Nigeria, the Looted Nation
Nigeria, unlike the many other African nations, has not been lucky to have escaped biting flagellations, scathing criticism, well-intentioned satire, seasonal adoration and well-considered encomiums both from her own citizens and the citizens of the world. Among other brilliant minds, Gbemisola Adeoti metaphorised her as a giant whale that swallows the sinker with hook, line and bait. It seems evident that the fate of Nigeria is antithetical - those who admire her, also turn against her, making it a herculean task to determine whether she has got more allies than foes; more acolytes than persecutors; or more helpers than detractors. Altogether, she seems to be a mystery.
A lot of daunting predictions and heartbreaking prophecies; intuitions and submissions have been made about her. In 2006, to illustrate, the United State of America's Central Intelligence Agency predicted she would be no more by 2015. Was the CIA wrong? At least, with the benefit of hindsight, one cannot say absolutely that the USA's Central Intelligence Agency goofed because the spate of callous murdering, gutter politics, carefree looting, and religious divisions that did characterize the pre-2015 era were completely strange. Amazingly, she survived a wicked prediction, even though, her survival has been a mystery to both the predictor and the intended victims. Around 2010, a former Libya strongman, the late Muammar Gaddafi called for the splitting of the nation along religious lines in order to halt the bloodshed of the innocent Nigerians. Can we say he was wrong? Can we say he was a foe? Well, the dastard killing and sacking of lives and properties by the Islamic militants- Boko Haram- seem to lend credence to the unfortunate counsel given by the man called Gaddafi. In addition to this spite, a segment of her sons have protested for a secession, overtimes. Her youths seem to believe that truly, the land is a giant hawk as they queue horridly at the embassies to jet out of their looted nation.
But in October 1, 1960, when she marked her first independence anniversary, she adopted a lofty national anthem, whose lyrics were supplied by Lillian Williams. I have found some lines of the anthem both refreshingly breathtaking and genuinely inspiring. " ...in brotherhood we stand" and " ...to hand on to our children a banner without stain". Let's probe a bit into these lines. Are Nigerians brothers? Has the banner been passed over to the supposed children? Is the banner without a stain? After many years, we can say that the fathers have been the ones ruling since 1960. Despite their promise of handing down an immaculate banner, they have soiled it, ragged it, and tainted it with huge lootings and dastard corruption. Little wonder why our leaders have always been pointed at as the murderer of the fatherland and looter of the motherland. It is usually safe to spare literature with the details of the shameful lootings that we have witnessed so far, consequently, making us the ant of Africa.
Today, the looters of our nation have coined another nomenclature for pilfering and siphoning. They call it the national cake, therefore, expecting everyone to brutally fight for their own avaricious portion. No doubt, looters are ubiquitous in Nigeria, they seem to be everywhere. Recall, one of her leaders, though, a khaki man, who has continued to top the list of looters. Amazingly, since 1999, his lootings are still coming back home and may never stop. Less strangely, some people have expressed their views about the returned loots, which they believe will be re-looted. From looters to looters, they say. Well, considering the change mantra, which signals a new era of saints, do you think the Abacha's loots will be re-looted? Anyway, this is Nigeria, a blessed nation with stories of rapacious lootings. No doubt, she is a nation of mysteries, looted by her own sons and daughters. At this point, let's allow Birago Diop to write the conclusion of this piece: if we cry roughly of our torments, ever increasing from the start of things, what eyes will watch our large mouths...
Samuel Ogunnaike, wrote from Lagos