When it comes to Nigeria I can’t think of a single thing I want to spend time writing about. Not the stories of state and federal civil servants not being paid for months, not about the steady depreciation of the naira or even our caring Senate more concerned with securing the votes of internally displaced persons than their social welfare and security. After all as George Eliot had warned us “An election is coming. Universal peace is declared, and the foxes have a sincere interest in prolonging the lives of the poultry.”
No. Not even the recent ranking by a little known organization (Legatum Institute) that says that Nigeria is one of the least prosperous countries in the world…below even Malawi. Not even wondering how to juxtapose this oxymoronic concept of having overtaken South Africa as the largest economy in Africa yet being less prosperous than Niger sparks more than a mind shrug.
It gets too much. There is only so much worrying, fretting, analyzing about one place that one person can do in a span of 365 minus 9 days. Everything is fodder and in a way…nothing is new or worthy of comment. There is something about Nigeria that takes your breath away and not in a good sense like in Top Gun.
Insecurity is worse. If we can still believe what we hear on the news more girls and/or people were allegedly abducted from a village in Borno by Boko Haram last week, but the rest of the country did not hear about it until almost a week later. However, the veracity of the abductions is being investigated by government but what new angle or spin can one put on this story when the Chibok girls have been missing for over 250 days and those taken before them are still missing too? Besides, Shekau III (since he has been killed by announcement at least twice) has told us repeatedly that he believes in human trade and so he probably needs to raise money too for his own campaign or even stomach infrastructure for his group of insurgents.
Many are in a tizzy about the elections – you can’t scan any paper without at least a dozen election related stories. ‘PVCs for sale’, “stamped ballot papers intercepted”, “no, just empty ballot boxes”, “how the south voted in 2011”, “primaries must be cancelled” – what is new? We could be in 1983 for all the development our democracy has seen. Elections are still the main event and when they are over, we mis-count the dead along with the ballot papers and bury/stow our accountability mechanisms away for the next three and a half years like squirrels preparing for winter. Okay – I am not being fair – it is a little news worthy when you read a headline that reads “I am in court to help PDP – Ajumogobia” Amazing. We are seeing more of a different type of person traditionally associated with elections now contesting. Typically the Odein Ajumogobias of our world do not come down from ivy league educations to shake hands and kiss babies. No – they are anointed. Sorry, appointed. But now not only did he contest the PDP gubernatorial primaries, he, an establishment man is prepared to take on the establishment. Bravo; worth 95 words.
Even the interesting interaction between former and current ministers of agriculture (both under PDP Federal Governments – is there any other type?) replete with data and quotes and counter accusations will not give me 750 words at the end of the day. There are people right here in the Federal Capital Territory (not counting the internally displaced persons in at least 2 camps) who struggle to make a living…why haven’t they been introduced to improved farming techniques? Oh I forget, it must be because they have no land, because all the land belongs to government and what little doesn’t is sold by hungry village Sarkis’ to huge conglomerates who are anticipating the Chinese colonisation.
Even globally the news is stale. 10 years ago, crude oil prices were about $40 a barrel. Everything follows a cycle, and if we were only mindful of our history we would be better prepared. Unfortunately like the Ant and the Grasshopper – Nigeria has had grasshoppers in charge for too long. Even Hollywood’s desire to move from the Middle Eastern villain to North Korean villains with the un-compulsory haircut is predictable. Yawn.
Happy holidays – one time happiest people on earth.