Nigeria knew no bounds to success that at a point, the problem was not her wealth but how to chop the national cake.
Boasted as one of the finest and most peaceful on the face of the earth,the lion of Africa,led and other countries followed in her footsteps. Flourished as one with dependable natural and human resources, industrious population,agric-rich,she politically motivated neighbouring nations, gave alms at will, put its citizens and currency above all, and had its name trumpeted all around the world. Nigeria literally put Africa on the map,no apologies.
Nigeria once contained its success that, like one of the greatest kings in Africa, neighbouring African countries left their shores to tap from what Nigeria had to offer; moreover, freely Nigeria received and generously she gave, not minding that it was to her own detriment.
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Time unplanned could be a great hater and hitman, all in one, because with time, money clearly changed hands like the currents or wave upon the sea; that in a twinkle of an eye, this country literally disintegrated before her very eyes, like the rocks that were taught in geography, but hers took a faster process under the watchful heels of uninformed, goalless and clueless leaders, corrupt politicians and their peddled political parties, citizens with no practical sense of direction –one cannot leave out the part played by the masses-- , instigated civil wars, ethnicity and tribalism, and a row of endless list.
Unfortunately, these woes didn’t leave the country without an indelible mark which turned into a smelly sore at each contact. This country obviously has refused to heal and move ahead that it stands stationed at one point, therefore it finds or puts itself and the entire citizen in a bitter state of dilemma.
The citizens grope in thick darkness in the middle of daylight, when sunshine was at its best that with time, the giant of Africa was brought to its knees and belly. The country obviously is today, a shadow of itself and past glory that in turn, and on the long run, Nigeria became a burden to self.
The events that preceded Nigerian independence proved one thing, tenacity towards a collective goal. Nigeria was literally spoon-fed off a golden plate. She could boast of structures, railway stations, industries, a system that worked,political (inherited),education,medical and unlimited or untapped resources.
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Some critics would say that Nigeria should be cursed if she were ever ungrateful to her colonial masters. Most of what she needed to start a new life were made available, just like a young man who graduates from the university, and finds himself in the labour market with everything provided,employment, accommodation, food, wife and kid, just maybe.
Or even the average apprentice at Onitsha main market down East or Alaba International market, up West, whose master freed after ten years, but was too benevolent to add a car, shelter and money, probably because he served him well. A good servant demands a reward. Nigeria had everything working for her to the envy of other African nations; she was the big boy, a big fish in a big sea, pampered beyond recognition.
Nigeria enjoyed so much attention for years that she was lost in the euphoria of that time, blinded from seeing beyond the bridge of her nose. No doubt, as she savoured her moments, those that sat over her affairs were men who wouldn’t negotiate her standards.
Nigeria at that point set a reputable benchmark, one worthy to be imbibed. She led, and others followed. She even competed with other ‘third world or developing nations’, so she was called. Her standard of education made parents send their children back, all the way, for their educational pursuit. Most educated Nigerians left their well paid jobs abroad, only to come back because it was the break of a new dawn: a new Nigeria was born.
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They saw the need for a collective effort towards taking Nigeria farther than any other country in the world. Her medical system was superb, there wasn’t need for one to travel all the way for medical treatment. Civil service work was hotcake, and only for those that were ready to take the nation to another level. Employment was never a problem, and small and large scale businesses thrived so much that the economy was too stable to crash.
Sports and entertainment industries developed alongside, while she promoted her arts, craft and tourism industries. Nigeria’s currency competed with ‘hard currency’ in the market place. Everything went smoothly as planned and expected.
While Nigeria swam in her success, tragedy loomed, close by; at a point in time, power and interest changed hands, and it led to her witnessing a drastic fall from grace to grass. Gradually, everything came crashing: medical system, political, education, civil service and so much more.
Everything retrogressed to the extent that she ran into debt, and a huge amount of her citizens came to the point of struggling for survival, that some Nigerians lived below three hundred naira, a day.
At this point, one would likely ask one question : if it was the trader or the trade itself? There is this theory that states that some leaders didn’t master the art, trade or craft of leadership which eventually plunged the nation into what could be termed ‘a catastrophic situation’ which she still finds herself in till date.
The country persistently struggled through different phases of metamorphosis which further pushed it into a deep ditch, and at a point, nothing seemed and still seems to work. Nigeria in the real sense became a battered pickup truck headed to nowhere.
There comes a time, when the needful is not given appropriate attention, an issue could expand beyond imagination, and over time, it settles and takes its place comfortably, that it becomes undetectable or a part of a whole. The above could only happen when those that exist around such situation may have welcomed it or settled for less.
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Everything that occurred in this nation; every unattended problem or issue rested on the shoulders of the poor masses, that at some point, it became a struggle, but unfortunately, not much was done to curb or end such that her citizens grew a thick skin, and learned to live with their problems which is vivid in many areas.
Poor medical system, poor standard of education, poverty, unemployment, corruption, crime, terrorist attacks, death, inflation, lack of good governance or poor leadership system, lack of public representation of the country, unpaid salaries, debt, embezzlement of public funds, poor road network or not at all, electoral malpractice, ethnic crisis, dwindling economy, and the list goes on and on.
It is as though the country runs on the wheels of a failed system, the poor masses are left in a state of dilemma that they have no choice but look the other way, because their paramount concern is survival.
There is a kind of detachment on the part of the masses that they rather do things on their own without getting the government involved. The fact that Nigerian citizens take the bull by the horn in the face of government inability to provide the country with essential amenities like electricity, security, sustainable infrastructures, and so on, describes or redefines a new kind of struggle for survival which exists in the country.
Although the backbone of the country has been described as lazy, but these set of Nigerian youths have singlehandedly built industries out of nothing but ruins created by its corrupt government. It is too obvious that this nation, to a large extent, has forced her citizens into forming a coping mechanism in the face of their struggles, not minding the fact that it has failed woefully to provide the needful for her citizens. In turn, Nigerians now try to live with problems that surround them or that which plagues the nation.
Written by Oluoma Udemezue.