How best can one be a Nigerian?

By Christie Doyin
Nigeria we hail thee!
Our own dear native land
Though tribe and tongue may differ
In brotherhood we stand
Nigerians all and proud to serve
Our sovereign motherland
Sometimes I wonder what our government takes us for, human or animals? Considering the way they treat us, I’m sure they see us to be less than human. No respect for our lives or rights!
Do we really stand in brotherhood?
One would wonder what this government is thinking of when still fighting the scourge of the CONVID-19 pandemic and the onslaught of economic woes and other effects that accrued thereof as a result of the series and stages of lockdown, it decided to slap on our Psyche increase in the cost of fuel price and raised electricity tariff.
To say this government is insensitive will be saying the obvious while the word is inadequate enough to describe the callousness of the action. I wonder if indeed this is “our dear own native land” or if we are just sojourning here as ‘beast of no nation’. Activities of government preceding these have brought nothing but regrets and agonies to the people. Why did they vote in this government is the regret on many lips.
Do you want to talk of insecurity, wanton and indiscriminate destruction of lives and properties, kidnapping and abduction, massacres and plundering of farmlands and villages by Boko Haram, Herdsmen and some other terrorists? Or is it the unwarranted hardship we are thrown into, leaving us at the mercy of Shylock borrowers, scammers and hackers? Do we need to mention the non palliatives from government and when it comes during the onslaught of the pandemic? Its so miserably small or terribly spoilt like the rice that left many near dead after eating it as a result of diarrhea and other ailments?
Sometimes I wonder how we got here, how the Nigeria of “we hail thee” suddenly turns to Nigeria we hate thee that made people want to do anything to get out of this g..df….n country. A nation that hitherto was flowing with milk, honey and crude oil, also nourished with cocoa, kolanut, groundnuts, tin ore and abundance of precious stones, produces and commodities with it’s people living in affluence and good health, now turned into a living hell, a dungeon and slave camp so to say. A land where you neither feel safe travelling day or night, or even staying safe in your houses whatever the time.
Often, I had said sometimes, I don’t blame the youth who turned to criminality much. This is because our government turned them into what they are. Majority of them resorted to criminality when all hopes of getting employed or money to start the least of a business is lacking and they can see a few bourgeois and their immediate families splashing millions on trivialities and being wasteful.
After working for over 27 years in paid employment and more if added to serving oneself or not getting a job for years; and nothing to show for it. Not even as much as N30,000 in your account as savings and you think I would ‘arise O compatriot, “because ‘Nigeria calls obey”. How do I serve my Father’s land with love and strength and faith? How will “The labour of our heroes past, …never be in vain” when there is hunger, lacks and blood of the innocent flowing our streets? How can I “serve with heart and might” when the nation that was meant to be “One nation bound in freedom, peace, and unity” is no longer considered as one and lacks the desired freedom, peace and unity? How? Please tell me.
When I read somewhere at the weekend that the presidency is claiming that “Contrary to public opinion, … prices of food items in the country are dropping and not going up.” I felt like …. Well, I’ll rather not say what I thought out.
The President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu said, “So, to say that there is no change in the prices is to show one is completely detached from what is happening in the country.”
For crying out loud, Mr Garba Sheu!
When told by the moderators of the programme that his position was contrary to the reality being faced daily by Nigerians on the streets, Shehu insisted, “As the Germans say, if you want to get the best of the weather, open the windows. My suggestions to the journalists who sit and write all of these numbers is, send your correspondents to the streets, go to the markets and find out.
“I didn’t say that all of the prices, the changes had crashed completely. They are coming down because the harvested items are coming into the market. Prices are coming down, they will continue to go down as more and more food items are harvested. It’s a seasonal thing and we are going to see through this as well.” Even after paying through their noses to get the few they could salvage from herdsmen and their cattle to the market on transport.
But the questions that crossed my mind anyway are where is the money to buy the commodity? If prices are down and there is no purchasing power, what then happens? Even in the private sector workers are owed salaries ranging from five months to over two years and someone is somewhere telling us prices of produce have gone down and all because he is in a comfort zone.
What happened to the agreed new minimum wage that is not even up to ten percent of what some of their children are getting as allowances or what they pay their aides? What kind of a country is this? Are Nigeria leaders cursed?
These people travel out of the country as often as they want, enjoy facilities in those other countries they visited yet, they find it impossible to come back and effect necessary changes or reflect such in their home country.
Garba Shehu said “the drop in food prices is due to the agricultural reforms of the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration.”
Laudable but why not make reforms in the civil service salaries, in the health sector, the transport and roads structure of this country are zero. The roads are bad, vehicles hardly would ply a particular road twice without been taken to the mechanics. Air transport out of reach for the common man, rail hijacked by the rich but worse of all is that no matter how you travelled, our security lies totally in God’s hand.
You’re not safe any time of the day because if you’re not kidnapped or abducted, then you’re killed or robbed by armed robbers, herdsmen, deranged security men or police and often in auto accidents. And that is the reason many of us Nigerians are apt at prayers before setting out on a journey and leaving the rest in God’s hand.
Nigeria we hail thee indeed but I don’t know how to serve my father’s land with any sense of honour in this pitiable condition with not as much as N5000 in my account and I have to take care of my parents, my health and other necessities of life that include paying for electricity and transportation.
I am not a politician, really, I’m not a party person but then, I’m a Nigerian just like many of us but how best can we be Nigerians in these circumstances? Perhaps I’ll get an answer one that would set my mind at rest one of these days.
*Doyin writes from Ilorin via e-mail: cdoyin@yahoo.com

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