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Between survival and growth

The amazing thing about Nigeria is that people are talking of the country’s future growth rather than its survival. Will Nigeria survive? That’s the question. Whether it will grow depends on if it survives?
The country faces critical challenges of survival, a matter of life and death. (I use the word challenge because Nigeria prefers it to the word problem, to make its handicaps seem surmountable, simple and light. It is only for selfish political dividends that one would do that to deceive millions of people to their greatest peril.
Nigeria has problems and not challenges. Problems are handicaps resistant to solution, perhaps impossible to solve. Challenges are solvable, just a passing phase that won’t take time to outlive. That’s not what Nigeria faces – far from it.) Won’t Nigeria collapse the way things are? That’s my fear.
Before the roof caves in and the house falls down, people want to get away under whatever guise – Biafra, boko haram, corruption (people who want to fortify their persons at the expense of the so-called nation to survive whatever comes), Niger-delta republic, Oduduwa, Ijaw nations, middle belt movement, Sharia states/enclaves, etc. Everybody wants to have a reason to get out of a failing house which has too many cracks as warning signs.
.People have anticipated the collapse for long, which is gathering steam of late. A naghi a gwa o shi nti na ahia e sula. Even the cripple knows when to move as wahala/katakata comes closer. It is pointless to assume that only the known separatist groups want to break way. All Nigerians are on the run {leaders and the led inclusive). They are motivated not by the need for greener pastures, but by the quest for safety when and if the collapse occurs. If it is under Biafra that one can be safe, by all means, why not?
Everybody in Nigeria (including me) wants to make a timely exit. This may be expressed or unexpressed. But in their heart of hearts, Nigerians want to escape before- it is too late. That’s the simple, commonsense explanation of the large and small problems facing this country today-An earthquake is expected. Not only Biafrans, individuals of ail ethnicities here and there who fear the worst have left Nigeria in spirit ever before the bodily group exodus can take place.
Don’t mind the pretences of those in positions where they get their fat salaries and more,
They will always want to sound optimistic in the middle of the quagmire. They art: snaking too. They preach to us about unity, the temporary nature of economic recession (which they don’t understand what it is all about), promises of better times ahead, employment, restoration of the naira and all the deceptive nonsense they can say, not to hasten the evil day. They can tell that to the marines, not to me any longer. The moment they start talking, I go to sleep or find better things to do. I am not listening. I go over to CNN or watch cartoons. If they are on radio, I switch off. Thank God I no longer work in the media they use to disseminate their lies and pretences. I don’t want the evil day sooner either. But they must not tell us things with get better, when the worst of times is already here.
Whatever I put into the media for people to consume is from my un-diluted conscience,, not my so called government that thrives in lies and falsehood, never. Nigeria is terminally sick. It requires complex surgery, but lacks a competent doctor. Typical of Nigerian medicine, the diagnosis has been a guess work. I have not seen anybody who has correctly diagnosed the problems. All the tests find nothing.
But the patient is dying. He is bed-ridden. The labs are sending different readings. For one test some labs read 9.4, some 2, some 4, some -3, seme 20 – wide, wide figures that are irreconcilable. They don’t give the patient confidence to live, to survive. We, the people lose hope. On the basis of that, medicines that can kill |,he patient are prescribed. And now there are plastic bags full of medicaments.
