Still on education and poverty…

We are still a long way off the road to shared prosperity in Nigeria. It has just been reported that Nigeria placed 171 in the list of195 countries whose investment in health and education were evaluated. The report just published in the international journal, Lancet, covered 2016. It was undertaken by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) of the University of Washington, United States. By this report, Nigeria has beaten some 24 other countries to it and taken the 171st place in this competition in which Finland was the number one. South Africa, our major reference country, was 144th. That could be quite encouraging, because no matter how we view them, all countries are great in their own rights. However, Nigeria came behind the notoriously dangerous Democratic Republic of Congo.

There is so much statistics on the defects of Nigeria and her negative achievements. . Sometimes it reads like someone is after us and making sure we do not do anything right.Nobody is”doing us”, as they say in Nigerian local parlance. What is doing us is headless leadership that gives leadership only in the wrong direction. It has been there. The only thing happening now, and it has been on for well over one year, is how to re-elect the current leaders for no other reason than that they need to complete their eight years like the ones before them. There is no discussion going on about who they are. If anyone tries to raise such conversation he immediately becomes hostile or an opposition member.

Lagosians, for instance, are now all ears waiting to hear the fate of their current governor, who is alleged to have fallen out of favour with those who made him. His report card is not based on anything about the projects he initiated or completed. It only has records of the kind of boy he has been to a few people, not the people of Logos State, whom he is supposed to represent. At the end of the day, we find that people come into office for reasons and agenda completely diametrically opposed to the needs of the people they represent.

We are asking everyone to go back to agriculture. Nobody is doing anything about land reforms. The Land Use Act, one of the many frauds of government against the people of Nigeria guarantees that no meaningful farming goes on in rural Nigeria. Land is in small bits and those who have it do not have title. They cannot raise finance with it because the Governor will not give consent. Many governors are busy grabbing the land for themselves under the Land Use Act, which gives them absolute control over all land. One state governor in the South East is said to have about 2,000 certificates of occupancy to his name. At the federal level, it is the same thing. Officials are distributing the peoples’ land among themselves in the name of federal government owning all federal lands. We are busy running a scam against our people and aspiring to lead Africa.

Nigeria is exporting poverty to its neighbours. It is time to begin to feel ashamed of our condition. We have laws that work only selectively. We make policies and let them rot unimplemented. We cover up crime against the nation if the culprit is one of us, and we aspire to lead Africa. Some people say that once Nigeria makes it Africa has made it. I feel for those African countries waiting for Nigeria to lead them to freedom. Nigeria’s life expectancy is below the average for Africa. We have the highest maternal mortality and death rates of children at birth. The list is embarrassing.

Those who have been leading the national assemblyare now in the field, asking Nigerians to make them president. These people have sat on all the bad laws that hold Nigeria down for years and found nothing wrong with them. There is nothing in the firmament that shows their imprint on the progress of Nigeria, while they headed parts of the ultimate law making bodies in the country. I think it is shameful to praise men like these who spent all their years in the National Assembly hiding from Nigerians, the sinful salaries and perquisites of office, which they gave to themselves. The many years they spent in office was used to fight the Executive and for waging personal wars.The land Use Act is known to be the biggest handicap to the ability of Nigerians to feed themselves but they will have nothing to do with those important needs.

There are very few things we have done right in Nigeria and nobody appears to bother really seriously. Governments may come and go and Nigerians remain poor. It is time to show some love to our country.

 

Emeka Osuji

Before you Run (1)

“Whatever political level you have laced up to run for: presidential, governorship, senatorial, house, local government, or ward, before you run, hear now what you are coming in to run or govern.”

 

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