Why Nigeria can’t develop

Can Nigeria ever develop? I wish to give one formidable, unacceptable, unbearable, agonizing and intolerable barrier to Nigeria’s development that nobody wants to hear about.
Nigeria has never in its existence thought about or understood what development means as a country. Yet development is a word that we use every day. It is also every country’s ultimate national aspiration. In Imo state under Rochas Okorocha, development meant mixing sand, water and gravel with cement and building houses – houses with hardly architectural planning and engineering design; houses that nobody can guarantee their integrity or strength and therefore which can collapse anytime. When it happens and people are killed, it is no man’s business. You just open the ground and throw them in. This way of treating such incidents that claim human lives, caused by governments themselves makes Nigeria undeveloped and people ask the question will the country ever develop? When governments build houses and other structures, the human beings can go to hell. That’s what they call development. Our governments are not interested, for instance in what people eat. Is it healthy? That is not their look out.
Private houses were the ones that were feared to be weak and capable of cracking and falling down either during construction or after some years of occupation. This, because resources applied to them would understandably be regarded as inadequate. But now public houses and other constructions that have no reason to be poorly funded have also become risky to use, caused by the same general misinterpretation of the meaning of development.
Even public roads and bridges cannot stand the test of time because they are not built to last. They are built not as development, but to corruptly make money. In countries that understand and appreciate what development is, no public structure is built without bearing in mind that it will be a lasting monument. That is why you have typical Chinese constructions and architecture dating back 500 years. You have German, French, Scandinavian, Russian, Italian, US and English types of houses of which those countries are always proud. Is there any house or building design of the past or present in Nigeria that is typically Nigerian? Which Nigerian builder is building for national pride and identity? None. Is the country making such demands from them? Not at all. So, there is no concept of development here. The country is heading nowhere in terms of development.  Rather we are good in copying what others have done. If we want to build a stadium it has to be copied from somewhere.  When our leaders travel and see some structures, they want to come home and replicate them here as development. Like the artificial palm trees the last regime in Imo has set up on major roads in Owerri.
Development is adding form, weight or whatever, in order to increase the size of something. For the addition to be a development it must be a qualitative one not a degenerative one. Development can be looked at as growth, which means that the thing becomes advanced with time, advanced meaning changed for the better.
Can advancement be another word for development? Yes. In fact that’s what it is in my view. Our own type of development is always a sort of degradation. We are stepping backward all the time. Whatever we call development must here rot due to lack of maintenance.
Nigeria is getting more money, expanding in population, having more churches, bishops, universities, professors, adding all kinds of weight and color, but not developing; not advancing in the real sense, retarding. These have been holding up development, especially in the aspect of quality and safety of human life, which are what development should address. The human angle to development is zero. People who show promise and want to develop must clash with the system and get usually crushed. To say they get discouraged is an understatement. They must die and get thrown out.
Development can be either gradual or rapid. If it is unduly slow, that can be worrisome. Development should be reasonably rapid. If growth is not fast enough, it is not development. In Nigeria, development is seldom a forward movement. Instead it is in the reverse gear. It is crawling. The country is rich. But those who should benefit from the wealth are poor and will only be poorer. Who cares? This is for sure. Development is supposed to make people sure of the future.Our own type of development will never do that. The rich may be richer. They can also become poor. Nobody is sure of tomorrow.The poor have to die. They have no chance. How to achieve happiness in the populace is the main assignment of development.
In practical terms development is self reliance. It is an educated population. It is skilled manpower who are honest and know the value of honesty.  I stop so far before it gets confusing again. On all these planks, Nigeria stands miserable, down and out. Development has the individual person’s dimension. You must get it right there before the national dimension can pick up.
Where most people are dishonest as in Nigeria, the country will never develop. Who is telling the other the truth in Nigeria? Who believes the other? There is a lot of argument (not dialogue or discussion), but nothing is coherent any more. Nothing seems sensible or logical. You can’t make any meaning out of most things. You can’t find in this country the level of trust and sincerity you find in the countries that have developed. Everybody is scared by that in looking at the future. I am.
You will find that all the earlier-mentioned planks of development are inextricably linked. Don’t be deceived that a lot of Nigerians are educated to a very high level. Those who are illiterate and have no schooling at all are many more in number. Those are completely outside the national process, making nonsense of what you call democracy. A lot of the educated ones are pretenders. What their education is all about is the duplicity they can offer, and the English (foreign) language they can bamboozle others with, which is a big barrier to development. It is clear that these two are distinct segments. They are antagonistic and cannot form a country of common purpose and destiny. They are exclusive mutually which cannot make for peace. Most of the hate and killings will be traced to this, if the president in particular can call a spade a spade and understand what he is supposed to be doing there in the interest of development.
I think we are marking time, if we are not moving backward. The challenge in this is to level people up a bit. This cannot happen with the language discrimination, complications, dichotomy and confusion all over the place. And to make matters worse, there is hardly any Nigerian who does not believe that the English language is all we need to develop. Raise your hand if you think otherwise and come over to this side of the table. Let us debate it out. The foreign language we use is the tragedy of all times. With it our unity has been compromised, such that even if tribal hostilities were tamed, class inequality and differentiations due to language is the colonizers’ master-stroke to keep us down until the end of time. That we have come to accept it as good for us is also our greatest national folly. It will dog our path and keep us under-developed and dependent forever and ever,
The country’s English-based education is not applicable or functional. All developed countries have the good sense not to use foreign languages, but not our country. The countries include colonized ones like us. The first thing they did was to do away with that deplorable colonial legacy and became truly self-reliant and development-compliant. Thus their first step in development was to develop their own languages, realizing that the foreign language introduces basic attitudinal dishonesty and an unrealistic lifestyle. Besides, it is inadequate to carry the volume and depth of communication that drives development. Most Nigerians claim what they are not and cannot do. It is a national ethos up to the highest level that impedes progress and development. If only this can be nationally recognized, fought and defeated, then development can really begin.
Education based on a foreign language cannot deal with concrete, local problems and solve them. Nothing will be original again. Nothing has been original ever since we started as one country. People go to school to learn just English and never skills that deal with personal needs of the individuals and needs of society.
The English started colonialism on deceit, brigandage and dishonesty. This has not changed. It was easy to acquire this mentality unwittingly in the educational system at all levels. This is the origin of the widespread fraud, corruption and dishonesty everywhere. You must find an indication of it wherever you go, even in small children, once they have set foot in any form of school. One can trace Nigeria’s under-development to the foregoing root causes.
We have growth without advancement. This is what has afflicted those who lead. They are not even aware of it. The country is therefore bedeviled by it. This is what most people mean when they say the country lacks leadership. Any leadership that does not start by dealing with this issue of lack of a language to communicate is a non-starter. To do this the country must jettison the foreign language, no matter the grim consequences. It can be made optional. Development starts with answering the questions: who am I? What do I want to be? In other words where am I going? Who is my God? Do I know Him?
There is no language that is developed enough to deal with our predicament. And there is very low education to discuss its intricacies, as the mouth cannot speak except from the abundance of the heart. What you have is what you give. We are very poor in language and communication, whether in English or in our languages. That’s where we are stuck, unless we start now to do something about it.

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