NIGERIA: The Infant That Refuses To Grow Up By Abai Francis

updated 07 Jul, 2024

After more than a 100 years of amalgamation between the Northern province and the Southern province, and over 60 years of independence from British colonial rule, Nigeria ought to have dominated by now the African continent as the Giant of Africa she is often touted to be. She has no reason to fail as she is naurally endowed, just as a beautiful woman with sexual curves as the country is blessed abundantly with human and natural resources. But sadly today, what do we have instead?

When I was a child, I was cared for by my parents who showed me much parental affection. Whenever I fell sick, they would pamper me with all that they had. And so, even when I was recuperating faster, I would always pretend with the aim to create an impression in their minds that the process of recovery was slow, just so I could continue to get all the attention and benefits I needed from them.

It came to a point in my youth age that I prayed to the Almighty God that I don't ever want to grow up. You need not ask "Why?" as it was obvious that I just didn't want such care I received from my parents to wane out. I wanted to remain an infant all my life so my parents would continue to provide me with all of my needs. Such a childish mentality but one with genuine intentions. But to cut a long story short, I came to the realisation that there were more benefits to be gained as an adult than being a child.

As outrageous my decision as a youth might sound, looking back all these years, I have come to notice that, that is exactly what Nigeria my beloved country has become. She simply doesn't want to grow up!

After more than a 100 years of amalgamation between the Northern province and the Southern province, and over 60 years of independence from British colonial rule, Nigeria ought to have dominated by now the African continent as the Giant of Africa she is often touted to be. She has no reason to fail as she is naurally endowed, just as a beautiful woman with sexual curves as the the country is blessed abundantly with human and natural resources.

If Nigeria had grown up, she would have made great strides by now in all sectors of her economy, and especially in this 21st century, she would have made inroads into the global community by increasing her influence in world politicking beyond the shores of Africa.

But sadly today, what do we have instead? For starters, after over 60 years that crude oil was discovered in the southern parts of the country, as it stands today, Nigeria can't boast of an oil and gas sector that can compete with global industrial players in Africa and the world at large. While she had initially set up some refineries in Warri (Delta), in Port-Harcourt (Rivers) and in Kaduna, all of them became comatose overtime. When she would by now be supplying not only crude but processed petroleum products all over the world, she is instead stuck with the unprogressive cycle of exporting her crude and in return re-importing same as refined petroleum products at a higher price. By so doing, jobs are lost leading to poverty and unemployment. Rather than becoming an industrialised nation, she opted for becoming a consuming nation which has stunted her progress leading to slow infrastructural development that cannot meet the needs of a growing population.

Secondly, Nigeria's leadership is also one that has remained stunted, if not regressive, over the years. Her leadership positions are still being contested in a new age by old eggs whose times of hatching had since expired, and as such are unproductive. Those who, from the analogue age of the 1970's and the 80's that were dominant in the country's politics then are still very much active players today in a digital age. Rather than become Elder Statesmen, they have refused to grow old by their putting on jeans, sweat shirts, canvas, and even sagging, in an attempt to appear much younger to the new generation. And so, we have analogue leaders vying to occupy leadership positions that are currently digital in form. And the result is slugginess and a redundant style of governance that tends to inhibit growth.

Thirdly, after decades of making inroad into the international market with her varieties of agricultural produce such as groundnut, palm oil, cocoa, rubber, cassava, etc. Nigeria has simply refused to sustain, if not improve on her agricultural ratings. Today, the groundnut pyramid has disappeared; Malaysia who once came to research Nigeria's palm oil industry has overtaken the country as one of the net exporter of palm produce. The rubber trade has shrunk, and likewise cocoa. The madness of crude oil turned hard work to soft work as many citizens migrated from field work to white collar jobs. In no time, unemployment and poverty rates began to climb leading to a state of crime, violence and poverty.

With the above few examples given, Nigeria could well be likened, in the current state of her affairs to an irresponsible man, who after getting a woman pregnant, no sooner relinquishes his responsibility to care of the child and the woman. In other words, Nigeria is a country that refuses to hold responsibility in governance. All that her leaders think about is how to amass or stockpile siphoned public funds in national as well as international financial houses, or yet invest them in already developed climes in the choicest of properties in real estates. Yet, amassing or stockpiling money doesn't make one rich. And investing in foreign climes to the detriment of the benefits of citizens is a unpatriotic act, despite these leaders preaching patriotism but are won't to practice what they preach.

Back to my story. Eventually, I did grew up. It was a natural process that I couldn't stop. And from being dependent, I learned how to become independent, as well as transformed from selfishness to becoming responsible. Looking back now, I saw it was foolishness not to want to make progress by my accepting the status quo while forgetting the fact that without growth, greater opportunities won't arise.

But as for Nigeria, the black populous country on Earth, will she ever grow up?

While it is true that the country had made some progress, albeit such progression is millipede-like when compared to the rich quality and immeasurable quantity of resources at her disposal. If by now, with all its oil and gas deposits she can't guarantee stable electricity and provide affordable petroleum products, of what use are those resources? If in this 21st century that is tagged as an information age, she is still wallowing in ignorance and subjected to tribalism, greed, hatred and other forms of discrimination, then when would she rise above petty reasonings that are hindering her from unlocking the door of her great potentials?

Image: Glamour

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