Nigeria: Still one huge emergency case & a selfish, ungrateful generation
On February 12, 2020, the House of Representatives urged the president to declare an emergency on Nigerian security. A few days later, the National Council of MDs of Registered Clearing Agents called on government to declare an emergency on our ports. Not long after that, the NMA declared that it would take N90 billion to fight cancer alone, an indication that the health sector was/is also an emergency case. The Federal Government had last year declared an emergency on the Apapa Traffic, and set up a special taskforce (or is it taxforce) to tackle the emergency. Governor Sanwo Olu had declared an emergency on Lagos roads (14/10/19) just as Senator Bassey had asked the federal government to declare an emergency on federal roads (15 10/19).
In 2018, President Buhari declared an emergency on corruption Check out the social and mainstream media and you see calls from several concerned quarters to declare emergencies on various sectors of the Nigerian economy. I have a feeling that the people making these calls have not been in Nigeria all along because Nigeria as a whole is ONE HUGE Emergency, and this did not start today
Twelve years ago, I used the eye of an elder to examine the situation in and of Nigeria and declared that Nigeria as a whole was an emergency case (Nigeria: An emergency case. BusinessDay, 25/4/08). Read on, bearing in mind that these thoughts were penned down 12 years ago
I want to be an optimist; I want to prophesy, believe and think positively about Nigeria; I want to acknowledge that we are making reasonable efforts in many aspects of life and consequently I wish to start with that cliché: things are looking up, in and for, Nigeria! With 24 consolidated banks which are now among the biggest in the world (never mind that their impacts are felt more through promotional gymnastics); with $60 billion in foreign reserves (but we need just a third of that to dent our power and road problems); with more than 50million telephone lines(never mind that the networks are horrible) and being one of the largest oil producing countries (but we depend on imported fuel) we are indeed doing well!
But leaving the realms of optimism and positive thinking and coming down to harsh realities, Nigeria is nothing but one large emergency case! The servant leader himself was aware of this when he decided to declare an emergency in the power sector within 100 days of 29/5/07. The fact that he has not declared the emergency 300 days later has only heightened the emergency status of that sector. Well, that sector cannot but be an emergency when we spent $ 4 billion or $7 billion or 10 billion or $13 billion or $16 billion in the last 8 years during which power generation fell from 4000 to 2000 megawatts in a country that needs 50000 megawatts and the only thing to show for such expenditures are excuses and newspaper advertorials! Of course, in the process, Nigeria became (and is still) the largest generator market in the world!
Nigeria’s external reserves now stands at an enviable $60 billion (among the highest in the world); with single digit inflation, macroeconomic stability and a destination of choice for all sorts of DFIs. Our budget, even when denominated in dollars, is intimidating and the price of oil continues to soar. But we are facing a poverty/hunger emergency. Government statistics agree that about 60 percent of Nigerians are living in absolute poverty but if we consider those that are just poor, it may well be in the region of 85 percent. And now, there is no food on the table! The government has released its strategic grains reserve (I have not seen the grains); the National Assembly has summoned the Minister of Agriculture to explain what is happening and a bag of rice has gone beyond N10,000.
Other food items have followed suit and the number of people feeding from the dustbins will surely increase. Nigeria is the second largest rice importer in the world (next to Philippines) and is estimated to spend $2 billion on it this year. Nigeria is 20th on the Global Hunger Index and has not met up to 50 percent of the MDG target on hunger.
The Niger Delta is an emergency case. Years of criminal neglect by the various tiers of government, looting of the resources due to the area by their own representatives and feeding fat on the people’s misery by the elite (their own kith and kin) has led to a situation of a war of all against all. The political, economic, security and social consequences are already taking their toll on the area and the nation which is no longer able to meet its OPEC quota; business activities in Warri has collapsed and PH is going the same way.
The roads also constitute another emergency case. 10 years ago, Lagos to Benin –by road- was a three-hour journey; today, it lasts as long as it pleases the gods and the same is true of all the federal roads across the nation. People die in accidents; robbers waylay people in the numerous bad spots; the ‘life expectancy’ of the various already distressed Tokunbo vehicles are further shortened, valuable man/woman hours are wasted and people spend agonizing hours on our roads just to make a trip.
Nigeria has the highest concentration of TB patients in Africa and 5th in the world; The Director General of NISER recently categorised Nigeria as a crises territory due to unemployment which was affecting 25 percent of graduates (Punch, 19/3/08,p17); and just the other day, Orji Uzor Kalu called for a state of emergency on Nigerian sports because it was in a failed state(Independent, 30/3/08,pd8)
Meanwhile, the hospitals which the “coupists” termed mere consulting clinics have turned full circles; they have become mortuaries: where people go to die and this has forced the Nigerian Medical Association to call for a declaration of an emergency in the health sector just like the ASUU has called for the declaration of an emergency in the educational sector.
Nigeria is indeed, one huge emergency and the sooner the leaders realise that we are in a total emergency situation, the better for everybody.
This was 12 years ago. Look around today; recall what you have seen and what you have read. Check the current situation of all variables that I mentioned 12 years earlier: inflation, reserves, poverty, unemployment, hospitals, education, roads and infrastructure, hunger, insecurity and the cost of a bag of rice. When you do so, you can only weep for Nigeria, the potentially BIG country that has mismanaged itself into the last quartile in all indicators of socioeconomic progress. Indeed, Nigeria is one huge emergency case.
Other matters: A wicked, selfish and ungrateful generation
Last week, my other matters dwelt on parental wickedness, the recrudescence of inexplicable acts of raw wickedness perpetrated against children by their own parents. This week, I am focusing on the wickedness of children against their own parents, as well as their ingratitude to these parents and general me, myself and I paradigm
On Wednesday I was at Asaba for the Delta State Entrepreneurial Summit and met a friend whom I saw last more than 20 years ago. In the course of our general discussion, I recalled how life was with people of our generation and regretted that the children of this generation were having it rough time because even those who are employed could not adequately take care of themselves, not to think of their parents and other family members. He responded that while it might be true, that the real problem was (is) that the children of nowadays are selfish and ungrateful! I then remembered the post I had seen in the ubiquitous social media about one mother who trained 10 children but cannot be taken off by these 10 children! This is a generation of wicked, selfish and ungrateful children.
Just the other day, one Michael Okhide murdered his father and mother while the Sister narrowly escaped. Children have beaten up their parents (as an Ichie, I have handled one of such cases), dispossessed their parents used them for rituals and neglected them, when what those parents needed was just their presence. I know a young man returned home after missing for years, he hanged around for a few days and sold the only asset of his widow-mother, one ancient huge tree to wood dealers, pocketed the proceeds and disappeared again. I know of a young man who could not give his widower father N500 (just N500) saying he had no money but went on to secure a self-contained room for himself and moved in with his girlfriend whom he wedded the other day. In August 2019, Kosisochukwu Anioma, 14, faked her kidnap so as to be with her boyfriend, just as Dorcas Adilewa of Ogun State connived with her boyfriend, Ife Olubanjo and collected ransom from his father, the same thing Tohebat Adebayo did with her boyfriend, Afolabi Adebayo to obtain money for a birthday party! This is not only a Nigerian-affair; a 13-year-old girl also connived with her boyfriend in Germany, demanded $5000 ransom and the duo were eventually caught in Schöneberg. Have you noticed the ages of these girls, all under 12, 13, 14?
This is worrisome. With wicked parents and wicked/selfish children, what is the future of the family institution? What is the future of the society built around families?