LifeStyle Opinion

Nigeria has not failed. We Nigerians are the ones who have failed Nigeria

In the 1970s & 1980s, a politician, a military officer, a police officer, a pastor, a cleric, a school teacher, a university lecturer, a school administrator, a civil servant, a company worker, a corporate executive, a business man, a trader, an artisan, a professional – doctor, lawyer, engineer, accountant, etc, a parent, a student, a child, won’t ever dream of the kind of material acquisitions his counterpart has today nor get involved in the kind of destructive, inordinate greed of today and never lived above their means.

Nigeria has not failed. We Nigerians are the ones who have failed Nigeria with our insatiable greed and inordinate living above our means.

Nigeria is not a failed state. We Nigerians are the failed & broken human beings & our collective failure & brokenness is the disaster we see as our nation today.

Nigeria is 100 times more prosperous today than it was in the 70s, 80s & 90s. Life was harder in the 70s, 80s & 90 than they are today. Yet, we are crying of hunger & poverty today not because there is not enough but because we can’t seem to grab enough individually to satisfy our insatiable greed.

Our parents lived within their means. Many of us with our 7 – 10 siblings grew up in one room apartments divided by a curtain to separate the bed area our parents sleep. Some of us grew up in two room apartments with another extra bed in the sitting room. That’s the accommodation our parents means can afford & we were all happy inside them.

Only the children of top civil servants & corporate executives grew up in 2 or 3 bedroom flats that were the official residences of their parents & which they vacate on retirement. Our parents saved throughout their working life to build a bungalow in the village where they retire to after their working life.

But today, we scream Nigeria is finished because we can’t pay for the 3 bedroom posh apartment we took in Lekki that is well above our means; because a thieving civil servant has not completed his 7th two storey building due to the cost of building materials or can’t maintain the 5 houses he has abroad due to the exchange rate.

Our parents went to work on foot, in public transports, on bicycles, on motor bikes or hitched rides with neighbours — whichever their income could afford then. Only top big business men, civil/public servants & corporate executives go to work with cars which of course were official cars that belong to their establishments.

But today, we scream Nigeria is finished because we are yet to add to our bursting garages the 5th latest automobile or fill the tank of our 4th car that the house maid takes to the market.

In a whole compound of 12 families in the 80s, only one neighbour could have a television set. And all the other families enjoy their favourite programmes from it.

But today, one family has 2 – 3 TVs in one apartment, yet, they are not happy & are shouting Nigeria is finished because they can’t have another extra TV in the Kitchen.

Many of us in the 70s, 80s, & even 90s hawked Akamu, Akara & Bread every morning before we go to school & hawked ‘Ogazi eggs’, fufu, ice water, saccharine ice cream, garri, palm oil, kerosene, oranges, bananas & other fruits every afternoon after school to help our parents feed us & pay our one room rent.

But today, we shout Nigeria is finished because the price of Golden Morn, Indomie, Fresh Milk & Shoprite Buttered Bread for our spoilt brats we call children have gone up.

Many of us fetched firewood to prepare family meals, water for family use, goat weeds to feed our father’s goats before we go to school in the morning. Many of us trekked 5 kilometres to school on bare foot & 5 kms back every day. Many of us made brooms, baskets & other hand crafts to help our parents buy our school uniforms, school sandals & festive clothes.

All the money we were gifted by relations & family friends that visited or for running errands for neighbours were handed over to our mothers to add in buying us Christmas or Sallah clothes.

But today, we scream that Nigeria is finished, that Nigeria is a failed state because the price of cooking gas went up; because we can’t afford anymore the 2 million naira that is way above our means which we pay as school fees for our children or afford our usual yearly holiday trips this year for our kids or the whole family due to increase in the price of air tickets.

Our mothers in the 70s & 80s cut torn wrappers into nice pieces for them & their daughters menstrual use. After each menstrual circle, the pieces are washed with detergents & dettol, then preserved for another menstrual circle next month in a box filled with camphor.

But today, we shout Nigeria is finished because the price of sanitary pads have gone up a little.

It was normal in the 70s, 80s & 90s for a woman to take care of 6 children with the same set of napkins, safety pins, blankets & mackintosh which are washed & preserved in a box filled with camphor to await the arrival of the next child.

But today, we are pained, bitter & scream Nigeria is finished because the price of disposable diapers have gone up.

We can go on & on but for want of time & space.

Nigeria is not finished nor has she failed. We Nigerians are the finished & broken people who have failed our country with our insatiable greed, inordinate ambitions, unhealthy competitions that have forced us to live above our means & destroy the system in order to steal or be in control to be able to have access to the government or our organisations’ fund to fuel our greed.

There is enough for every Nigerian but not enough to satisfy our greed & unsustainable livings. Our vain cravings have condemned us to a country of angry, bitter & broken souls, spitting nothing but venom & foolishness at a system that is our creation & our mirror image.

Before next you talk about any leader or government that is enslaving you, first free your own mind from the enslavement of insatiable greed, unhealthy competition & living above your means which is destroying your life & the country.

Before next you talk about any tribe enslaving you, first free your own mind from superstitious ignorance, primitive sentiments, dubious contrived emotions, bigotry & ethnic chauvinism.

Before next you talk about any religion making efforts to enslave you, first cure & free your own mind from religious ignorance, fanaticism & intolerance.

As a youth, before next you talk about taking over the country, first cure yourself of unpreparedness & opportunism; first free your own mind from mental laziness, inertia, authoritative ignorance, doped contrived bitter emotions & oversized entitlement mentality. Nobody, no system, not life itself gifts anything to any human being simply because one is a youth. Our choices, efforts, & sustainable decisions determine where we end up.

*Nigeria is not finished, Nigeria ain’t a failure & need no fixing. We Nigerians are the actual failed, finished & broken people that need to fix our own lives, our livings & our choices*

By Michael Ogueke #MO

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