I usually don’t like commenting on things like this because i’m someone with almost zero sense of entitlement. I don’t believe anyone owes me anything, and that is why I’ve struggled all my life to create my own stuff. I don’t know how to hinge my fate on someone else, and i don’t complain for long. If i feel frustrated about something, i just do something about it and for good or ill, i would feel better because i took my fate in my own hands. They say posterity forgives the person who tries and fails, than the one who did nothing.
It is in that light i see the thousands of Nigerians in SA who have ‘vowed’ to remain in that country. Why would anyone want to remain in someone else’s country by all means? The reasons they adduced are quite interesting. Many are of the opinion that staying in SA where they at least get to survive and enjoy a better standard of living is better than coming to Nigeria where there is too much stress. As South Africa stretches its hands to collect money from our upper and middle class here through DTSV, SuperSport, MTN, Shoprite, Nigeria’s struggling lower class emptied into SA. The violence is usually in the poor areas where local – usually black – South Africans believe the Nigerians are taking their jobs or are generally too lousy not to know that you don’t go flaunting your ‘success’ in another man’s country. These native South Africans used to have problems with Zimbabweans and Malawians, but now, it’s almost fully a ‘Nigerians-must-go’ affair.
I was compelled to write this when over the weekend, i was at the studio of Arise TV for an interview on Business. When i arrived i saw a gentleman sprawled or slouched in a seat. Tall, but with seriously distended belly; he was suited up. He was later introduced as the SA Ambassador to Nigeria and went on set before me. I was aghast at the interview the guy (yes guy, i have no respect for him) gave. His demeanor was disgusting. In diplomatese, he basically okayed what his people were doing. He was black too. He offered no apologies. He didn’t even appeal to his people to be calm. He kept repeating how the Nigerians too had done some bad thing or the other; perhaps their drug-dealing, prostitution and so on. I wondered how that guy could become an ambassador to anywhere. He and the anchor almost insulted each other! I shook my head throughout the interview. When he passed by me on his way out, i didn’t even greet him. It was that bad. Charles Aniagolu, the anchor, referred to that interview in his review the day after.
To my shock, even as this is going on, SA authorities chose this time to deport 97 Nigerians. How’s that for bad timing. Meanwhile i’m not sure there’s a coherent response from the Nigerian end apart from some traders going to demonstrate in front of the Ambassador’s office and vandalizing MTN. Perhaps there is nothing for the government to say. Really there is nothing to say.
South Africans have progressively lost respect for Nigeria and Nigerians. In fact, the whole world loses respect for us everyday, to the extent that when they offend us they dont even believe they should say sorry. Progressively visas for Nigerians have become tougher in every country. For a Nigerian to get a Chinese visa today, the invitation letter from a company in China is not enough. That letter must be taken to the Police in China and reissued. It doesn’t matter who you are (except you hold a diplomatic passport). The process takes anything like 5 weeks. In spite of all this, Nigerians have not cured themselves from the spirit of perambulation. We are everywhere, poking our noses in other people’s countries and claiming human rights.
What the world is giving us is feedback! Fix your country and make the place better for yourselves! The world is having enough. Almost everyday Nigerians are being deported from everywhere. You’ll be shocked. Even Cameroon, Gabon, Libya, everywhere! Why have we become and embarrassment to the world? And those guys who do crime; how stupid can they be? If the white man hasn’t accosted you it’s because they are watching you. You can’t get away with these stupid little crimes in an age such as this. Your brain is smaller than a bird’s. You go to another man’s land where you stick out like a sore thumb and go to do crime? It just never works.
It’s about the urgency of now for Nigeria. Yet we are still faffing about, spending on nonsense, stealing our own money from ourselves. Some are still in government ensuring that majority of Nigerians never evolve from this primitive ways of life. Many are stealing monies they’ll never be able to spend. Even the citizens and those who lay claim to ‘exposure’, they have no idea what good governance should entail. Some are merely waiting for their own opportunities; to be appointed into political office so that they can loot. The level of mental and spiritual poverty is amazing. In 2017 we are still budgeting for absolute nonsense, spraying hard-earned money like confetti even in an economic recession. Many of our compatriots stand ready to defend any and every hopeless government policy for a mess of pottage.
The world powers on. Countries who are reasonable are forging ahead very rapidly. By the time we wake up, even our foreign-trained children would have been devalued. There will be little else for them to do but cleaning work while serious people from other places who are using their commonwealth to build their own people as we speak, naturally float to the top.
Take it from me, Nigeria is unarguably the most mismanaged country in the world. Much of that mismanagement happened in the past. A lot is still happening. 25,000 young Nigerians walked across the desert and sailed into Europe last year. Perhaps 5,000 perished in the sea. One may almost conclude that we haven’t quite completed our own evolution as full homo sapiens. It just boggles the mind.
Nigeria ought to be leading every black nation on earth. But we found our way into the bottom of the pack. Even countries like Somalia are doing better than us in provision of public health services. Where is the money – the one we made and the one we borrowed – we have wickedly stashed them in different safe ghettos around the country. We have used them to build personal mansions that we cannot live in. We have left Nigerians to the mercy of the elements. Mandela told us we were a big disappointment. Hear him (again);
“YOU know I am not very happy with Nigeria. I have made that very clear on many occasions. Yes, Nigeria stood by us more than any nation, but you let yourselves down, and Africa and the black race very badly. Your leaders have no respect for their people. They believe that their personal interests are the interests of the people. They take people’s resources and turn it into personal wealth. There is a level of poverty in Nigeria that should be unacceptable. I cannot understand why Nigerians are not more angry than they are. “What do young Nigerians think about your leaders and their country and Africa? Do you teach them history? Do you have lessons on how your past leaders stood by us and gave us large amounts of money? You know I hear from Angolans and Mozambicans and Zimbabweans how your people opened their hearts and their homes to them. I was in prison then, but we know how your leaders punished western companies who supported Apartheid. “What about the corruption and the crimes? Your elections are like wars. Now we hear that you cannot be president in Nigeria unless you are Muslim or Christian. Some people tell me your country may break up. Please don’t let it happen. “Let me tell you what I think you need to do. You should encourage leaders to emerge who will not confuse public office with sources of making personal wealth. Corrupt people do not make good leaders. Then you have to spend a lot of your resources for education. “Educate children of the poor, so that they can get out of poverty. Poverty does not breed confidence. Only confident people can bring changes. Poor, uneducated people can also bring change, but it will be hijacked by the educated and the wealthy…give young Nigerians good education. Teach them the value of hard work and sacrifice, and discourage them from crimes which are destroying your image as a good people.” (Excerpts taken from a 2007 interview with Mandela conducted by Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed)
It’s no wonder what his Zulu and Xosa brothers are doing to us.
There’s an urgency of now, beyond what is going on in SA. I don’t know how else to convince anyone. Wish we could wake up. But our personal compromises are holding us down. This non-aligned prophet has said his own