|Join Nairaland / Login / Trending / Recent / New|
Stats: 1062418 members, 1234637 topics. Date: Thursday, 23 May 2013 at 08:03 AM
|What’s The Worth Of A Nigerian Citizen? by gilgee(m): 9:01am On Aug 17, 2007|
My dear people of Nairaland,
This is a very painful and controversial topic.
I still can't assimilate the reasons behind these unjust maltreatment of the average Nigerian, while our leaders are living in luxury, squandering the resources/finance of the nation they were meant to serve; They careless about citizens of great nation Nigeria, they abandon their duties yet no legal action is employed against them.
Should we fold our hands and watch in penury, murmuring and soliloquizing, while something could be done?
Reasonable contributions are welcomed.
The idea for this article started as I checked into the Marriot Suites in Washington DC last weekend. I had hardly settled in when the biggest news in America hit my television screen: Six coal miners trapped!!!
I thought to myself, Coal miners? The part of the world I came from, such tragedy would hardly make headline news. Coal miners in our parts are poor, miserable souls. Who would mourn their disappearance, talk-less of searching so frantically for them?
But, America, their America, is a different place on Earth. The way they hype tragedies, one would almost wish for tragedies to occur everyday. A dog jumps inside a pond; a gun man invades a church and kills the pastor and some members of congregation; a rampaging youth guns down some students; a bridge collapses into Mississippi river. Hurricane Andrew blasts off 250 houses in Florida; Michael Jackson’s plastic nose falls off…Everywhere you turn, there is a report of one tragedy or the other.
Tragedy is big news here. Some publishers would almost pay for tragedy to occur, just for the newspapers to sell millions of copies. The readers themselves enjoy bad news, the same way they relish their candies, Big Macs and Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Back to the coal miners, the rescue team were busy searching, at great risk to their lives, even as I concluded my fourth night in America’s capital city. The stupendously wealthy owner of the mines, who was once a miner himself, led the team of rescuers. Videos of the awesome operation were recorded and shown on television. Questions were asked by inquisitive journalists, and answered as much as possible. Nobody screamed at them for asking hot questions. No one said television stations should be closed down for airing the tragedy.
The whole of America was united in prayers for the safe return of the heroic miners. Even as hope began to dim for the possibility of finding them alive and ever returning to the warm embrace of their families, friends and loved ones, the battle to save their souls still continues .The rescuers just won’t give up, while still hoping against hope.
As I stayed glued to the television, I couldn’t help saluting the American spirit. The Americans believe no soul is worth losing. Every soul is important and must be protected. Any American, no matter his place of birth or origin is an American. There are no second class citizens. There are no Northerners and no Southerners. There is nowhere called the Niger Delta. America is for every American. That’s why a Mardeline Albright, an Obama, and a Condoleeza Rice, descendant of a slave, can be the most powerful black woman in America, if not in the world.
This is why America is described as the land where dreams come true. There is a lot to learn from the American spirit. A citizen is worth anything, and everything. Even the poor are given the chance to enjoy minimum comfort, and standard. The good things of life are not too far from the poor. They have their banks, food joints, cinemas, legal aids, hospitals and schools.
The fashion icons like Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Nautica, Levi’s, Farconable, all have low range products for the poor. They are far cheaper than what you get on the high streets. While the rich can spend thousands of dollars on expensive fashion in Manhattan, the poor also buy theirs in Brooklyn or on the Broadway in New York.
The day before I left Lagos, I was a guest of Pastor T.B. Joshua at the Synagogue in Ikotun-Egbe. As we drove towards Iyana Ipaja, and climbed the famous second bridge, I shook my head in disbelief. The bridge had almost caved in. Even the Agege motor-road was a total disaster. The traffic was horrendous, and this was late in the night. I wondered how workers returning home would be able to sleep well before they jump up again to start getting ready for another day’s job. I soliloquised on whether government even knew that human beings live in that wasteland. It is most unlikely. The citizens of that area have been definitely forgotten.
The road leading to Ota and Abeokuta looked totally ruined. Who would rescue the millions of our citizens who live in those areas? How would their poor children who live in abject poverty and deprivation, with no roads, no water, no electricity, no good schools, no good hospitals, etc., ever compete with the children of the rich, or fit in properly into the modern world? The area was naturally a fertile ground for area boys.
Why would the Nigerian government subject Nigerian citizens to such shameful indignity? What truly is the worth of a Nigerian soul to these leaders?
Take a look at the Apongbon Bridge on Lagos Island. It has been a death trap for several years, yet Nigerians are forced to drive on it at their own peril. I am told the situation is so bad now that the Lagos state government has decided to undertake the responsibility of repairing some of the terrible roads which should have been long awarded by the Federal Government.
You also need to drive from Mile 2, through Festac road, all the way to Seme border, and you will marvel at the crass irresponsibility of our ruling class. The Okokomaiko road must be one of the worst international roads in the world. The shame of it is that as poor as Benin Republic is, the people of that wonderful country have managed their poverty very well. Their roads are tarred, clean, well lit at night, and traffic lights work efficiently, and are obeyed by the citizens. There are over 30 check-points between Seme and Okokomaiko, but there are fewer than 5 check-points between Seme and Cotonou.
Ours is a sea of madmen and specialists, squalid security agents, super touts, and all manner of jobless people.
If you leave those ones and you decide to head towards the richest neighbourhoods of Ikoyi and Victoria island, you will see how things are falling apart. There are rumours that even the ambitious Third Mainland Bridge is shaking. God, please spare us the mahem that would occur if that bridge should collapse into the lagoon during the rush-hour. Do we even have rescuers who can operate effectively in emergency situations? Everyone is carrying on as if it can never happen in our dear country. Why do we behave as if we are totally immune from all human tragedies? Why do we wait for tragedies to occur before we do the right things? Why?
As you drive on Ahmadu Bello Way, and see many abandoned state properties, you begin to wonder if our leaders descended from another planet. Some of these choice waterfront homes have been there for decades. Why is it so difficult to maintain or sell them off, if they have no need for them?
Nigerians live in real danger. The law enforcement agents even live in worse conditions. They are ill-equipped, poorly paid and treated with disdain by the super rich. The police force is the worst hit, no tables, no computers, no internet, no communications gadgets, no fast and serviceable cars and yet we expect them to perform miracles. Their budgets often end up in wrong and greedy pockets. Why?
The soul of a Nigerian citizen should be worth much more than it is right now. Let us all start by asking questions of our leaders and demanding answers to them. Let each of us take care of our immediate environment, and ensure that our neighbours also comply. This has worked in Ghana. It should work here if we are really serious about changing our society for the better.
We must not allow the selfish souls who parade themselves as leaders to waste our time and resources than they have already done. It is time to take our destiny in our hands.
Culled from Thisday Newspaper.
Sections: politics (1) business autos (1) jobs (1) career education (1) romance computers phones travel sports fashion health