Column Opinion

Nigeria And More Of The Same

By Prince Charles Dickson PhD

Why do New Year’s Resolutions fail? Mainly, because they are only a statement, or what we wish for in the coming year. There are usually no action plans, no deadlines, no backup plans. Sometimes they are unrealistic resolutions, with no other thought or plans beside the statement.

The meaning of resolution is “a firm decision to do or not to do something.” The key words are “firm decision”. If you make a firm decision about something then you must also take action and set a deadline, in other words, set a goal!—Catherine Pulsifer

So, permit me to start this way, bittersweet was the passage of last year. There have been some immense victories and some catastrophic defeats, and if you ask me, the most terrible being the failure of the government across board to provide security for citizens.

Globally, I told a friend that, by the end of this pandemic, we will have learnt the Greek alphabet from the variants named after its letters (Delta, Omicron), which continue to emerge. But so it is with the administration that promised to lift how many millions from poverty, Nigerians now know the different alphabets that spell poverty.

Nigeria in the new year will not make significant progress, not because we don’t want to, not because we cannot, and it’s not a prophecy like my last year admonishment on things that will happen this year 2022 but for the fact that as a nation we have no GOAL, there’s no RESOLVE nor a RESOLUTION to make progress.

It would be more of the same as Civil servants, across board will come in with renewed energy to steal, purchasing power will decline, stealing power will increase, more methodologies to pilfer the public treasury will emerge in a nation where snakes have swallowed, and monkeys have snatched public funds. Politicians will not be left out of the a-loota, more so it’s a pre-election year and lies would be told as stealing intensifies.

Sadly and as much as we shy away from it, scores of security personnel will thwart the efforts of the vast majority, being that the minority will cause damage, they will collect bribes, give intel to bandits, facilitate arms transfer to terror group and as usual intimidate ordinary innocent citizens.

Despite the ill-conceived or not properly interrogated sexual molestation bill, teachers and lecturers will ‘kontinu’, while on the other hand others will give money or sex for grades, and bullying won’t stop, teachers and schools will organize special examination centers. The budget has been signed but it would be more of the same as very little attention if any will be paid to education.

We will be plagued by our usual ethnocentric and faithoism laced parapoism as we dispense patronage on the basis of religion, tribe, political and other social affiliations. However, without recourse to any of the above we will shunt queues and disobey traffic rules, pay bribes and still blame everyone but ourselves.

The same way ordinary Nigerians will hoard goods to create deliberate scarcity. After all, is it not in Nigeria, people pay ransoms with fake money; Ali ya kama Ali, if you know, you know, if you don’t ‘fogerit’.

We speak grammar regarding rule of law, but the same law will go on strike, Judges and Lawyers will collide with politicians and against commoners and make ways for criminals to escape facing the wrath of the law. Is it not one law for the rich and another for the poor?

In my small city of Jos, you needed to see the big party-like celebration that greeted the exit of the last CMD of the Federal owned, University Teaching Hospital, who allegedly left in his wake a hospital with zero consumables, scores of litigations as a result of negligence, months of unpaid remuneration and avoidable deaths. But in general it is a nation that will continue to prize healthcare away from the poor as Doctors will refer their patients to private facilities for personal gains.

Some of the shining roads commissioned will be an eyesore because engineers who construct below agreed standard facilities for personal gains are littered everywhere.

No resolve to change, no resolution, it’s more of the same, all the prophets and prophecies, all the new year speeches by governors and that of the President ‘na wash’. There are no action plans, no deadlines, no backup plans. Unrealistic blablabla, with no other thought or plans beside the statement, like we will get a million out of poverty by one official like that, while it seems like there’s a resolve to put a million under the feet of poverty.

Let me therefore end with this experience…

While on an international flight years ago, I witnessed thievery or stealing. (Here in Nigeria, corruption is the word).

Sitting adjacent to me across the aisle was this woman who was having four center seats all to herself because the plane was not full.

Ordinarily, I could not have noticed the woman but for one man who periodically visited her, then would leave after a while, at first, I thought they were something like husband and wife but my curiosity was drawn when I discovered that the man was not always at ease when he sat with the woman.

As soon as the man sat in the company of the woman, he would dart his eyes left and right, front and back, making sure that no one was watching him, after a while of repeatedly doing this, I decided to really check out what was happening, why the man seem not at ease or peace whenever he paid this nocturnal visit, then I saw that the man always planted a kiss or rather stole a kiss after looking all around to make sure no one was watching.

The dude who probably was in his fifties was sitting somewhere else but periodically came to the woman to steal a kiss and some cuddling otherwise known as romance.

His escapades remind me of those of us who picked a few nairas from our father’s hanging shirt in his wardrobe, his trousers on the chair or ‘picking’ change from our mom’s piggy bank where she put sales money from her akara (bean ball) sales.

We took our time, checked all the environment to make sure all is right before we snatch but one thing, we do not know is that, some eye must see us, just as this dude did not know that as the Igbos would say ‘a ji odu anya ele ya’. (I was looking at him with the upper eye).

I knew that the woman was not his wife, for no man steals what belongs to him and no man comes into the plane and starts wobbling like jelly towards plucking a kiss from his wife, the same woman he lives with.

After witnessing the man’s coming and going several times, I forgot about the issue till we deplaned, as people stood at and to clear immigration, I noticed the same woman standing alone, all by herself with the man nowhere to be found, and what I not only suspected and believed was then confirmed that he was not the woman’s husband but just a thief out to steal waters probably belonging to another man.

I know there are thieves like the one on the airplane who go about stealing waters that are not theirs, it would not cease this year, it would be more of the same…

If Nigeria will not take a significant step forward in governance, development in most sectors, we must do things differently. The current administration has to really start surprising us, they are at the tail end, it’s almost eight years…if they get to work on just a few of their promises, and Nigerians on a personal note do things differently maybe we will smile a little—Only time will tell.

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