Osho Samuel Adetunji: Nigeria: Independent by Words, Slaves by Action

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NIGERIA: INDEPENDENT BY WORDS, SLAVES BY ACTION

Musa, this search for job is getting frustrating, o! Obi remarked.
What do you mean? Musa asked cautiously. The two University graduates had been on the move combing the busy streets of Lagos for a job. They were now in front of InterContinental Hotel, Kofo Abayomi Street, Victoria Island and they were both enjoying the scintillating view of the tallest skyscraper in West Africa which went into the heavens.

‘I should have stayed back in Onitsha and shuttle between my Father’s farm and fishing at sea with my cousins, I would have earned at least N2000 at this time of the day, Why can life be so cruel?’

‘Musa, I think getting out of this country will be the best solution to all this kata kata, or what do you think? I am tired of this endless journey!’ Obi replied in a harsh tone

Musa let out a dry smile. ‘I have been thinking of a mischievous plan but am skeptical about its possibility of working. Have you heard about the exploits of the stowaway kid, Daniel Oikhena? What do you think about hiding in the wheel compartment of an airplane heading for Dubai? At least we are older than Daniel; we should get the job done in a better way.’ Musa remarked.

‘Bravo! Brilliant plan, one of my Uncles works as a security operative at the Muritala Mohammed Airport, I will just need to offer him some bucks and am sure getting into the premises will not be a problem at all. We will need to do a concrete surveillance and probably watch some high-tech movies before carrying out the plan’ Obi answered with a bright face.

Age is not the yardstick for maturity; it is just an opportunity to get matured. Actions they say speak louder than words, if you are matured then prove it to me than tell me your age. Such is the case of my beloved country Nigeria. The euphoria precipitated by the Independence Day celebration has veiled our eyes from seeing the true realities facing our country. Do you call a man begging for bread at the age of 53 an independent man? You dare not say so. If you don’t beg for money, will you owe any debt? An independent man lends out to others, not resort to begging. Nigeria at 53 owes a staggering debt of $58.04bn and yet we are beaming with smiles.
No doubt about the fact that we celebrated independence with strong optimism for a better tomorrow and we yearn for a Centennial celebration in 2014. The nation is clothed with an apparel of independence yet acts like a slave. The great dependence on foreign countries is glaring from the entertainment industry to the manufacturing industry to the oil and gas sector amongst many others. We beg the Whites for almost everything we need and yet we pay for them. Apart from the obvious dependence, we also have the penchant for travelling out of the country in search of the so-called “greener pastures”. This behavior is usually exhibited by majority of Nigerians.

It is often said that one of every four Africans is Nigerian. According to Wikipedia, over 3million Nigerians live outside the country and they live in the US, the UK and South Africa amongst other nations. If you do not value the enormity of 3million people; countries of the world like Qatar, Cyprus, Fiji and Reunion are not up to a million. You can have a slight idea of how many countries that have pulled out of Nigeria to other continents. Despite this huge population, many Nigerians are still eager to leave the country; a good example of this is the young boy who crept into the tyre compartment of an Arik Airplane moving from Benin to Lagos, the boy thought the plane was going to the United States of America. You can imagine such a level of desperation. The question is what would a young boy of his age do in America? A cleaner, a house help, a laundry boy, that is if he was not deported to Nigeria. Some can even sell all their properties to get a VISA to America, getting out of the country is seen as a huge achievement. The slaves love their Master’s crib.

An average Nigerian youth would like to pay at viewing centers to watch Chelsea play against Manchester United than a free match between Enyimba and Sharks. Will you blame the young lad? NO! The powerful desire to watch top leagues in Europe was borne out of the appealing and attractive nature of the leagues. You don’t see dastard acts such as fans beating up referees, no throwing of broken bottles into the pitch during play, no breakdown of law and order. And if at all they show up their ugly heads on rare occasions, necessary and prompt sanctions are delivered. Nigeria Professional Football League is underdeveloped, unattractive and bereft of development. Hence the football fans depend on foreign leagues for entertaining matches. The slaves love to pay bills where their Masters pay to relax.

A trip to convocation ceremonies will intimate you about the vast majority of graduates who are yearning to leave the country at the slightest opportunity. They want to pursue their Masters and Ph.D abroad and not in Nigeria. Gone are the days when you are bold enough to tell your friends that you are running a Post graduate course in an indigenous University. Employers do not believe you are well equipped for jobs once you have not tasted education outside the shores of Nigeria. It only reflects the pathetic state of the country’s educational sector. Nobody wants to stay at home for three to four months because of industria actions popularly called strike. Slaves love to read where their Masters became Professors.

The eminent leaders of the world’s most populous nation drive the latest flamboyant cars and yet the country has no indigenous manufacturing plant for cars. Imported cars flood our major cities and metropolis and newly released cars usually make the headlines at discussion joints. Majority of our youths are more interested in Hollywood and Bollywood movies than Nollywood films. In a bid to look like our colonial masters, we have trampled on the core values of our culture. This is evident in our dressing, marriages, choice of food and use of language. Nigerians just love to crave for anything foreign; we crave for their cars, download their movies, wear their clothes, eat their food and pay through our noses to get their type of phones.

It is a shame our leaders take pride in going abroad for medical consultation and surgical operations. There is no need to count the number of governors, ministers, senators, commissioners and Presidents that have been outside the shores of the country to seek medical attention. Why seek for medical services outside the country if we are independent? Our actions depict one who is not independent.
As the number of Nigerian emigrants increases by the day, as they search for greener pastures like a flock of sheep without a shepherd; the question is: are we truly independent? Are we not professional slaves? If at all we are slaves, when shall we be a truly independent nation?

Samuel is seasoned writer who loves to use the pen as a tool to inform, impact and change lives. He is a final year student of Mechanical Engineering, University of Ibadan. ff on twitter @inisamosho

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