Mazeed Mukhtar Oyeleye writes,
The ‘A fool at forty is a fool forever’ maxim indulges the present, where the unequivocal narrative is ‘A fool at fourteen is one forever’. Whilst considering this extrapolation, a malaise will plague patriotic Nigerians; fear that the Giant of Africa may remain in swaddling clothes forever, as she has been since breaking out of the cocoon of colonialism over sixty years ago. A blind man will not miss the reek encircling the complex layers of misery Nigeria dons, like a bride in a saree.
Nigeria glided in and out of the clutches of gun-toting foster-fathers, who raped her in broad daylight, stealing her pride and promises, to the dismay of many who smiled away their contempt, as the wages of gripe was duvets of soil to warm their cold bodies. Eventually, onlookers had their fill of the egregious scenery and spoke in one voice; the voice of the nameless man. His words, ”Democracy is a staff that will lead Nigeria through the red sea of power-drunk foster-fathers,” stole hearts, though it left an actual red sea behind; plasma from lacerated jugular veins, mushroomed skulls, and punctured solar plexuses.
The acclaimed silver-lining behind the gloomy clouds waltzed into sight, and heads shook in acquiescence of a glorious epoch in Nigeria’s dreary history. The world bathed the onlookers in encomia for the feat, unaware of the mysterious contents in the coffers of the new era. Nigeria breathed a sigh of relief and freedom, comfortable with the punctuated residence with one holster-less foster-father after another. Nigerians saw visions of her, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with world superpowers.
Two decades glided by, and she remains immobile, like the multitude of Nigerians who are physical testaments of the aftermath of poorly-combatted poliomyelitis. However, she is a victim of Homosapien pathogens voted into power by the people they forget once they lay their hands on the loot; the reward for their caprice. The masses sit helplessly, waiting for their innumerable promises to trickle down a VVF-ridden Nigeria into reality, like urine.
People who saw VISION2020 draped in credulous colours now sigh resignedly: The ‘Economic Giant’ they envisioned now dons the crown as the world’s capital of poverty and child death. What onlookers see of her is a travesty of progress.
Beyond sixty, Nigeria is a body of ailing sectors: epileptic power, anaemic education, leukaemic infrastructure, pneumonic healthcare, yadda yadda. The white of her flag is the confluence of the blood lost by victims of banditry, cultism, insurgency, jungle justice, rape, religious crises, ritual killings, and tribal clashes. Uniformed men bedeck the glorified death-traps called highways, exploiting impoverished Nigerians and popping their beans when they refuse to succumb.
As we chew prayers that Nigeria’s sixty-first anniversary of independence paves the way for her rise from swaddling clothes and reach for her potentials, we must also resolve to work lest our dreams outgrow realisation. We must not let our poignant currency warp our mindsets and our future consequently because progressive people maketh progressive nations.
Long live Naija, the home of good people, the great nation!