Charles Ofoji [email protected]
Nigeria is undoubtedly a sleeping gargantuan. It is a country endowed with all the trappings a nation needs to excel – abundance of natural and human resources – yet it is stuttering. There is a consensus that the only trouble plaguing the nation is preponderance of bad leadership. Nigeria is still waiting patiently for that right leader to emerge, who will take the country to its destiny.
Checkpointcharley has no doubt in his mind that this would eventually happen. Presently, Nigeria is hanging precariously on a cliff, either a people’s hero rescues it from the impending doom or it dips into apocalypse and oblivion. My take is that the latter is improbable. God could not have blessed Nigeria so abundantly for nothing. It could not have been so richly dressed only for burial. God is not sarcastic.
But until that messiah comes forth, Nigerians will continue to suffer and die because of abominable leadership. Our so called leaders behave as if Nigerians would have another life apart from this one. As if Nigerians should not worry – they should endure what they are going through and wait for a better living in another life.
It hurts to recall people whom I know, who lived and died as Nigerians without one day getting a taste of life – talk less of good life. Because of the wickedness and selfishness of our rulers, they lived a life of just passing through as they suffered until their dying day. Their blood and that of those who continue to die prematurely due to cruel leadership are on the heads of all those who have been privileged to steer the affairs of this nation.
Majority of Nigerians are living like animals because those who have been in charge diverted the commonwealth into private pockets. None of them were patriotic enough to forge a vision for this country. None was patriotic enough to make the basic things of life available and accessible, not even good roads, light, common water, housing or health care. President Goodluck Jonathan came, promising change.
Unfortunately, he has not been able to deliver on his promise. He has not even tried. It is easy to dream but it has to be translated into reality through hard work and iron will. He lacks both. He hobnobs with the real enemies of the people. And no matter how well he wishes this country, he is taking it to nowhere due to this fact. Unconfirmed report by The Punch has it that over $31 billion has been stolen under his watch.
This money, at least, would have been enough to enhance the health sector. As I said last week, majority of the deaths in Nigeria are premature because people cannot access health care and there is no reasonable health infrastructure. Ponder for a moment that a worker on his way to work is hit by a car.
He is injured and bleeding. Because there are no ambulances, like in other climes, that could respond within five minutes, such a person will bleed to death before he gets to a nearby private clinic via an improvised means. There is certainly a prescribed way an injured person is supposed to be positioned before help comes. This can only be handled by professionals since first aid is not a subject in schools and in places of work.
People die after car accidents in Nigeria mainly because help for the victims rarely comes and when it does, it is often late. Even those who can afford to pay the hospital bills, due to corruption, what the sick gets is substandard and life-endangering drugs. Would anyone then wonder why life is short and brute in Nigeria? As a result of complicity and indifference of government officials, fake and substandard drugs are brought into the country.
I have not dropped the view that NAFDAC may not be able to detect all such drugs. It may be able to fish out fake drugs by comparing them with a muster from the original manufacturers. But when the latter decides to peddle substandard drugs for big profits, NAFDAC is helpless. You cannot scrutinize what you cannot produce. A serious government would have worked together with the drug producing nations to ensure that they don’t allow fake drugs to be shipped to Nigeria from their shores.
Our leaders are unwise. History has shown that bad leaders dig their own grave. 70 percent of Nigerian youths are today unemployed because the money that was supposed to be used in developing the economy and create jobs is lying idle in Swiss and other offshore banks. The rate of youth joblessness should be giving a serious president sleepless nights. It is simply a ticking time bomb.
When it explodes, we will realise that Boko Haram is a child’s play. Talking about Boko Haram, if past governments had made the people the focus of governance, there would be no Boko Haram today. Nigerians would have been too happy with their lives to engage in terrorism. Yes, there was enough money. There is still enough money to make every Nigerian comfortable. What has not been available is good leadership.
*first published December 5, 2012