Nigeria: A Nation So Blessed, But So Cursed

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It is New Year again. As usual, many Christians went to Church on New Year Eve to receive prophesies for the incoming year about what it may bring. There were prophesies like “APC will face crisis”; “A new party will be formed by politician”; “A popular politician will signal his intention to run for the presidency in 2019” etcetera which drive many Nigerians to great excitement. Not all these “prophesy” are entirely negative or clownish as some of the above appear to be. Some prophesies deal with the future greatness of Nigeria and the fact that it will be blessed with good leaders. The excitements and the mad rush to hear these statements show how religious many people are!

While it is not entirely bad to believe these prophesies, we must understand that, as a nation, God has blessed us so much that we can’t ask for more blessings. He has done His part; we only need to do ours. “Over Religiousness” or “Over Prayers” seen in many Nigerians today will not force His Hands to do our biddings. We must do our parts too.

Though, I enjoy reading the English novelist, Eric Arthur Blair (popularly known as George Orwell), I have never been a fan of English novels partly because of their over glorification of English culture or because of the boredom they bring to me then as a student of Literature-in-English. The only novel I still read apart from those of George Orwell, is Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe.

Reading the novel, for perhaps the eight time, some days ago still struck me much about Nigeria and its abundant natural resources. I asked myself how a nation can be so blessed and yet appear so cursed at the same time. Are people poor because of lack of resources? If we had these much resources in abundance, why is there so much poverty, disease and hunger in the land? A Columbia University economist, conducting a research in Latin America in the 1950s, gave a strange answer (in paraphrase): people are not poor because of lack of resources, they are poor because they are ignorant of the abundance that surrounds them!

For those who haven’t read Robinson Crusoe, it is the story of an adventure undertaken by a young man whose father wanted to become a lawyer and manage his estate but chose to travel abroad by sea. His father warned him against such, ‘At sea you will only find trouble and unhappiness.” And in truth, when he sailed with his two friends, what happenedwere what his father had said.

On one of his sails to Guinea “tocollect Africans to work” as slaves on their farms, they suffered a shipwreck leaving his two friends dead and Crusoe barely escaping with his life to spend over 28 years on a strange island.

On the island, his constant companions were his Bible, a dog, two cats, his flock and all that nature could provide for human survival. Though the island contained all that he needed to survive, Crusoe must go out to hunt for animals, else he will go hungry.

Like Crusoe’s island, God has blessed Nigeria with all it needed to achieve self-sufficiency and become one of world’s greatest powers. But unlike Crusoe, Nigeria and Nigerians expect God to, after doing so much, come and help us refine our oil; transform our cassava to garri; produce petrol from petroleum; and in some cases we pray to God to come and help us clean our dirty rooms!

Though Crusoe believed in God’s protection, he knew he can’t be the only one on the island. He never parted with his tools and ammunitions at any time else he became the victim when attacked by beasts or man eating savages. He probably understood the Arabian proverb “Trust in God, but tie your camel.” Nigeria is a sovereign state, we need a good security apparatus to conquer internal and external attacks. God Himself is known as “The Lord of the Hosts.” Prayers alone will not defeat Boko Haram; looting monies meant for arms to fight Boko Haram is not only a sin against man, but also against God!

Crusoe knows that God has supplied his needs according to His riches in glory on the island, he knows he has to save for the future. He understood the fact that his gunpowder (a key resource) will sooner or later run out. He started rearing goats “for meat and milk.” It is never God’s fault that we refused to save for the rainy day while we made huge sums from oil boom. It is not God’s fault that we loot the monies meant for repairs of our refineries. It is not God’s fault that we didn’t explore other resources that nature has provided for us through diversification. God has supplied our needs according to His riches in glory truly, but there is a part we also must play in accessing these riches!

As a nation that knows God so much that we sometimes even kill for Him or on His behalf (as though God is an infant that cannot avenge Himself), we must realize that He has done so much for us and there is no reason why we should cry or suffer. If the nation is poor, it is because we have refused to see the abundance He has deposited in our nation (like Crusoe’s island) as a result of our collective blindness. This won’t change by being just religious!

OlalekanWaheed ADIGUN is a political analyst and independent political strategist for wide range of individuals, organisations and campaigns. He is based in Lagos, Nigeria. His write-ups can be viewed on his website Tel: +2348136502040, +2347081901080

Email: [email protected], [email protected]

Follow me on Twitter @adgorwell

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Articles by Akogun Olalekan