Living But Dead — The Story Of A Country

This article explains the reality of things in Nigeria. It begins with an analogy and from there delves into many issues that bother Nigeria as a country. It equally offers some suggestions at the end

Have you ever thought about dying? The mere thought of death causes fear, uncertainty, confusion, and deep worry. In a normal situation, nobody will rationally desire death. Those who are protracted with serious illnesses are always engrossed with deep anxiety at the thought of dying. Hence, it becomes very tragic to know that one is approaching death. No wonder it is made a mystery. No one knows when it will come; less we all die before our death.

Similarly, have you ever experienced the sight of a dead and decaying body? The sight of a dead animal can be very disgusting. It creates fear, uneasiness, and discomfort. A dead and decaying body usually produces a foul smell; hence nobody wants to have anything around such a reality. That is the imagery of our country Nigeria; Living yet dead; it oozes out the foul smell of insecurity, inhuman treatment, wickedness, bad governance, unemployment, corruption, irresponsible citizenry, and the litany of woes continues. A country swelled with malice, from which gushes forth the maggots of anger, ethnic discords, religious violence, and the likes. The tragedy is this; unlike in normal situations where people are worried about death, in Nigeria, many of those who ought to be bothered-our leaders- are not bothered. The exit of many from the country is an obvious reality that no one wants to be associated with this filth.

Many of us who live in Nigeria know the state of the country. The reality around us is rather pathetic. Many things are going very wrong, yet we have failed to see or see and are not concerned about the state of all the ills that surround us. Life daily is made difficult; many live in perpetual anxiety because things are not going as they ought to be. Our economy is not just stagnated but retrogressive in motion. The rich live in affluence even to the sky while the poor wallow in the deep sea of poverty. Our roads are bad; people are dying, and schools are closed. Education which is the bedrock of any durable and sustainable development, is relegated. While other nations were making efforts to see how best they could recover their educational sector from the shock and disorder brought about by Covid-19, Nigerian students then stayed home for over three months after the long Covid19 lockdown. A strike that lasted for over nine months was not a thing of concern for our leaders. Is this country not a failure? Unfortunately, the Nigerian government and ASUU are still tossing around the hope and future of Nigerian students. Students who ordinarily should be in school are at home, sometimes doing nothing but being tempted with crimes of all magnitude. Our leaders have successfully helped the young people in our country to affirm and confirm the common statement “school na scam.” Indeed ‘school na scam.’ Otherwise, our leaders would have been serious about it. 

 Is this country not a failure? Are we not dead already? Is our situation not terrible enough that we should begin to sing dirge? Do we have any reason to be happy? Can we still say we are a sovereign nation when our economy is sustained by borrowed wealth, yet we have more than enough resources? Can a country that cannot feed its population be said to be sovereign? Are we not worse than death? 

 Yet, it becomes more tragic that we are blinded from seeing all our woes. We are blindfolded by our greed, selfishness, favoritism, nepotism, ethnic ‘affiliations,’ and many other apathetic attitudes. We live under the dark cloud of sectionalism; hence, anything for the general good is not a priority. The only thing that counts is that which is selfish and self-aggrandizing. Whatever is for me or whoever is for me, no matter how bad that person is, is good enough to lead. This is the sad reality of our country. Our land has become the land of darkness where the sun rises on hopes lost, dreams aborted, opportunities wasted, and enthusiasm yielding nothing, and sets on hearts heavy with grief, malice, hatred (both for self and others), anger, and disappointments.

Ours is a democracy that is authoritarian. A leadership that is sterile, incapable of producing anything. Our government is the very cause of our problems instead of being the solution. We have every reason to blame our government for the quagmire we find ourselves in, for it celebrates and rewards evils yet is incapable of appreciating what is good. A juxtaposition of the reaction of the government to the issues of insecurity in the country and then the #ENDSARS protest of 2020 leaves us with no doubt about the priority of our government and the veracity of my claims. Their motion is oscillatory, leading to nowhere. A pendulum motion moving forward and background without any progress. We have a government that cannot protect its citizens yet possesses that with which it can destroy them. Thus, we have an illegitimate and irresponsible government. We need to mourn the state of our being, for it is indeed a tragedy.

