What type of country do we live in? Different strokes for different folks they say. If not, how do we explain the fact that while we have millions of Nigeria living on below $1 a day we have citizens donating hundreds of millions to a ruling party that has done nothing to ease the burden on its citizens. Let’s not forget the Okereke –Onyuike/ Obama scandal that rocked the polity a few months back. A citizen holding a concert of some sorts to raise funds for a presidential candidate who did not seek her support and later went on to disown her. Why couldn’t fund raisers be held for the million and one people living in Ajegunle, Okokomaiko, Ota or the numerous orphanages in our vicinity who need this money?
Why is it that we on this side of the world are so stubborn? With his record setting rate of inflation, it is a mystery that President Robert Mugabe continues to rule. If it were in developed countries he either would have been voted out a long time ago or he would have resigned his post instead of sitting aloof like nothing has gone wrong. Talk about contrast, while the Jos Genocide was going on, the Indians had their own problems with the Mumbai terrorist attacks. The Indian Interior Minister resigned claiming moral responsibility. If someone had told me that the Plateau State Governor had resigned, the first thing I would have done was check my calendar to make sure it was not April 1st. What makes our situation more of a disgrace is that while we are being stubborn and refusing to move with the times other nations are? Ghana was able to conduct a free and fair election and will do the same when the run off holds on the 28th of December. In South Africa Jacob Zuma was able to depose his boss and party leader and ascend the Presidency. If that had been our beautiful country, only the gods know what would have happened. The recent Nuhu Ribadu witch hunt is just another of the numerous signs that for a country like ours to make Heaven we have to go through Hell.
Whilst some may argue that we are actually moving forward we have to stand ourselves next to other developed countries and spot the differences. In developed countries we have support being rendered to unemployed citizens. In developed countries we have functional and efficient rail systems where both the rich and poor co habit. In developed countries we have a situation where there is no bigmanism. Earlier this year David Cameron, the Tory leader (main opposition party in the United Kingdom) had his bicycle stolen while he was shopping at a Tesco store. In Nigeria, is it possible to catch Bisi Akande or Edwin Ume Ezeoke riding a bicycle? Can we catch them at the local supermarket? In developed countries cars are more of a burden than blessing, with the presence of effective transportation systems ,no one wants to stress themselves with unnecessary ‘wahala’ looking for parking spaces where there are not or paying exorbitant parking fees. In developed countries there are state of the art power facilities and little or no blackouts. In Lagos we face as much as 5 electricity blackouts in a day. At the end of the month, a bill is sent to you demanding an atrocious sum of money.
This takes me back to the question which shares the title of this article. Is it a country that makes our hearts bleed when we think about her? Is it one who makes us wants to go the extra mile? The following weeks will determine. While all this goes on we can only hope that things begin to look up in the New Year and great things would finally come to our country.
This post was actually written on the 12th of december 2008.