see? Our gases are flared with impunity by multi-national oil companies, with the dwellers in the Niger Delta suffering from one form of respiratory ailment or the other. Rain water is undrinkable because of its acidic nature due to uncontrolled gas flaring. Our creeks have been so polluted by oil spillages that the aquatic life is fast disappearing. Some of the fishes have actually undergone mutation and other aquatic organisms are mercury-laden, making them harmful for human consumption.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

David Cameron and Same-Sex Marriage in Nigeria

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David Cameron And Same-Sex Marriage in Nigeria

It was really surprising to hear the British Prime Minister David Cameron threatening that Britain would withdraw its aids to Nigeria should they go ahead to pass into law a bill forbidding same-sex marriage in the country.

What is not so clear here is why Britain is being so keen on ensuring that Gay marriage becomes a part of the African, nay, Nigerian tradition. One may also want to know why financial aids to the country should be withheld simply because the country is trying to maintain her cultural and religious values.

Does it mean that the financial aids provided to African continent are an indirect way of destroying the little that is left of her cultural heritage that has been tactically and systematically destroyed by the west? Or is it that Britain still believes in this 21st century that Africa cannot govern herself and should continue to depend on the west (especially Britain) to keep moving her around like a puppet or robot?

Do these people really realize the fact that Nigeria is a sovereign nation capable of taking care of herself? What actually is the standard for the world to follow, Britain, America, France, Russia or God? Should we become too tied to a country and her financial assistance as to forget and neglect God’s moral standards? Should we become Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19:4-11) because we are hungry?

Why do the advanced countries want to impose their own values on others (the emerging and underdeveloped countries) with all impunity without recourse to the fear of God? Is the British Prime Minister still living in the era of slave trade where his country came and destroyed our cultural values, carted away our artifacts and antiquities in order to enshrine their forceful and exploitative leadership?

We are tired of gifts that are provided to us by countries with ulterior motives. We are tired of behaving like Esau who sold his birth right for a plate of pottage. Whatever we know is good for us we shall follow it; we will not follow Britain like zombies.
We know what is best for us and no other country should make us go against God because they want to provide us with aids that have no eternal values. They should keep their aids for their citizens – they need them more than we do.

Our leaders should not lose sleep as a result of this threat. This might just be God’s time to liberate us from total dependence on the west for everything. If they don’t cut off their supplies we may never see the need to be truly independent and think of ways to develop ourselves further. God has provided us all we need to grow; all we need do is harness them and get the positive result that would put us on the road to technological and industrial development.

The Nigerian National Assembly has taken the right step in the right direction by outlawing same-sex marriage: they have also made it clear that the law is irrevocable. Anyone caught in the act risks 14 years imprisonment. It is the collective decision of our people. That’s what we believe in. Britain and the rest should also maintain what they believe in and stop pushing everyone around.