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Published On: Thu, Oct 17th, 2019

Of xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and reassessing our priorities as a nation

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By Caleb Arogundade

Now that we have chased away the fox in xenophobic South Africa, it is time for us to admonish the hen in Nigeria’s ‘leaders’. One of the problems that have bedevilled our country since independence is evidently the lack of leadership in the true sense of the word. We have passed through many exchanges of batons among various leaders, both civilian and military. Unfortunately, none of them can be said to have truly laid a very solid foundation for Nigeria’s greatness. This must not come to us as a surprise because it’s either this one was not prepared for the onerous task ahead or his successor was reluctant in taking over, but still did. In some other instances, the choice of leaders had been necessitated by the need to appease some sections of the country and or for geographical balancing. Not necessarily for being ‘fit for purpose’.
We have witnessed instances whereby the person who eventually emerged as the president or head of state just emerged by chance – a child of necessity and or circumstance – as they usually refer to themselves. Even, one of them recently wrote that on two separate occasions in the past, he had deliberately handed over ‘power’ to candidates of his choice and NOT necessarily that of the people. Yes, he had the audacity to say that. And, that the tenures of those stooges ended in disastrous manners should NOT come as a surprise to anyone.
It has always been through one political accident or the other that our leaders have been cropping up. Even under the present dispensation, it wasn’t as if President Buhari was the best person to lead the country to it’s Biblical ‘promised land’ in 2015, but of the two ‘articles on display’ then, he appeared to be head and shoulders above his opponent, both in stature and status. As a matter of fact, I was one of those who made that error of judgement then. Four years after that choice, the rest is now history. Unfortunately, we are where we are now, what should we do?
Against the backdrop of the recent ugly events in South Africa, there is the need for us to reassess our priorities as a nation. With the human and natural resources at our disposal, there can be no justification for the kind of embarrassment that Nigerians suffer abroad if we have been having leaders who were and are not bereft of ideas. Nigerians are doing very well in so many fields of human endeavour in the diaspora. It is quite unfortunate that the yardstick for measuring our capacity and capabilities as a people is the activities of a very few individuals who engage in criminal activities all over the world. Travelling with the green passport has needlessly become a nightmare. This is something that should give any government very serious concern.
There is therefore the need to provide a very conducive atmosphere for all Nigerians to engage in legitimate activities to enable them make a living without necessarily travelling out of the country. If any Nigerian now decides to travel out, it would be a matter of choice, rather than an avenue to escape from the obviously terrible living (or surviving) conditions at home. We can make this happen if we start to make those who steal our commonwealth ‘vomit’ them and also ensure that they face appropriate repercussions in accordance with the laws. It must NOT be ‘business as usual’. The led (or already misled) should stop fighting over which thief is better – yours or mine?! A thief should be treated as one to all intents and purposes. We must NOT wait UNTIL these unwilling returnees start to unleash their pent up angers on the hapless people. The attendant consequences would be unimaginable.
In some parts of the world, they suffer from a number of natural disasters due to no fault of theirs but just because of their geographical locations. In Nigeria, it’s a question of God so loving us that we’re not located along those axis where those incidents happen. Our equivalent of natural disasters in Nigeria are our leaders. This is very unfortunate. In a country where many people struggle to have one ‘square’ meal in a day, you will get to some politicians houses and you would think you’re in a motor dealers show room, with all kinds of cars on display! Most of them are not even driven in a year! If that is NOT madness, nothing would be so qualified. They don’t have any visible means of livelihood other than politics!
What Shall We Do?
To start with, our political office holders must no longer be allowed to seek medical attention outside the country. If this becomes operative, they will be forced to ensure that our hospitals cease from being mere consulting clinics into proper health care facilities.
Secondly, children of Nigeria’s public office holders must all attend public schools in Nigeria. If this becomes operative, our public schools will receive adequate attention and regain their lost glory.
Furthermore, the use of power generating sets in public officers’ houses, as well as in offices, must stop immediately. If this becomes operative, we can all be assured of uninterrupted power supply all over the country within the shortest possible time.
In addition, no public office holders or public offices should patronise those who supply water through tankers. If this becomes operative, all dry water pipes in Nigeria would have water running from them within the shortest possible time.
The problem is that these privileged few called politicians are very far from the people they govern, such that they don’t feel what the masses feel. It was possible for Jesus Christ to feel the pains of the people because he came in flesh and blood, otherwise he wouldn’t have been able to feel what the people were feeling! All the suggestions above should be applicable up to Aso Rock. Recently, I read about one of the governors advising people travelling to his State to travel by air for security reasons. Can you imagine! How many people can afford the cost of air travel? People are complaining about the lack of bread, you’re saying they should try cake instead! Lord will have mercy on these people.
The last but definitely NOT the least is that our public office holders, including the president, should be travelling on the road when going from one part of the country to another. By so doing, they will ensure that our roads are NOT ONLY motorable, but safe for travelling purposes. Until we do these, our embarrassment in the hands of lesser nations will continue unabated.
Enough is now enough.

Caleb Arogundade, a legal consultant and former company secretary/legal adviser, writes from London, United Kingdom

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