The most amazing thing for me is the story of our present day heroes-the people who keep Nigeria running. These heroes are owners of surviving small and big businesses that run on generators and power plants for 24 hours a day.
My Random Reflections @ 44
In 2009 l started this series called My Random Reflections. The first edition was My Random Reflections @ 37. How time flies!
For me, writing about Nigeria on my birthday has become a tradition.
This particular edition is remarkable in a number of ways. This is the first time l am writing one from homeland-Nigeria.
In an attempt to put up this edition, l’ll try to give a summary of some of the things that continue to be a source of heartache for me with respect to Nigeria.
Having spent a few days in Nigeria, l could write more than 1000 pages on what l have experienced so far. Majority of what l have seen and experienced are negative things.
In this year-2016, hopelessness pervades the country.
I am the man who cries when he writes about Nigeria. My heart bleeds. This was not the dream for Nigeria. Madness has overtaken this land.
There are uncountable issues to be addressed in Nigeria. I don’t even know where to start from. No one does. The level of destruction and general decadence is out of this world.
Things have finally fallen apart. Sadly, majority of the people don’t get it. No, they don’t understand the meaning of life.
If you are looking for the definition of selfishness, don’t look at the dictionary. Just take a trip around your neighbourhood. The selfishness of men and women have turned them to haters of fellow humans.
The government of Nigeria continues to fail the people, hence majority of Nigerians have been battered beyond repair.
Seriously, I don’t even know how to proceed with this essay. Nigeria is the dark country both figuratively and in reality. I have seen many long, dark nights and many boring afternoons of no electricity. It is almost totally absent so much that Mr. Fashola is now called the Minister for darkness.
I take long walks and l drive about town, what l see is [almost everybody doing the wrong thing] just to fulfil their own personal ambitions or missions for the day.
Nigeria is in a total mess.
I have thought about writing an open letter to President Buhari.
One of my suggestions to him would be that he needs to take a road tour of Nigeria and find out how the people are living and how they are suffering from day to day. I will implore him to travel by land and water for once. He should fashy the plane for this fact-finding mission.
When l finally write the letter, l intend to point out the failure of the APC-Buhari mandate so far. A friend of mine got upset last weekend because he read somewhere that the APC still blames the PDP for the problems in Nigeria as if Nigerian politicians are different from one another.
Together my friend and l agreed that things didn’t have to get worse before they get better. The APC-Buhari mandate does not know what Nigerians are going through. If they know, how can they be so pretentious and callous?
The APC is just like the PDP (birds of the same feather) and together they have ruined the country and failed the people. The APC-Buhari mandate was not ready for its own change agenda. Under the APC-Buhari mandate thing fell apart very quickly and they are still falling like a pack of cards.
The verdict have been given on the APC-Buhari mandate: majority of Nigerians regretted their votes. This does not mean that they preferred the PDP-Jonathan government. They are just confused and confounded.
The people have concluded that Nigerian politicians are criminals who go to Abuja and other government offices across the country to steal and loot. It is this criminality that pervades the society. That’s one of the reasons why everybody looks at the other person with suspicious eyes and inqusitive minds.
Away from their pastors and imams the people you find in churches and mosques praying are the same people raining curses on the APC government. They have tagged this regime and they have pinned it down as the worst regime ever in terms of human suffering and the collapse of the economy.
Even my suggestion that the pdp-years would be the worst years of the Nigerian life has been dwarfed by the one year of APC-Buhari regime.
It’s getting worse with each passing day.
It does not matter what any APC-asslickers think or suggest. Everybody has reached their own walls and the chickens are eating one another’s intestines.
That is the people’s verdict-that this regime is the worst ever in Nigeria’s history in terms of human suffering and government insensitivity.
This is the verdict l’ve heard everyday on the streets of Lagos in the last 2½ weeks.
This is the verdict of the market men and women.
This is the verdict of the ones who have been thrown out of jobs and the ones who have never been gainfully employed.
This is the verdict of the men and women who run their businesses running on generators and plants round the clock.
This is the verdict of the old people who sit in front of their flats/homes everyday just steering at the sky hopelessly. Many old people in Nigeria are tired and without pension and care. They live like beggars.
Majority were not even civil serrvants. They did small businesses and they are now old and hopeless.
Some are not even very old. They are just jobless and hopeless. I see them and l cry. Nigeria is hell for them.
Even many young jobless people live like beggars too. They do unnecessary things and provide useless services and then beg for money. Someone can even remove a stone in your way and systematically ask you for money for lunch.
If your car breaks down on the road, some people will approach you for ”owo taku”-money that your car has broken down. These are some examples of the sad state of Nigeria.
In the anticipated letter to the presidency, l would point out to future governments in Nigeria that they need to set out at dawn and that they must make hay whilst the sun shines.
