… where sa-tyres never go flat

From Our Allies

Of Naija, empty barrels, and noise-making

Of Naija, empty barrels, and noise-making

By: Olamide Francis

The Nigerian state perfectly fits the Yoruba adage, “Eni ti o to kaan, to npe ara e ni meji.” Translation: He’s not even up to a “whole”, he’s calling himself “two”. 

In June 1979, former West Germany Chancellor, Helmut Schmidt, said about his country: “Germany isn’t a world power; it doesn’t wish to become a world power”.

At the time Oga Helmut made this statement, Germany could buy the whole of Africa, and still collect ‘change’. Germany was a force to be reckoned with in the world, then, and even now. But, because barrels full of water don’t make noise, Helmut was humble in describing his nation.

Now let’s see how an empty barrel cum the gaunt of Africa sounds:

In August 1979, the then Nigerian military head of state (I won’t tell you his name) was at his state of origin for a “Thank You Tour”; there he said: “Nigeria will become one of the ten leading nations in the world by the end of the century.”

People clapped for joy, and hopes were aroused. The petty talk had achieved its aim in the minds of the narrow-minded Nigerians. I kuku know that the end of that century hasn’t reached yet. Or what year is it? Help me confirm from your calendar. No! Don’t tell me we’ve passed 1999 and we’re not even among the top 20 leading nations of the world.

So, a head of state can brag like that and still fail woefully? But wait, maybe he meant top 10 leading nations from the bottom?

Ever since the inception of Nigeria, her leaders have always been full of promises upon promises, without action. We should just rename the country the Land of Promise or the Federal Republic of Dreams.

Leaders of countries that are properly administered — flowing with milk, honey and opportunities — like Nigeria are very flamboyant with their talks; they’re super-proud of the steady growth from the behind that their nation is making.

Why won’t they be proud of their country? They’ve created a lot of employment opportunities, steady power supply, access to medicine, and proper healthcare. Their rate of underdevelopment is increasingly “developing” that it has become the norm. Yet, they’re not ashamed that for decades their country is still christened “underdeveloped” with no sign of progress. Well, it’s impossible to shame the shameless.

Acts such as this are synonymous to that of the current Chief of Army Staff; he is the lead singer of the chorus, “We have defeated Boko Haram”, with numerous death tolls (on various occasions) to show for this confession. He has been sharing this testimony with his “ka sa maa dupe” (let’s just thank God) congregation since 2 to 3 years ago. He even said that all the attacks by Boko-Haram are merely a “last kick of a dying horse”. Ahn ahn, since 2017? Last kick of a dying horse? The horse no dey gree die? The one who is supposed to call him to order — Mr President — applauded him and called a party consisting of his former cabinet in commemoration of the defeat of BH.  

Nigerian leaders and their political camaraderie have medals in the pseudo-image presentation of their nation. Let’s not even talk about the current state of the nation; how people under the umbrella of integrity are using brooms to sweep the country’s resources. See, one of the manifestations of underdeveloped nations is the glamorous advertisement of their glorious poverty and abject underdevelopment.

Our leaders should move from mere talking and making empty promises to action; or else, (in VP’s voice), “we will be where we are” in many years to come.

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