29th June, 2010
Nigerians are a peculiar people. A few years ago we were described as the happiest bunch of people on planet Earth. This serves as proof that we are an optimistic bunch who always looks out for light in darkness. You and I know the way things go down at our Lagos parties. Cows and goats are killed. The streets are taken over by canopies and white chairs. The party industry in Nigeria has grown rapidly and it is becoming more prevalent to find people whose millions have been made from the party industry. Party rental proprietors, caterers, event planners, those who provide the music equipment, the gbedu masters themselves (KSA and Co.), the florists, the make up artists and their lot all fall under this category. However, this is not the point of my rant session. It is to highlight the way our politicians have allowed their urge towards celebrating to inhibit the voice of rationality.
â€œThe official delegation alone is 1000; from the Federal Governmentâ€”close to 400, not to talk of state governments, local government chairmen, the retinue of wives and girlfriends, representations from corporate Nigeria and private individuals,â€ wrote Reuben Abati in his article titled â€˜A World Cup Experienceâ€™, 13 June, 2010.
â€œFive governors, 60 senators, tens of representatives and a few ministersâ€, wrote Adeyeye Joseph, editor of the Punch, 15 June on Nigeriaâ€™s delegation to the World Cup.
The procedure concerning Nigerian politiciansâ€™ trips is not exactly a secret. We know how these trips go. Armed with wives and mistresses, assistants and members of entourage in tow our officialâ€™s proceed on vacations more common in fantasy land. Private jets, if not first class tickets are the trend. Five star hotels and accommodation, state of the art vehicles are also rented. Not to forget the shops they visit and general living costs. Iâ€™m pretty sure the money used does not belong to them. Itâ€™s funded by the taxes paid by our parents.
â€œThe Systemâ€™s broken, the schools closed, the prisons openâ€, sang
Kanye West in his music titled â€˜Powerâ€™.
If half of the funds wasted by our politicians were invested in our decadent educational system, the standard of graduates and WAEC results would rise. Ask those who have been privileged to interview prospective job candidates to rate the English skills of supposed graduates and you would see that my assertion isnâ€™t far from the truth. If they were invested in our medical system, numerous deaths would be prevented and the number of people who go abroad to seek medical treatment would also be reduced. Our leaders wonâ€™t have to disappear to Saudi Arabia for months. Deaths like Da Grinâ€™s would not be prevalent. Not to mention what could happen if these funds were spent on improving the standard of housing and roads in our beloved country.
A laundry list can be made of the alternative purposes these funds could be used for. At the end of the year you hear the same politicians complaining about the lack of funds at their disposal to carry out positive reforms.
â€œItâ€™s only a fool who refuses to learn,â€ goes a saying. With hindsight, the decision of our politicians to proceed to SA to catch their cruise is looking as the product of myopic eyesight. Notice, how we have achieved the same results achieved in 2002 with the cast probably being the only significant difference. On both occasions, we lost by a one goal margin to the Argentines. We believed that as we could fare so well against the Argies we had some glimmer of hope in our subsequent games. In our second game against Sweden, then led by Lagerback, and Greece, we took the lead and then surrendered it and secured our defeat. All products of self destruction. The stagnant growth as a nation is slowly creeping into other areas of life. Sports wise, we are in a free fall.
We have gradually declined from a high achieving nation to Africaâ€™s greatest underachievers. One question, of what benefit was Goodluck and coâ€™s presence? They couldnâ€™t inspire the team so their decision has been proved to be nothing other than a jamboree of unparalleled proportions.
â€œNo one man should have all that power,â€ Kanye West in his music titled â€˜Powerâ€™. The trends of our politicians have to be stymied. There is too much power at their disposal. Things are not looking up for the average Nigerian and it is up to us, the youth to be the foot soldiers towards ensuring positive change takes place. Talk is cheap. You and I can pool our efforts together and ensure that we leave our mark on the 2011 elections. We are the ones who can march under the copper skies to ensure that our will is done. We are the ones who can build our battalion of electoral observers who will ensure that our votes and ballot boxes are secure. We are the ones who can put the likes of IBB who described us as not showing the will to bring change to shame.
Think of the pleasure to be gained knowing that we stood for what is right and seeing it out. Think of how our great grandchildren will look at us. The thought of the generation unborn viewing me in the same light as an Awolowo, Azikiwe or Balewa is quite alluring. Our time is now. Rise up and letâ€™s make that difference.
â€¢Idowu Oluwamayowa writes from Market Rasen De Aston School, UK.