One big jug of water is not enough to swallow one dose of the tablets. All the drugs alongside food intakes make one look overfed with distended, obese stomach, adding to the patient’s predicament. !n the same way injections of all types are going in, with infusions of blood and drip. The patient’s condition gets Worse. That is what is happening to the patient, Nigeria: Those attending to her as leaders just want to appear to be doing something, while actually doing nothing,
Nigeria is not suffering one disease. There are at least ten hefty ailments in various stages of complication and requiring not just practitioners but world-class specialists to handle competently. She has o cha e re which it is believed only incantations by spiritualists and native doctors can heal; which defies orthodox medicine
A times only prayer warriors can cast and bind it before it goes away. In this kind of prayer,
God must be brought down; the roof of the house must come down: the floors must give way. Superhuman demons and evil forces must have placed the disease there and it only ends in death,
She (Nigeria}has cancer which is a sophisticated disease and a sort of demonic attack as well which ordinary people cannot handle. She has a heart condition. She is mental – lacks coordination. Her kidney is bad as well her liver. She has diabetes and of course high blood pressure. How many now, pneumonia, HIV/A1DS, epilepsy, tuberculosis and leprosy? She has reproductive blockage. She cannot bear a child. If she does, it won’t be a healthy one. So putting her in the family way is not advisable. You can’t. It is futile trying. A child would still be a problem to bring up. Nigeria is a cripple. She cannot walk. She has polio. Finally her vision and hearing have been affected by all that. What do you do with a patient like that? Just watch and pray. That’s exactly what we are doing, is it not? Number one, the naira is dying or dead at 500 per USD? Am I right? By the time I finish writing and go to press, the rate would have gone up to 700. What on earth can bring it down to 1/2 naira to 1USD where it was, let’s say, 56 years ago at independence? That was in 1960. What happened? I’m sure that’s the question most people are asking. Before we can move an inch to redeem the naira, we must know what happened.
Where do we want to command the naira to be, 300, 200,100, 50, 20,10, 5, 2 or 1 per USD? This is what the government of the day must say but is not saying. It does not know. If it knew, it would have told us. It cannot explain how we carne to that pass, problem being its level of knowledge, intelligence, scholarship and education. When the educational qualification of a president is in doubt, this is what you get. Is it not a lost cause bringing the naira to an acceptable value level? This particular problem becomes more killing with time. The decline can only go on and on. But there is no capacity to stop it at any time with the quality of our leaders who claim the expertise they do not possess.
The worst mistake we make is to think that the economic whatever is Nigeria’s worst problem, ft is not. I don’t know what we may call the economy in Nigeria. The economy in Nigeria’s parlance is everything and yet nothing. If by economy we mean transforming Nigeria to a Dubai overnight, whereby there are no more bad roads and the airports, public and private buildings are fantastic, power is steady, we are world marketplace, the syndrome of poor motivation for togetherness will still be there.
If Nigeria surmounts the problem of survival, can it surmount the problem of growth and sustainability? Nigeria’s second worst problem is the simple thing called sincerity. See the length America is going in looking for the sincerest president to replace Barak Obama.
In this, Nigeria and Nigerians must be “born again”. There are sincere Nigerians but to be  Nigerians they must be insincere, wherever they are, whatever they do, no matter how religious they are, Nigeria impels them to be that. I have looked at it, to be a Nigerian and do well, you must be insincere. You cannot be a Nigeria really and be sincere. You must be required to deny your nativity. Rather than be Igbo you must be a south easterner or a Nigerian, names that do not command your respect and loyalty, in fact names that you don’t like.
That is why impulsively you want to be tgbo first before a Nigerian. It is also intuitive. Rather than speak Igbo they force you to speak English. If you don’t understand what is being said, you are forced to pretend that you do. Even the person talking to you is not sure what he is saying, but he compels you to listen, just to be Nigerian. English is no longer a foreign language. It is now lingua franca, an unavoidable language of unity.
Nigeria claims it to be her language, shamelessly so. Have you ever heard that a language unites, which in our case ft has woefully failed to do over the years, but made matters worse about resources management and establishment of peace and harmony between people?
The height of insincerity is when the federal government talks of a Nigeria that will grow and become stronger, not the one that may not survive; that doesn’t inspire confidence in people and they are on edge trying to run away to presumed safety. Biafra for instance may be an uncharted course, a gamble and a suicide bid. It is only made to look that way by detractors.
But its powerful attraction for Nigeria and Biafrans is that it is art escape route from calamity that has set in, in earnest. The prospects of genocide or gruesome mass death in Nigeria are great for all. Biafra may be the easy way to Nigeria’s survival, though Nigeria thinks of it an unwarranted effrontery that challenges its hegemonic authority.
I advise that Nigeria admits that it has to survive first, even if its breakaway populations have to be allowed to leave the federation for that to happen. Nigeria will never grow unless it survives. Head or tail a referendum and peaceful dialogue will determine that, not military force and grandstanding.

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