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Naija @ 50: Put 50 Red Pepper Into Their Eyes

By Prince Charles Dickson

Benjamin Disraeli once stood up in the British Parliament and declared: "Half of this room consists of IDIOTS". There was a protest from his colleagues who demanded a retraction. Disraeli obliged. Standing up again he said "half of this room is not made up of IDIOTS"

We are fifty, and so much to reflect and celebrate about. As much as I wanted to remain mute, I could not hold back. Why should I hold back, not after reading my friend Emmanuel lament in an essay titled "They are Submitting Forms while the Nation goes down". Indeed what more could true than that.

We do not have a nation, we do not have a government, what we have are group of resilient people living together and band of rascals and gangsters imposing themselves on us. We climb the tree like the bush man and watch and hope they go away, because they have used poverty to rob us off our pride, our strength and our ability to express ourselves, we are an annex of the republic.

Godfathers play with our destiny. The bunches of gorrillas do what they like with the monkeys and to rub salt on the injury, they eat their banana while the monkey remain in the tree watching. What can poor monkey do but swing from tree to tree watching for any leftover peel to eat.

The first lady imported rice from Brazil, and not from Abakaliki, the same first lady that has a luggage officer and travels with some 25 aides and friends on our money. At least beating Turai's record is a task that must be accomplished with relish.

Anyone who is not happy should jump down from the tree; a commentator and brother online noted "What is wrong in leaders sharing staple food like rice to her citizen? We should be commending the presidency for this act of magnanimity and not berating it. Our leadership is not exactly North Koreanic where the president eats all the good food, having all the wine and women to himself. The only bread toaster in Pyonyang belongs to Kim Il Jung's household!"

Everything is on the verge of collapse except politics, PR practitioners are making their budgets, musicians collecting their pay, at least at this rate, and we can maybe revive our textile industry with all the IBB, Goodluck Aso Ebi collections. Many persons have bought cars and bought lands from fast deals made during all these declarations and form submissions.

One of the candidates we hear paid some millions for wrap around adverts on national dailies. If it is not stolen money from the treasury by the incumbent, it is stolen money that was hidden and is now available for use by the contestant. The PDP is netting profit in billions from sells of forms to those that want to serve us 'selflessly'.

Three days and we have a nation with all kinds of forces, police, army, navy, airforce, mobile, custom, immigration, civil defence, prison, vigilante and all. Yet we could not find 15 kids kidnapped from one school in Nigeria's own Mexico...Aba. We are living in self denial that all is well when indeed the picture is bleak.

Why is it that no one up there really cares? Answer; they do not because, they are not affected. Its not their kids, so why should they bother.

Nigeria's Minister of State for Education, Barr. Kenneth Gbagi, just 'revealed' that uncertainties in the education system compelled him to send his daughter to a university in neighbouring West Africa country, Ghana for tertiary education. For me and many Nigerians we do not know what is revealing about it.

The WAEC and NECO exams are all there for anyone to see other than our so- called leaders. We find ourselves in a situation where we have continually been plagued by having to whisper to deaf leaders.

While trying to provide justifications for his action, he said despite being a Minister of Education in Nigeria other notable persons desirous of quality education for their children send them to Ghana and other foreign universities for schooling due to their managerial ability. There is nothing shameful about that, we long lost the ability to manage our educational system, and some of the persons responsible like the IBBs still want a second chance to perform the burial rites.

His words: “I was discussing with a friend recently and I told him I have a daughter who is studying medicine in Ghana, so when I was made minister of education I tried to pressure her to come back and school here, but she said if I come back to the country what guarantee do I have that I would graduate at the stipulated time."

There are no guarantees anymore in the Nigerian project except that like in the Roman Catholic parlance there is no room for divorce in this union at least yet.

With every sense of responsibility there is no remedy in sight and that is scary. Many new generation Nigerians today live the routine, private school for their kids from start to finish, private hospitals, private this and private that...they literally owe Nigeria nothing.

In the next few days, several billions would have officially been expended in the name of an owanbe party to celebrate celibacy...a nation that has at best remained a toddler, trying to grasp with the realities of time.

Indonesia has overtaken us, Ghana is racing past us, remaining Togo and Benin, now we go to China, and India to learn one thing or the other, asking for one help and another.

I just wonder what the problem is with us, at the last count, at the CAC there were over 4,600 registered and pending groups tied around Jonathan Goodluck presidency. That explains why we will largely remain where we are.

During Yar'adua we had a choice to ask was he healthy enough, we did not. We have a choice now to really checkmate the crooks seeking that same office, what are we doing, we are playing ostrich, we have opportunities to scrutinize Jonathan's handling of affairs in Bayelsa... we have an opportunity to ask how has he fared so far, read his lips, check his policies (if any), but instead we have commissioned Onyeka Onwenu and D Banj to sing Jona, Jona, Jona.

A nation with a short fuse memory, with Yar'adua gone, so also is the 7 point agenda, now it is an agenda-less government that says it is continuing in the steps of the late Yar'adua. No one is talking respect and rule of law, everything now is patience and waka they tell us be patient, dey argue about zoning rather than selfless public service and they tell us goodluck.

We don't even know where we will be when we are 100. A government that is largely overwhelmed by the task of handling citizenry, as a people we are not asking for government to provide wives and children for us, but even the task of providing good governance has been an uphill task.

A friend was stranded in Owerri...on the eve of independence...why? "We regret to inform you that our flight AL347 from Owerri to Abuja on the 1st of October has been cancelled due to federal government restriction of movement at the Abuja airport. We apologize...bla bla bla"

It's bad, but not as bad as Iraq, Afghanistan or Sudan, but are we going to wait till then. As we reflect on fifty years of a little something and plenty nothing...I dare propose lets blind these leaders with good old miango or the yoruba tatashe pepper...we should come down from the tree and face half the house of...

As this was just being put into public domain, there were bomb blasts few meters from the eagle square as celebrations were on-going. Things are bad, but acts of terror are not in any way the solution.