Monday, July 15, 2013
Nigeria, the dreamkiller
I believe in dreams in that I see them as a way of motivating myself to go the extra mile in order to bring them to fruition. They help steer one away from stagnancy. I have had many dreams, some of which have come true and others which I’m still working to bring to life. One of my dreams was to be the President of Nigeria. I am generally a passionate person on so many things (Nigeria, Kanye West, the Media and Arsenal being the most prominent).
This ambition was borne out of a desire and passion to oversee change that would take Nigeria closer to the standard our forefathers advocated. I didn't want to get into government and rob the treasury as one of the dreams I have been empowered with by Mr. Idowu is that a good name is the greatest thing a man can have. I wanted my likeness to be on a Naira bill long after I have died, with my grandchildren beaming with joy and pride as they discussed me and the positive policies I had brought about in their Social Studies and History classes.
In 2011 during the last Presidential elections, I wrote a long essay with the mindset that I was running for that election and detailing how I would go about addressing what I saw as the main issues. I used to talk about this a lot. I like to think of myself as a political nerd who would have channeled attributes from people I look up to like Bill Clinton, John F Kennedy Jr, Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama in taking Nigeria forward.
I don't want to be President again. I'm not even sure if I want to live in Nigeria anytime soon. This has been the subject of a number of conversations I have had with people over the last 12 months. Nigeria keeps letting me down. It's like the girlfriend who cheats on you and belittles you in public, comes to her senses promising to change and professing her love for you, whom you then take back only to find yourself back at square one in no time. Nigeria constantly disappoints me.
Like many others, I observed ashamedly the happenings at the Rivers State House of Assembly. It's nothing new, it's not like we haven't seen this already and that is disheartening. It’s just another episode to add to the YouTube catalogue of ‘Nigerian Politicians Fighting’. That episode encapsulates why I have fallen out of love with the Nigerian state. The government has constantly failed us and I don't see that ending anytime soon. In the same week, Boko Haram the extremist group attacked the dormitory of a secondary school killing 46. The government has not taken any sensible steps in tackling them and this has led to the exacerbation of the problem. I have a younger brother in secondary school, that could have been him and his classmates and that frightens me. We have problems conducting credible elections so we are constantly governed by lawmakers who seem to see being lawbreakers as some part of the job description. As a result of the long years of poor governance and accountability, we find ourselves in a situation where we tend to reward mediocrity and overpraise for the one eyed man is king in the land of the blind. We hail forward thinking governors like Babatunde Fashola for doing what is nothing particularly special in a sensible society. He’s fulfilling the basic expectation one is bound to expect from any self-respecting politician fully cognizant of his position as a representative of the people.
My country has a terrible fertility rate for breeding ideologues and visionaries. And even the few it does, it constantly finds ways of discrediting. Dora Akunyili starred as Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug and Control waging wars against counterfeit drugs and unsafe food. When President Yar'Adua found his way to Aso Rock, he appointed her as his Minister of Information and Communications as opposed to the Health portfolio that would have surely been better suited to her qualifications. Talk about square pegs in round holes.
Over the years, I have started to question the plausibility of my ambitions and my mindset has changed. I don't want to be part of an institution that rewards criminals like Asari Dokubo (According to the Wall Street Journal, he is paid $9million a year by the government). I want no part of a state that sees the presidential pardon mechanism as a way of appeasing political godfathers. This nation who deprived my beloved cousins of their grandparents has not proven itself worthy. The shame is that by discouraging those with the right mindset, the spiral of under development does not look like ending anytime soon.
My name is Oluwamayowa Idowu and I hereby register my displeasure with the profile the Nigerian government is creating for the Nigerian. No state should have the right to kill its citizens' dreams to make the country better. Indeed it is unforgivable.