Interestingly, what amazes me most is the very fact that churches and mosques continue to increase in our country. Ordinary one will think this should be a fortune because almost all Nigerians go to church or mosque. Ironically, the more these structures proliferate, the eviler the country seems to become. Our place of worship does not occupy us; rather, they occupy space, for even with their presence, our lives are no better. As I have said in my previous writings, the fundamental problem is not with the religions; rather, it is with our approach to religion. It is just like going to school; students taught by the same teacher may come out with varying grades; while others pass with distinctions, others fail woefully. This is the case with Nigeria. While religion and other western practices have been instrumental to the growth of other nations, ours has become the very reason why we are where we today, a nation living in an illusion. 

This is a country where everyone, except a few, is willing to live. A country where the axiom, ‘home sweet home is not applicable, for it is never a sweet experience being in such a home. Intrepidity is rewarded with ruin, while cowardice is rewarded with a heroic title. A country where there is a celebration of evil but abhorrence of goodness. A country where bandits are blessed with rehabilitation. Bishop KUKAH, in his Easter Message right, captured; " It speaks volumes when the President and his military hierarchy choose to believe these young men who took up arms and for years waged war against their country, killed, maimed and wasted thousands of lives, destroyed entire communities and now, they are being housed, fed, clothed with public funds." On the contrary, their grieving victims are punished with the humiliation of being left in refugee camps with little or no support from the government. The only thing they can claim from the country is the title 'IDPs.' In kukah's words, "Where is the justice for the victims...?* Ours still is the country where rights are denied, and responsibilities absconded. What a country! Living but dead!

Nevertheless, in as much as we have the right to blame, condemn and criticize our government, we all have our share of the blame. In one way or the other, we are contributors to the litany of our tragedies. We are part of what is killing us. We are part of the genocide, for we also take part in killing ourselves. In one way or the other, we have failed in our civic responsibilities towards ourselves and our country. What do we do with our various little capacities when we are given little responsibilities in our various little capacities? When we have resources placed under our care, how do we manage them? 

Nevertheless, do we sit, fold our hands and see ourselves completely overtaken by these litanies of woe? Never! That will be cowardice. Is there hope, one may ask? 

Indeed, there is always hope. As a Christian, I strongly believe in God and believe that there is hope. Just as a sick man who, at the point of death, prays and hopes that a miracle will happen that he may live, so also we must be optimistic. We must fight to live. We must be conscious of the fact that we are dying, hence, be moved to make every possible effort to live. It is not just about praying and hoping; it begins with doing and working. It begins first, not with the other person, but with you and me. We necessarily need to begin with ourselves. If each person carries in his or her heart the aspirations of all the good of the whole, then we will all be moving in the direction of resuscitating our dying country Nigeria. Our thoughts must be that of unification. A true, sincere, and genuine unity, devoid of pretense and falsehood. In as much as we are unique -which is itself a blessing- we must begin to make efforts to value our oneness. We must begin to see Nigeria as our own such that all our efforts will be geared towards the common good, not individual benefits. We must continue to challenge our leaders with intrepidity. 

Another opportunity is almost at hand; I mean the 2023 general elections. Every general election is like a double-edged sword. It offers two chances; the chance to make a positive change or return to yesterday's folly. The ball is actually in our court; we have all it takes to either make Nigeria better or worse. Based on my judgment, the forthcoming general election offers us at least 60% of the positive change we desire; it is all about making the right choice. It begins today; get your PVC now, and get ready to vote later. Nobody should intimidate you or compel you to vote for the incompetent. In the final analysis, Nigeria is the only home we have; we are responsible for protecting it from total doom. Only when we begin to treasure our home and see the need to preserve it can we be able to resuscitate our dying country.

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