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An anatomy of problems

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That Nigeria is plagued by a myriad of problems is an open secret. Whoever has taken time to study the Nigerian situation very closely will not but agree that the nation itself is sick. There simply cannot be any other conclusion than that when a nation as endowed as Nigeria can be so unlucky to have leaders both past and present who continually shy away from confronting the few in whose domains the nation’s resources reside but prefer going caps in hand every time begging other nations for assistance, or requesting for loans to fund budgets and projects.

Nigeria’s problems started as soon as an absurdity occasioned by an overthrow of a legitimate government reared its ugly head, and then its replacement by a band of locusts which pushed the entire nation into a precarious dungeon which successive leaders since then continue to battle gallantly to wriggle out from. Players in the ousted civilian regime whose misconduct led to the military intervention at the time were obviously oblivious of the decades of woes they were plunging their nation into or they would have acted with great caution. Alas, the mistake was made, and the rest is history.

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Fifty-nine years down the line, Nigeria is still within the corridors of chaos. With an upsurge in population and a sad mix of gluttonous leaders, problems multiply and insurmountable challenges stare everyone in the face. Most of those who appropriated Nigeria’s common wealth to themselves are still very much around but are obviously untouchable and therefore continue to enjoy their loot. Rather than round them up to surrender the remainder of the stolen wealth, successive governments not willing to step on toes have always preferred sacrificing millions of Nigerians who are continually subjected to untold hardship and suffering, and who grumble to their grave.

Sadly, even nemesis itself rather than come to the aid of the masses is now as harmless as paper tiger. Instead of it catching up on looters, nemesis has seemingly been bribed and ostracized as Nigerians who awaited a wink of the crab’s eye later discovered that they were on a wild goose chase. Then the next move of the downtrodden is to search for solace and succour wherever possible. Religion came very handy, and soon received everyone’s warm embrace. If earthly wealth is already shared, the heavenly ones would be spared for all those who keep the faith. All of a sudden arose a proliferation of unemployment-induced worship centers besieged by a band of gullible, simple-minded proselytes. Illusions fed by rabid hallucinations remains the major preoccupation of the earth’s most pitiable beings.

Nigerians never seem to realize that since they are all smeared by the fumes of corruption and disaffection, they are all affected, infected and guilty of the same canker worm in a way or another. The greatest sin committed by Nigeria’s looters which nobody seems to notice is not that of only appropriating billions of the nation’s wealth to themselves but that they sowed the seed of corruption which has since germinated in almost everybody. That’s the more reason why wherever one turns, it’s always the same story. Whoever then stands any chance whatsoever within the vicinity of heavenly kingdom remains to be seen even if most worshippers delude themselves as being righteous.

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Search for the truth about anything anywhere and you will discover it has no home. Look for genuine love between and among the tribal groups and all you will get are mere caricatures. When the fathers have eaten sour grapes and the sons have also set their teeth at the edge, who is left to stand tall? When the foundation is destroyed, who remains righteous and what even can the righteous do? Deceit that travels a thousand years like a balloon is deflated and punctured in a second leaving one to view very clearly the symptoms of sickness that have taken over a whole nation like summer’s cloud.

How can sickness define the whole existence of an entire nation and the citizens are completely unaware of it? Is everyone in a deep slumber from which they need to wake up hurriedly? Why are hospitals without adequate facilities for all manner of illnesses and why should medical tourism be a legacy of a nation’s leaders? What is source for the goose is advised should also be for the gander. Where leaders are in their right frame of mind, a nation’s population ought to be a deciding factor in budgetary allocation to the health sector.

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Since health is said to be wealth, a serious system will always do everything possible to promote a thriving health sector from which all citizens can benefit equally all round the year irrespective of their financial status. It however smacks of acute sickness when rather than encourage and allocate enough resources to a sector as important as health, medical officers who are in much need in the country are frustrated and forced to relocate in search of greener pastures elsewhere while citizens down with different ailments languish helplessly in the various hospitals without adequate medical officers to attend to them. It is nothing other than sickness when without first of all raising the entry requirements of candidates into the colleges of education and education departments of universities to attract brilliant minds, the Federal government would just hurriedly set up the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria with the mandate to issue certificate of practice to teachers.

The government should try and find out if many of the teachers who failed the simple aptitude test in Kaduna and Edo states are not already carrying the so-called TRCN certificate. Because what usually happens is that whenever the government comes out with any new policy, many people out of fear usually rush to comply more so in order to secure their jobs. Indeed there are various tales of those who paid to TRCN more than once just to be safe. Yet the truth is that TRCN cannot achieve much for now even with the best intentions considering the very poor background of many teachers. It is never a bad idea to regulate and professionalise teaching but the very first step is to take a look at the calibre of candidates offered admission in the teachers training centers across the country. It is only when quality is guaranteed at that level that things will start to take a new shape in the education sector.

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It is sign of sickness when a nation decides to adopt democracy as a form of government and key players in the system would openly admit that an integral organ of the system is a rubber stamp organ.

Such outburst obviously issued out of ignorance rubbishes the ideals of a system adjudged as the best of all forms of governance. And maybe such pronouncements by a leader of no mean standing is just an eye opener to how a supposed flawless idea can be dismantled and subverted where issue of the stomach is more uppermost than any other consideration.

So when advocates of democracy argue about each of the organs playing its major role in achieving success, they should be quick to add that would be possible only where citizens are properly educated about democracy, and are ready to make sacrifice for the sustenance of the system and the advancement of their nation. What all Nigerians need to do is to keep a good record of happenings within their enclave so that when history will be written, all evidence will prove clearly whichever is the most prodigal of all the national assemblies the nation has had. And at the appropriate time, the guilty shall face their well-deserved wrath.
Oyewusi, an educationist, wrote from Lagos.

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Jide OyewusiTRCN
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