Column Opinion

Dear Uncle Sam Nda Isaiah…Aaaayah!

By Dr. Prince Charles Dickson

Boiling water is different from hot water…

This long, very long note is ‘to and for’ my friend Uncle Sam Nda Isaiah, it’s for us, for you, for me, for them…

Sir, your death, like many a death, again has shown like I say, as Nigerians we are slow to learn, quick to forget, and hardly remember. I know you know sir, after the rush of eulogies, flowers, and tributes many have already forgotten you passed on.

With the exception of your immediate family, you have been replaced, loads of tribute spoke to your personae and experiences they had with you.

Now you are terrestrial, well seated by the side of the Almighty, so you know a few things we don’t know but let me start from the ones you knew.

We have a big problem with Nigeria, and the problem, today I dare say that the problem with Nigeria, is Nigerians, part of our problem, is simply put, ‘us’, ‘we’, ‘you’, them, ‘they’. The problem with Nigeria actually is Nigeria! Uncle Sam now you see why all those columns, patriotism is alien to us!

Nigeria, ideally is one of the best places to live in, it is not a Police State like so-called Western Democracies…In Nigeria I can urinate anywhere and not get fined or arrested, I can get a ladder and climb the electricity poles and effect a change of power phases, that is if the problem is not from the nearby power transformer which anybody can repair with dry wood.

For a government that prides itself in taking us to the next level, it is interesting to see how there is no improvement, Uncle Sam do you guys read the news in heaven or you just see what happens from up there, if it’s up—either ways imagine…

Three persons shot dead, 6 others in critical condition as Ekiti bye-election turns bloody. We have not changed, we don’t want to, INEC had to suspend that constituency by-election

As the farmers, herders continue to clash, the Ekiti government has stated everyone must register or get expelled. While gunmen actually attacked the now always vocal Benue Governor Ortom. He claimed he ran 1km barefoot. Uncle Sam is it true, I know you now see things that we mortals do not see?

In Anambra lawyers declared strike over insecurity. While there’s a new trend of burning and arson on police posts in the South east and an increase in jacking of Hilux utility vehicles, is there something we don’t know or need to know?

Uncle Sam you were amongst the many persons for good reasons that saw in Mr. Buhari had an opportunity for a reawakening despite the roguery and treachery of the APC. A lot of us had lost hope in the system, the structure, the leadership, but with each passing day, it is becoming obvious that Nigeria may be just an empty plastic cup, too light to hold a cup of coffee cold or hot, because the problem is us.

I am writing this long note about us because lately I have discovered that I have tried hard to write nice stuffs about leadership, or citizenry but that is a hard ask, I criticize a lot and hardly give solutions…my reason, simple…there are enough solutions to Nigeria’s multi-dimensional problems, enough to fill an American Congressional Library. Dear Sam, you ran your race for this nation sadly not much has changed in the months you have gone, and soon we did be planning a memorial lecture but yet we are hard of hearing.

Truth is until we are ready…the solutions would remain utopian.

Dear Sam, while you were here we often were inundated about the successes of far Malaysia and neighboring Ghana, a success that was championed and achieved simply because of purposeful leadership, a leadership and people that collectively went about bringing economic prosperity, industrial strength, intellectual pride and dynamism. Unfortunately you left us as part of a circus, of both leadership and citizenry.

A new Nigeria cannot unfold, with fast paced infrastructural development, rapid push in human resource development, healthcare delivery, when no one is safe, when infrastructure the little done isn’t safe for citizens.

Today’s Nigeria lacks education, health and development with all the wealth, we are breeding terrorists, frustrated young men, sad mothers, senior citizens that daily curse the nation because we have refused to give them their dues, children without a hope for the future in light of public school utilities.

This is Nigeria, the rich, poor, and everybody cries and laughs almost at the same time; the difference is the swing of the pendulum, I am part of the problem, so also you, it only depends on when, and how.

The Nigerian big man makes a law, those wanting to be Nigerian or already big men proceed immediately to look for a way to break the law; he explores loopholes and escape clauses, like the Immunity clause used for stealing.

Ordinary Citizens would do it their own way, they would jump queues on no-excuse, they would do u-turns on an expressway, stop in the middle of the road to say hello to a long lost friend without parking…

How can I say I am not the problem, when in power I love affluence and will do anything to stay put. In religious matters, I fake it; in business, my cheques bounce. In the civil service forget the noise of ‘servicom’, files get missing and only re-appear when you, and I mean you reading this pay the right price.

The pain of this note is we know that we are the problem and rightly so too, but how about the Nigerians in their millions like late Sam, like me too, like you…that want to be good for the right reasons. Nigerians, not easily understood because they will not give bribes, all their actions are in line with tradition, society’s good norms and rationality. They largely are old now, although a few young ones and most times reside in rural areas, though a few stay in urban areas.

They are generally good and untribalized, they believe in the principles of live and let live. These Nigerians are neither the bottom power women nor the moneybag men like you and me. They strive daily to remain patriotic and committed to the Nigerian dream despite the reality, they are disciplined and are hardworking, and they battle the stark reality that as patient dogs they may never have any bone left.

Aaayaah these set of Nigerians suffer the Nigerian experiment because of the larger majority’s inability to curb greed, inability for me and you to be fair and rational towards other people’s perspectives, opinions, positions and interests.

My continuous inability to make sacrifices for the common good, and your unwillingness to respect our institutions means that if others do not stand as a people and resolve to fight for what rightly belongs to Nigeria, the problem with Nigeria will continue and the labor of love of the many Sams departed and often than not forgotten so soon, will be lost—only time will tell.

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