I intend to share the message of Mrs. Obi my secondary school teacher with President Buhari and the rest of the Nigerian population including the opposition-the PDP-that what is worth doing at all is what doing well. Mrs. Obi would be happy if l add her favourite line: nearly does not catch a bird! We just have to get it right to make it work.
In addition to the letter to the presidency, l also intend to write a letter to the governor of Lagos state, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode. In fact, l intend to write a series of letter to this number one man of Lagos. I hope he’s warming up for them.
I understand from some quarters that the regime of Mr. Ambode has embarked on some road construction and repair. I saw some myself. I don’t praise public servants. Becoming the governor was never an obligation. It will forever be a choice.
Still, there are many, many bad roads in Lagos state. Ha ba! You have to raise your car to the first floor before you can drive on Lagos roads that are full of ”wells”. The use of the phrase ”pot-holes” is an understatement. For me, l don’t want to live in a state where there is a single bad road. I want all the roads to be like paradise road. By applying sense and responsibility, we can do it.
Rather than put pressure on the state and local government on the need to provide good roads everywhere, almost all the citizens of Lagos have bought Jeeps or in the process of buying one. This is one of the remarkable but terrible characteristics of Nigerians-they don’t seek to address a problem, they beat about the bush.
If everybody in Nigeria buys a jeep, whose responsibility is it then to point out the failure of the government in providing good roads? Naija sha!
In my attempt to call the government to order, l will not leave the local government chairman of my community out of the picture. He or she is the nearest person on whose shoulders the burden of governance rest.
In that letter or essay which will be coming in a matter of weeks, l am going to inform the present sole administrator and the future local government chairman of my estate about the problems that l see in Festac Town and l will give suggestions for the solutions.
We cannot go on like this. Again, it appears that we all sleep and face the same direction. The society is full of many mad situations.
I will not be sparing the governor of Ogun state as my country home lies in his domain. In fact from what l heard about the Lusada road connecting Winners Chapel, l have very strong words for him as soon as l set to work on all my complains.
I wished l have all the time in the world in Nigeria. I want to start talking to the people again. I have done that in the past before l left Nigeria.
I have thought about blowing my whistle again just like old time when l led the young people in my community on many missions just to keep the sanity of our community. Now hell is on the loose.
I have thought of writing an open letter to the Nigerian Police because l am so scared of the guns pointing at me everyday on the roads. Why are the police pointing their guns at every motorist? What is going one? Are we at war?
I have thought of writing an open letter to the Federal Road Safety Commission to complain about the absence of a single sane driver on Lagos roads. Everybody is mad they tell me! I see it too. Nigerians don’t know how to drive, and l mean it. They just move the cars like crazy people.
It is so bad l have not seen a single Lagos driver who knows how to turn left at the end of the road. Rather then turn, Nigerian drivers make sharp manouver. There is an unwritten agreement that everybody on the road must be agressive and drive like someone who is crazy. How can we stop the madness?
I have thought about writing and talking to every single Nigerian alive about their civil responsibilities, about the meaning of life and how to pursue happiness.
I have thought about writing a letter to the Ministry of Transport on the need to withdraw all the Okada drivers in my community and march them onward to their villages to different farm settlements where their children can be educated and they as adults can be gainfully employed and productive.
People need to be reintegrated into normal existence as soon as possible. Things are getting out of hand and getting worse by the day.
The government is failing. The people are failing. I have never seen anything like this anywhere else.
In Nigeria, since my return, l have done a lot of things to fulfil my roles and obligations within my immediate family.
I have lost family members who are close to me including my mother.
In this country, we have all gotten our shares of the Nigerian tragic existence. What a sad story we all share.
I have been on live program on Channels TV. On Rubbin’ Mind, l made a case for the Niger Deltans. If we make their home paradise on earth, no one will be mending or avenging any mess. It’s as simple as that.
I have done a newspaper interview and l spoke about the need to re-introduce reading into the school time-table for children. I also made an argument for the maintenance and bulding of libraries across Nigeria to ensure that the reading culture is kept. Reading from books will remain the best way to extract knowledge and inspiration.
If l’m opportuned, l could do one more TV interview/discussion on my new book, the Madrilenian. It was launched in Stockholm on June 18 and will be launched and released in Nigeria on July 16.
Oh, l almost forgot, l have spent substantial part of my return to Nigeria visting my father. He is an old pal, a jolly good fellow at that.
I have spent quality time with my friends and acquaintainces. I have mingled with mechanics, vulcanizers, petrol station attendants, civil servants, traders, journalists, young and old people. I have walked the streets, walked into peoples’ homes unannounced and even chatted with strangers.
I have done my best and l keep my head high.
I know we can turn this country around. If we start from adopting a system of government that works (regional government for example), we will be able to re-educate our people in the different parts using our local culture and heritage as the re-starting blocks.
We can tap people’s energies, knowledge and creativity to put Nigeria back on the path of progress. We can bring back our people in foreign countries through reverse brain-drain.
Oh, what greatness we can achieve with sincerity, patriotism and honesty!