Padding our symptoms in the name of patriotism

(By Onukwube Nwabufo)

The Nigerian political elite, especially those with government portfolios, are very fond of defending the failures of Nigeria on any platform. They make the problems look as if they are not man-made –- ineptitude, irresponsibility, incompetence and short-sightedness. But if the problems arose from a natural cause then the situation could not have been reversed regardless of efforts that may have been put in. The defenders of our failure are quick to say that the problems Nigeria face are not unusual for a developing country, yet some countries attained very impressive development from mid-20th century to the present day.

A MEDICAL doctor will always prescribe medications for his patient based on the description of the symptom by the patient. So, when a severely-sick person while describing the symptoms, pads it and makes it look mild, the doctor will, of course, prescribe mild medications for him. The medication ends up being ineffectual on the sick, hence the individual continues ailing.

Nigeria’s case is not different. The country’s sickness is so severe that the signs are there for all to see. Yet, most Nigerians especially those that have free access to the national treasury, paints the symptoms in a colourful coating. They tuck in the signs in a rich girdle, the exact way ladies with protruding bellies do so they can fit into a tight gown or blouse. The justification of the ills of Nigeria especially on international platforms is a major reason while her problems persist.

The Nigerian political elite, especially those with government portfolios, are very fond of defending the failures of Nigeria on any platform. They make the problems look as if they are not man-made –- ineptitude, irresponsibility, incompetence and short-sightedness. But if the problems arose from a natural cause then the situation could not have been reversed regardless of efforts that may have been put in. The defenders of our failure are quick to say that the problems Nigeria face are not unusual for a developing country, yet some countries attained very impressive development from mid-20th century to the present day. Hiding the severe problems of Nigeria is never patriotic no matter the approach. It is patronising and a cheap display of foolery. The patriotic passion of Americans is un-diluted and could be exasperating. Yet, they (including those with government portfolios) do not justify the reduced quality of their economy and blame it on recession at any platform. Despite their patriotic fervor they would not consider the state of their economy fair in comparative to other European countries that have lost track of theirs; Americans just want their problems solved, period! Justification of Nigerian problems by Nigerians makes the problems sound normal. Anything normal, overtime, becomes a culture.

Nigeria has a lot to learn from countries ahead of which she once was. Discovery of oil in Dubai did not liberate the emirate from poverty. Judicious spending, wise investment and visionary leadership did. Chinese economy is the second largest in the world with potentials of overtaking the first. Singapore has made a fortune out of nothing. Her story is like that of a pauper who carved a niche in life through hard work, determination and discipline. Singapore is home to the best airport in the world. I need not mention the medical wonders of India. The achievements of these countries are not by a stroke of luck or some miracle. It is simply commitment and selfless leadership.

Will it take Nigeria the number of years the Biblical Methuselah spent on earth to make a meaningful headway? For how long will Nigerian leaders continue to give excuses with the ills of other countries but ignore their stupendous, indeed colossal, achievements?  The truth is; Nigeria can be turned into a five-star country with just a snap of the fingers. After all, the medication to her sickness is not far-fetched. Our leaders do not need rocket science to provide basic infrastructure, primary healthcare and employment. Neither do they need special intervention from planet Jupiter to alleviate poverty or corruption. Commitment and selfless leadership are just enough.

Wallowing in self-deception by some Nigerians in the guise of patriotism with the defence of the failures of Nigeria as something usual and normal is reprehensible and mournful. Such display is derogatory to the image of Nigeria, shows acceptance of her immaturity and her unpreparedness for growth.

• Nwabufo lives in Lagos.

“Opinion pieces of this sort published on RISE Networks are those of the original authors and do not in anyway represent the thoughts, beliefs and ideas of RISE Networks.”

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