After dedicating invaluable man-hours to thinking through the failed empire that Nigeria has become, in light of recent bombings in Jos and Abuja, unspeakable violence against adherents of certain faith in the Northern part of the country and age long corruption, governance ineptitude etc, I have concluded that no amount of offshore blogging, persuasive social commentary write-up etc will reverse the trend or save Nigeria from its cliff-hanger position.
Nigerians, living in Nigeria, must act fast to reverse their destiny. No man’s head can be shaved in his absence. I, and others, resident abroad can not cry more than the bereaved, clueless, suffering and smiling, everything - goes Nigerians who see nothing spectacularly wrong with massive corruption by public officials, death-trap roads, dispensaries-like ‘Centre of excellence’ hospitals and the un-abating scourge of kidnappings.
Whereas millions of Thais, under the auspices of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), commonly known as the “Red Shirts”, stormed Bangkok’s International Airport, forced the cancellation of the summit of the Association of South- East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in April 2010, stormed parliament demanding its dissolution, forcing lawmakers to flee and held Bangkok spell bound for weeks all to demand the enthronement of a democratic government in Thailand, Nigerians, under the continuing, heavy spell of infrastructural decay, governance decadence and ‘chop and quench’ leadership did not think it fit to join the Save Nigeria group when its members stormed the National Assembly in 2010.
The level of Nigerians’ docility towards socio-political activism is beyond appalling. Yet, they seek an egalitarian society!
For the average Nigerian, his/her status is enhanced once s/he possess at least two elastic rubber- bound cell phones (one of which, I hear, must be a Blackberry), an I- pass-my-neighbour generator, with an Ikeja computer village assembled desktop bereft of internet access.
Though, he/she is unemployed with no prospect of securing one in the near future, his/her public standing is maintained somehow. Friends and family members overseas, like me, nurse their ego by funding their insatiable appetite for the good life which the Nigerian nation blatantly denies them and for which they care not to fight.
Isn’t something morally wrong with this “monkey dey work, baboon dey chop” system Nigerians have designed to sustain themselves in the face of some of the worst governments in the world?
Aren’t we, Diaspora Nigerians, complicit in the systemic collapse Nigeria has become when we advertently fund a non-performing economy that Charles Solude deceptively acclaimed as being in good health when in fact it wasn’t?
In case you don’t know, Nigerians abroad consistently fund the Nigerian economy to the tune of not less than $3 billion annually through foreign remittances. For instance, statistics from the World Bank’s Migration and Remittances Factbook show that the inward remittance flow into Nigeria in 2005 stood at $3.3 billion comprising entirely of workers’ remittances. That was 3.4% of Nigeria’s GDP in 2005. When you add unrecorded remittances through formal and informal channels like sending an envelope through a friend travelling home etc, the sum becomes much larger.
2005 foreign remittances into Nigeria is the size of the 2010 gross domestic product (GDP) of Cape Verde and the Central African Republic put together.
Yet, the leaders of Nigeria refuse Diaspora Nigerians the right to vote in general elections and readily castigate us when we offer constructive criticisms of their rudderless leadership. As if that was not enough insult, downtrodden Nigerians sustained through the product of our hard work have become too contented and now gloat satisfactorily over the misfortunes of the nation.
Every civil call to protest against those political usurpers and shenanigans goes unheeded by the suffering masses who don’t have to work to earn a salary in order to recharge their cell phones, refuel their environment damaging generators and adorn the latest fashion to parties.
If we, Diaspora Nigerians, are truly alarmed by the direction that country is headed, we must rethink our apparently ineffective Father Christmas gesture of throwing money at a problem.
Goodluck Jonathan and his band of thieving state governors shared $1 billion from the excess crude account, on New Year’s Eve, just days after plunging the nation into a $900 million debt and months after a $4 billion foreign loan. Federal lawmakers earn incredible monthly salaries but could only completely pass just 24 laws in 2010. A classic example of low productivity!
If Nigerians in Nigeria won’t arise to fight their slave masters-leaders, Nigerians abroad should cut their weekly or monthly subventions so that on - the - ground realities will coerce a mass protest against those nincompoops of leaders!
When I hear people say 2011 elections will be make or break, I am quickly reminded that same was said of the post June 12 imbroglio and the 2007 elections. In spite of the sad fact that Nigerians, before our very eyes, were feeding from dustbins, mass protests were mooted or at best ill-attended when IBB annulled the 1993 elections. Were it not for God’s intervention, Abacha would have most likely transmuted from army uniform to civilian clothing as Nigeria’s life president.
Years later, God again would intervene to clip Turai Yar Adua’s wings when that later day uneducated empress hijacked the reigns of power from a liver less Goodluck Jonathan.
Tell me, would Nigerians have reacted if Yar Adua had been alive till date, though in a vegetative state, and his wife held power?
Trust is: there is no wisdom in feeding a lazy fat cat who wouldn’t care to chase an intruding mouse.
-Idowu Ohioze resides in Edmonton, Canada.