Many a time I sit and imagine how a country blessed extraordinarily like Nigeria can wallow and sink in poverty. Our ground is fertile for agriculture, oil, solid minerals, abundant gas, vibrant human resources, a fast growing economy and other great indices that can and is capable of taking us to the Promised Land, but the reality on ground does not give even the next ten generations to come any hope. Recently on television, there was a report of a six years old girl living in Abuja, few meters from Asokoro district, one of the most expensive settlement in the country, who ate raw potatoes as breakfast because her poor grandmother could not go out to get fire wood to cook the potatoes. This girl is also yet to see the four walls of a classroom, and we say things are improving for the better, I disagree. During elections, we see politicians who start with their vague promises, but can one blame them (the politicians), when the in thing was for the populace to sell their votes to the highest bidder. I however hail the Nigeria voting public as they were able to break the jinx during the last election to elect leaders and not rulers. (Or so it seemed at the time). When one critically examines the polity of the country, one can but see the damage corruption has done to the growth and development of our dear nation. Today, leaders execute projects that they will use to seek reelection; they inflate projects costs so they can fill their pockets and satisfy their greed. The education sector is nothing to write home about. There are no infrastructures adequate enough to train the number of students who gain admission into the nation’s ivory towers, lecturers prefer students who are willing to pay in cash and kind for grades rather than those who are willing to work hard for theirs. In these institutions, manpower is zero. How can a university have a ratio of 6 professors to 22 thousand students, when Harvard boasts of eleven thousand professors to eighteen thousand students? These are some of the reasons why employers prefer to give jobs to those who studied abroad as against those who schooled in the country. Manufacturers have started closing down their businesses because the cost of doing business in the country has gone up drastically with the added cost of diesel and maintenance. How can a country as blessed as ours generate a mere carrying capacity of 3,000 megawatts, when South Africa is heading to 50,000 mega watts, that’s a country whose population is up to half of ours? How can we aspire to be among the 20 most developed economies in the world when we cannot generate enough electricity for one full day? Can a country run on generator and expect to make progress? What hope is there for our children? Are we going to let them experience the adverse effects of bad, corrupt, self-centered and greedy leaders that the country have had to put up with over the years, or are we going to get up and do something to restore hope thereby saving the future of the country. Nigerians are resilient, hardworking, purpose driven and can and will do anything to survive. This is why former United Nations secretary general Koffi Annan was quoted as saying he would like to reside in Nigeria because its citizens can adjust to any situation and condition. I hail the Nigerian spirit, it keeps us going despite the daunting challenges, in the face of inadequate infrastructures, it citizens can keep a smiling face and hold on to faith, believing that in tomorrow lies hope, courage, fulfillment and much more. Nigeria will be great, this I know. It may not happen in our life time, but it will come. Let’s keep the Nigeria spirit alive, that NIGERIAN SPIRIT.
Osaro Abraham Agho