I hear people say that every other day. Whether they’re living in the ghetto in Ajengunle or in a mansion on Banana Island. When such people travel to foreign nations, they sell the country with so much pride. Yes, there are many reasons to love Nigeria, from the food to the culture, the beautiful hills of Jos to the beaches of Lagos.
A number of citizens don’t share the same sentiments or enthusiasm, and will go extra-lengths to prove it by taking a risky bus ride through the Sahara Desert to Libya and onwards take a rickety ship to Europe to seek asylum. Or faking a visa and risk being deported. Or stealing public funds and buying houses in America or Austria.
Now whether you love Nigeria or Italy, or you love eba or pizza, that’s really none of my business. Since I was five, I discovered that everybody claims their father to be “Best Dad in the World” and on Mother’s Day, everyone awards their mum with a mug written “World’s Greatest Mum”. I don’t argue with that either.
However when you go the extra-mile to proclaim Nigeria as the “Pride of Africa” or “Giant of Africa” or “Best Country in the entire world” that’s when I start getting worried if you have a high fever.
Fine, let’s look at some statistics.
1. Based on amount squandered and lost in bunkering activities, inflated contracts and corruption, of an income of $81 billion per year, Nigeria is the most corrupt nation in the world.
2. Nigeria in 2013 was rated the worst country to be born based on welfare and prosperity projection.
3. Nigerians are 1/5th the total population of Black Africa.
4. Nigeria has 5 of the 10 richest pastors in the entire world, with net worth’s according to Forbes, from $10-150 million. They are Pastors, David Oyedepo, E. A. Adeboye, Chris Oyakhilome, Mathew Ashimolowo and Temitope Joshua.
5. Nigeria has the 4th highest number of poor, living under a dollar a day in the entire world. 100 million are ‘destitute’ according to figures from the NBS (National Bureau of Statistics).
6. Nigeria, the biggest economy in Africa is 160th out of 177 countries in HDI (Human Development Index).
7. Nigeria has the highest paid legislators in the entire world!
I could go on but let’s stop here because this isn’t a book of Lamentations. My point is simple. There’s a lot of work to be done by our generation to reverse this trend. If the world is a global village, then we’re the ghetto. It will take consistent education and productivity to reverse this trend and catch up with other nations in terms of human capital development and technological advancements.
Our civil service should be overhauled and our document systems across all ministries must be computerized to reduce contact between contractor and civil servants and decrease the risk of corruption due to human influence. Training and human capacity development must be taken more seriously across board from public sector to private sector. We need new aggressive approaches from sponsored educational content on radio (for ease of access to the very poor) to dedicated free-to-air T.V channels meant to educate folks at home on a variety of skills.
What is sure not to help us is more religion, churches or prayers. We need to apply a bit more common-sense, ask more hard-pointed questions of our elected public officials, become more productive and teach others to do same.
Merely bragging about having 173million Nigerians with projections of hitting 444million by 2050 isn’t good enough. It reminds me of a raucous debate some animals had a while ago on which of them could produce the largest litter.
A mouse bragged, “I had eight babies at once! Try to beat that.”
“That’s nothing,” a pig snickered. “I had ten babies in my litter.”
A rabbit saw a lioness sitting quietly nearby and sneered: “How many cubs did you have in your litter?”
“Only one this time,” she proudly replied, “but it’s a LION!”
Quality is more important than quantity.
Saying that we love 9ja is simply not good enough. Love is an action verb. So we must also do what love demands- pay our taxes, educate others, be more productive and solve social problems.
Let me go do my bit, I’ll be inspiring and motivating quite a number of young entrepreneurs at Abuja Enterprise Agency later today 26th June 2015. Everyone’s invited!
Enough said already.