MY LAMENTATION FOR MY COUNTRY, MY TEARS FOR NIGERA
When I woke up yesterday, I saw many say “Happy Independence” celebrations to Nigeria. I wanted to say same, but the words got stuck on my tongue. I wanted to write same, but my fingers could not move on the keyboard. Truly, my tongue froze and my fingers ceased. I am too much of a realist to be drawn into idealism. Reality shows that we are in tears in Nigeria so where lies the celebration. Like the children of Israel in Babylon who said “FOR THERE THEY THAT CARRIED US AWAY CAPTIVE REQUIRED OF US A SONG; AND THEY THAT WASTED US REQUIRED OF US MIRTH, SAYING, SING US ONE OF THE SONGS OF ZION. HOW SHALL WE SING THE LORD'S SONG IN A STRANGE LAND?” I will complete this by adding verses 5 and 6. IF I FORGET THEE, O NIGERIA, LET MY RIGHT HAND FORGET HER CUNNING. IF I DO NOT REMEMBER THEE, LET MY TONGUE CLEAVE TO THE ROOF OF MY MOUTH; IF I PREFER NOT NIGERIA ABOVE MY CHIEF JOY. It gets harder every day to sing the song for Nigeria when we see and hear all that is happening. I feel so sad as my heart flashes back to Nigeria. I can ALMOST say nothing about the nation of Nigeria that brings joy except I am philosophizing. Many have accepted it so. Even to say these days I am a Nigeria brings some fear and shame at the frontiers as your documents are searched with military diligence and your face scanned with stronger focus as soon as those words drop. Ah Nigeria why? I was told to join politics to make things better, but I am afraid to do so because I have known trusted friends and Christians who have taken sides with political parties and today, they have turned liars. This is because they no longer see and tell the truth but vehemently defend evil. As soon as they teamed up with these parties, they killed the truth. Why will I want to be like them and be a truth killer? Secondly, I learnt that to go through the primaries in Nigeria to be elected as a senator, you need at least 20 million Naira. In my adopted country, you need just a double digit of dollars to register to run for elections. So, where will I get the money even if I want to compete in the elections? What about the bitterness that follows, which may get me killed as I may need body guards which I do not have the money to hire.
In my country of Nigeria, Churches are now like business centres while Mosques really do not exist. They are just buildings full of people who have nothing to do with Allah but they are there because their parents were or are. How are the mighty fallen. You talk about the speed at which the UAE sprang to prominence that today many want to go there for holidays. As a child, I never knew if there was a country like Dubai. In less than 30 years UAE has turned around and today, many of our dignitaries in Nigeria have homes in Dubai, albeit with Nigeria’s stolen money. What about Rwanda, that was in total ruins a few years ago but today it is an ensign to many. Granted, the leader operates like a dictator but many Nigerians are turning to Rwanda for hope. I heard that Ghana may not be doing too well but their electricity is 75 percent efficient and they are even forcing Nigerians out just like South Africa is doing. We have become the scum of Africa. Nigeria cannot get its electricity to work. Our kilowatt is insufficient to go round. Prepaid meters are supposed to be free and readily available according to the president but I know a man in Lagos who has completed his house for over three months but he cannot move in because he cannot get an electric meter installed. But the government and their supporters say there are meters everywhere. We have refineries but they cannot refine petrol for the country. We have to bring in refined petrol at exorbitant cost, hence our Naira to Dollar ratio is messed up. Our corruption index is abysmal. Nigeria is a nation where corruption is celebrated. In churches, people give money or are encouraged to give more than what they earn and they do so without the church leaders asking about the source of the money. We donate money that far exceeds our income at our community meetings and no one cares but indeed you are admired for it. We have become a nation that admires thieves, kidnappers and killers. No wonder the government also expects us to pay fines like traffic offence fines and parking ticket fines that exceeds our income. Only in Nigeria is someone told to pay a fine of N50,000 for traffic offence when our minimum wage is N30,000 which many governments do not even pay. I hear doctors and teachers are owed nine months salary and I ask ‘then how do they survive’ All I hear back is “na God oh”. How do you survive when your employer owes you nine months salary. The only solution is to mount a toll gate, another Nigerian slang for corruption. That is why the doctors, the teachers and all officials mount ‘toll gates’ and some Christians who want to use a polished or ‘spiritual language’ simply say it means giving to Caesar what belongs to Caesar. We have adopted all manner of words to decorate our corrupt life style.
Some who speak like this, have been labeled by others as haters of Nigeria. I don’t care anymore because I know they are telling lies hence it is better to ignore those people. They don't love Nigeria more than the people who weep for it. Come to think of it, why weep for a nation if you really do not care? Do such people weep for Sudan, or do they weep for Afghanistan? We weep for Nigeria because we care. Where is your love for a nation when you refuse to say the truth? I could go on and on about the ills of Nigeria but I will not know where to stop. Is it from the killings to the kidnappings? So appalling that a government organ will advise people to tell their families to get ready with ransom in case they are kidnapped. In Nigeria, people sell their properties like homes and cars to raise money for ransom and there is a government. Kidnapping has becoming excellently lucrative. Indeed, why should the kidnappers stop kidnapping when it is such a lucrative business and they are not dissuaded by the authorities. On the contrary, they appear to be encouraged. Sadly, some Nigerians will justify the government and find reasons for it, especially those that support the government in power. I cannot imagine this in my adopted country.
Nigerians are stars in any country they go to. Many countries depend on Nigerians to shine. The last Olympic was an example but what has happened to the Nigerians in Nigeria? Do I have hope? Yes, I do. I know what hope is but as we hope, we must not forget realities. If we refuse to look at realities, our hope for tomorrow will never come. It is people who are real that bring hope to pass. It is people that see pain that can eradicate it, but when you chose not to see it even when it is there, the pain will persist as you will be living in deception. In deception, death is imminent. God forbid that Nigeria should die. Enough of my lamentations. Unto God we look and unto Him we plead for the deliverance of a nation that had it all.
Pastor Nosa Idahosa