By Princi Inyang
Architect, nice video, great passion. Permit me also to opine and weigh in regarding some of the comments you made in your video. The truth is Nigeria is not only rotten society on many levels, but it is a ticking time bomb. This is not a pessimistic view of our country, it is in fact a honest assessment of our reality. Day in and day out, Nigerian people are burdened with more hardship than they’ve already endured. There is no relief in sight. For older unemployed Nigerians, a lifetime of hardship and struggle is guaranteed. For the younger generation, the future holds no promise. To make it worse, very little or no value is placed on the life of a Nigerian. In one snap shot, scores of people can have their lives snuffed away in a most barbaric manner, and there’s hardly any reaction except, mourning and prayers for a non re-occurrence of such tragedy. This is how worthless the society views her people. These are facts that hold true for Nigeria in general, but also holds true for our state in particular.
In your video, you admit not knowing or not having the solution to the real challenges facing our country. You honestly started that you have no solution to the issue of power or healthcare. These are two critical areas of our national life where our deficiency is again on on global display. These two basic responsibilities of government, yes bare mininum, and the inability of the Nigerian nation to have a handle of them is a disgrace.
Having said that, our problems are not supernatural. Healthcare and reliable power is no rocket science. There are some things that individuals can in fact do and not wait on government to provide. However, there are responsibilities that leadership in any society must meet. Healthcare is one, and power supply is another. I commend you for your housing (I assume affordable housing) initiative that you are spear heading. People do need housing, however, you also noted the fact that corruption does exist, and again, you recognized the challenge it posses to any kind of development effort.
When you charge individuals to contribute their own quota, that is a noble call, but with all due respect, I don’t think that solves any of the core problems impeding our progress. Individials on account of their daily activities, volunteer services, community services, private economic activities, etc, contribute their quota each day. I believe a young lady by the name Favor Onobo who used to volunteer as a social worker in Uyo, used to solicit financial assistance from forum members to help pay medical costs for children in dire need of expensive medical procedures in order to save their lives. That was her way of giving back. There was Sam Itauma who oversaw CRARN in Eket. Sam was a social worker and child Right’s activist, who rescued so called “witch children” from physical and emotional abuse and torture. He was hounded and eventually ran out of town by the government in Akwa-Ibom. So the problem in my view, is not with private individuals not doing their part, they are.
Private individuals do their part when they pay their taxes. The small business owners, the Okada drivers, the market women, the shop owners, the welders, the mechanic office, the repair shop, etc, who pay taxes, registration tax, operating licence fees, renewal fees, etc, all are doing their part because they pay into the system. What do they get in return? Folks that live abroad, but remit money to relatives/friends in Nigeria from time to time or often, are doing their part. They are supporting a failed society with billions of dollars each year. What do they get back in return? As I write, some of these people who help keep Nigeria solvent economically are under threat by regimes in Nigeria. How can such misguided vindictiveness bring about prosperity?
Talking about taking Nigeria back, you should identify to your audience who or what “we” are taking Nigeria back from. If it is your view that Nigeria has been hijacked by some unsavory characters, aliens, or persons acting against her best interest, you should identify such agents so in ‘taking’ back Nigeria, Nigerians would be clear as to who they must reclaim their country from. Let me say this in conclusion, nobody, NOBODY anywhere in the World in any history, has taken back a society on the brink of destruction by the simple kind gesture of ‘giving back’. That has never happened. We can all learn from the example of the Egyptians. They held their grounds and bled till Mubarak was ousted. Just this weekend, they elected a new President in a very free and fair election.
Unfortunately, Nigerians love to window dress. They love to placate a bad situation by not confronting the real problems. I think to a large extent, you too have toed this path. This strategy does not lead to change. In any case, I admire your passion for a better Nigeria, but I didn’t read any of your solutions.
Inyang writes from Florida, USA