For Nigeria, it is bleak but...

By Prince Charles Dickson PhD

A waiting line in front of a closed store.

Mohamed arrives, sees the line and doubles everyone.

No chance, the first one who was in the line slaps him.

The others, seeing that the guy does not defend himself, jump all over him and he finds himself again at the end of the line.

He decides to retry, and again he gets ejected.

He decides to return a third time... with the same result.

In the end, displeased, he looks at everyone and says:

— Too bad, I will not open the store today!

Once upon a time in faraway land, there was a little boy who was taken away to the master painter of that time in the whole land.. The painter was the best there was. And over the years this lad started to learn, honing his skills while developing, not long he was drawing amazing and spectacular paintings.

And one day the master called him and said young man I have finished teaching you all that I know and possibly can. It’s time for you to go into the real world. The lad with a puzzled look, asked “but how do I know if I am that good.

So, he told the young lad to get a canvas and paint his most spectacular masterpiece, give it his best and bring it to him. The lad after many days, loads of effort, he came with a beautiful painting or immerse quality and gave it to his master. His master asked him to get an aisle and put his painting on display at the entrance of the marketplace, but he should equally take a paint brush, black paint and a cardboard box where he would write certain key instructions. The boy did just that, took it to the market and set up everything and put up the beautiful painting for everyone to see. And he wrote on the cardboard as instructed by his master “if you see anything wrong or if you dislike any part of this work of art put a black dot on it.”

At the end of the day the young apprentice went back to the market, and to his shock and dismay the entire piece was covered in black, he was demoralised, he was dismayed, very deflated, he took the piece to his master, actually in tears, he said they hate my work, I am not that good.

His master told him to calm down and gave him the same set of instructions, told him to go do another masterpiece, reluctantly he went ahead, it was another beautiful piece of art, as good as the first piece. However, this time around he was asked to take white paint and a paint brush, and the instruction was if you like the piece put a white dot.

This time around, at the end of the day, to his disbelief and shock, the entire painting was filled up with white. He was so excited; however, he was a bit puzzled, and asked some, really like it, some really hate it.

He then asked him to do one more assignment, go back and do one more painting, as good as the first two, the lad did. When he brought it back, he asked him to get a blank canvas and second aisle, a paint brush, and the whole mix used to create that art work. The instruction was however different, “if you don’t like this piece, take a brush and paint your own. I WILL TELL YOU WHAT HAPPENED AT THE END OF THE DAY!

The Nigerian academics' strike is breaking all kinds of records, in some schools they are three sessions behind. While this is ongoing, those who should know better, and act better display in public spaces the graduation pictures of their wards in public spaces. (For me personally it is their right) but at the expense of who?

We have watched the drama called the Kaduna-Abuja railroad incident, it is gradually coming to an end, it is the end that scares us all. The fact is that there might (will) be another one soon, and all we hear people that should know better and act better do is tell ridiculous stories that touch.

The three musketeers that seek the highest office in the land leave much to be desired in terms of what they are possibly bringing to the table. One says he would solve poverty and give the police what they want in terms of ammunition. With a smile I enquire really?

It is not the pedestrian act of going to Egypt to study the power system, as if Egypt has ever experienced Nigeria's power problem before. You can't use another country's model to solve Nigeria's problems, because Nigeria's problems are peculiar to Nigeria. The solutions to Nigeria's power problem can only be found in Nigeria and not anywhere else. Nigeria has enormous energy resources to build several gigawatts of electricity, ranging from Hydro, Nuclear, Oil, Natural Gas, Coal, Solar, Wind to Biomass and others in-between.

It is not the Emilokan gang, nor the Atikulated group, that are filled with infected, infested and bedevilled, disruptors, saboteurs and corrupt people. But the fact that some dudes in a few hours rendered an entire nation black, and there were no consequences, other than, they will be back if nothing is done in some weeks.

No one knows, or everyone has refused to know that lives were lost in hospitals for just that single misdemeanour.

I have intentionally used these few random incidents to capture our current palpable existential. Everyone seems to know what the problem is, like the boy, his paintings placed at the market place, everyone equally knows the solution, but on the third lap when people were asked to replicate the painting. When the young painter got to the painting in the evening it was untouched, the same way he left it in the morning.

There were no white dots, no black dots, the original painting was neither covered in black or white. He had kept the entire materials used to reproduce the original art, yet no one was willing to replicate or make an effort at painting something. Nigeria is at a threshold, I am losing count how many times I have heard that phrase, we are at 11:59 and still somehow not hitting 12:00.

Never like before, there is a combination of bad governance, poverty, insecurity, poor political and resource governance, a growing disgruntled segmentation of society, exclusion, entrenched corruption, abusive security forces, strife between the disaffected sections of the nation, widening regional economic disparity, unemployment and socioeconomic deprivation, several external factors and add weak public institutions and people's and governments' loyalty to tribe and clan rather than the nation state and you think the curtain will definitely fall on this bleak construct?

The curtain will not fall, if you count the number of security personal killed and citizens murdered in one month and leave it at a conservative 20, break that down to the number of widows, orphans, parents and relatives that are grieving. You will appreciate with pain that this nation is one that after surviving a civil war has a structure almost unknown in contemporary times.

The curtain has not fallen with almost 100million young persons’ not sure of tomorrow, yet the economy is growing, champagne drinking is on the rise…

The picture is bleak, there are still patriots out there, while this enterprise called Nigeria remains very viable, it really has not arrived anywhere and there was no need deceiving us. It is imperative for us to sit down together and do a soul-searching exercise of the system, the structure and the people. We need to paint something new, when and how—Only time will tell

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