Before you get angry at my temerity to suggest prayer in the midst of all that Nigeria faces, let me say that this invitation is to those who believe in the power of prayers as it concerns the affairs of men and nations. If you do not, walk on by, savour the liberty of choice and wallow in your complaints or endless pontification. For me, I have concluded that our country needs prayers. Not only that, our leaders and we, the people need prayers, a lot of it.
A little over one year ago, we sent off the party that has led Nigeria for 16 years. The preponderance of opinion was that they stole Nigeria blind and had no idea what to do with governance. They stole and raped Nigeria so much, the country wobbled on her legs, so we elected a government that will not steal and also seem to have an idea what to do with power. We were happy with ourselves that we had thrown the stone of bad governance out of our national plate, we patted ourselves on the back and sat down to enjoy the dividends of our investments.
Unfortunately, 15 months after, things have gone from bad to worse. Thousands of jobs have been lost and the pockets of the people have dried up. The other day, the President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) told Vice President Yemi Osibanjo that not less than 30 members of the body had shut down production resulting from the unstable monetary policies of the administration.
But we always have excuses for that. Even those of us who are taking the hit. Oh, it’s the rot of the past; oh it’s the failure of GEJ to save for the rainy day; oh, we are here because of the plunge in the price of crude oil and that is showing us pepper because crude oil is the only product we depend on. But for how long will our poor craftsman blame his tools?
We complained about corruption but can we really say that corruption is not being perpetrated now? Yet, we are consoled by the fact that that the flagrancy and impunity have reduced, as if that makes it less criminal or its effect on society, less debilitating.
We complain about our dependence on petroleum but we aren’t doing anything to immediately change the tide. We tip toe around improving agriculture while we don’t go beyond lip service about the creative and service sectors of our economy. I still wonder whether the wealth of a nation is really in the oil and gold or its people or rather in the ability of its people to transact business and make money.
Governors of our 36 states, in spite of the abundance of land at their disposal have not considered the multiple effects that establishing massive farm settlements could have on their economies. We hate our dependence on crude but we still depend on it.
Worse of all, we Nigerians keep on making excuses for our leaders. Our nation’s best brains move out of the country in droves daily and we fold our arms lamenting about oil. When government and the elite talk about Nigerians being overtaken by their tastes for imported goods, I wonder who we are talking about. Do we place that blame at the door step of over 100 million Nigerians who live below poverty level. People who will jump at anything they have to eat or wear without asking questions?
When our elite talk about Nigerians not producing, I wonder what they are talking about. A country which cannot educate its children and when they get educated, they get no jobs and when they want to go the entrepreneurial way, they get absolutely no support from the state. When support comes, they are asked to deposit one of their body parts as collateral. A country where the real sector has been totally neglected?
The problems of Nigeria are sure more than the monies that some people have stolen and are still stealing. It is not likely that people will stop stealing anyway, especially as hunger and poverty increases in the land
Part of our problem is the lack of creativity in government, part of our problems is also a citizenry that is suffering an identity crisis. Nigerians would rather fight themselves than fight the situation that jointly dehumanizes them. And when a people find reasons, political, religious or ethnic to tear each other apart, the ruling class will take them for granted until they come to.
So Nigerians do need prayers. That its people wake up from their slumber, put the leaders to task and that these leaders find the creative wisdom and courage to save the country from irreversible descent.
Let us pray….
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