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Epistle to my unborn child
Author: Wakdok,Samuel Stephen | November 04, 2009



My dear child, even before your mother brings you to this world, I am already writing you a letter. I do not know how long it will take you to be able to read but I am certain you will read even at an earlier age than I did. Even before you know how to read in the white man's way you will have started reading the environment around you, the society you will be born into and the life you will meet and live. As a child watching the dramatization of Things Fall Apart on the Television in the mid 1980s, life was more peaceful, more purposeful, and full of hope for a bright future. Our mothers pushed in the labour wards or at homes for us to be born into Adam's earth. Our mothers sit and gist in the evenings as they watched us their children play. When we got home tired these mothers would tuck us into our beds in many cases spring beds. Our fathers leave home for work at day break, very certain that their families would not starve or want anything and they were very sure to return home to their families after work. We called all tooth paste maclean and called all soft drinks coke. We were not afraid of the dark because NEPA and now PHCN was not what it is today. We used our hands to drink water directly from the tap and did not know what a borehole looked like. There was no pure water. We learnt A, B, C and 1, 2, 3 on slates .We did not have or even see generators as kids. Transport fares had not gone up, food stuff and basic commodities had not skyrocketed. Infact we grew up to know deflation rather than inflation. God's name was not used to make money, education was for all who were determined to acquire it, and in short life was life. Then SAP (Structural Adjustment Programme) came with its ugly harsh conditions on Nigerians from 1986. Stagflation took hold of our economy. Poverty became our wealth, firms including bakeries closed shops, and bread disappeared from the tables, we no longer ate blue band as we called it. Corruption soared among our leaders, 419 was born, the military became more politicized than ever. We were growing up from primary school to secondary school through the years, and so were the problems of our dear Nigeria. Inflation, unemployment, poverty, lack of capacity building and utilization, ethno-religious disharmony and crises. The middle class was wiped off in the late 1980s, we saw all these and we were supposed to be the new breed. My child you will come to read in the bible where Christ said if you put new wine in an old skin, surely the skin will burst. Babangida toyed with our intellectual heritage as a nation. They conducted elections but never gave the winner. They botched a republic that was supposed to be the connection between the history and the future and with it, the then present was sequestered and with us hanging in the balance. Life became hell for many, insecurity grew by both night and day, universities became lost hopes of glory, we came into the university after secondary school, but Nigeria in the 1990s was at the brink of collapse. Abacha, they said was holding the nation to ransom, the university system was not spared. We have become older and bolder and we risked our lives for âalutaâ that âvictoriaâ may be âascertaâ. When on June 8th 1998 General Abacha died, many saw the end of an end or so we thought. The beginning of another beginning commenced when on May 29th 1999, Democracy was returned from limbo, the people danced and rejoiced, the new President (Obasanjo 1999-2007) who narrowly escaped Abachaâs âdachauâ came on board fire brand. He said he was born again; it was not going to be business as usual. Corruption was to be bound hand, feet and even mind and thrown into the bottomless pit. But promises came with lies, foreign exchange was burnt chasing ghost foreign investors when the home front was burning with crises and bomb explosions, tourism became the official function of a president saddled with enough domestic challenges. Sadly, my dear Jos the tin city, the home of peace and tourism was set ablaze on the 7th of September 2001 and it culminated into the declaration of a state of emergency in 2004. No one knew safety again not to talk of peace. The structure of the economy was still not deepened nor widened and once again we failed to diversify our economy. The black gold, our mono economy life wire sold above 150 USD per barrel but it didn't translate into a better life for the people except for the few "friends of silence". We had to buy our own fuel in our country at an internationally determined price. Even our police force had to embark on a strike. Thank God for the first time in our history on May 29th 2007 we had a civilian to civilian transition, though the game was not played by the books, at least the game was played. The new man came with cleaner records in terms of transparency and rule of law but he has no activity in his dictionary. As Ayuba my good friend said let the man be reactive if he can't be proactive. Of course our world became more integrated than ever. They called it globalization. As a developing nation, an emerging economy, our degree of openness is skewed in favour of imports. We imported everything and exported job opportunities to other countries. We benefit less from the benefits and opportunities brought by globalization. Even in the AGOA (African Growth and Opportunity Act) an attempt by the industrialized world to open up their markets to African exports, we the giant of Africa became loudly absent. Our Capacity utilization is at its lowest ebb and our markets (goods and money) at disequilibria. When the financial crisis snow balled into an economic crisis, we just melted. The portfolio investors clicked one button and there was a flight. Foreign direct investment of course dried up and true to the eroded structure of our economy we could not provide quick stabilizers. Deregulation and privatization are only perpetuating the structural disequilibria in our peripheral capitalist economy. As children we only thought of where to play and what to eat and when to sleep, then been dragged from our beds to go to school, children now know fear, hunger, blood, sleepless nights and all manners of tensions. Nigeria's problems became more complex, the truth has not been told, but we are only lying to ourselves which makes us the biggest fools. Things are falling apart and fast falling. The centre is finding it difficult to hold. There is a killing spree be it physical wise, economic wise, political wise and other wise. My dear child, we the present generation are at a cross road. Do we continue with what the older generation is bequeathing to us or do we seek to redefine ours? If they have failed us can we afford to fail your unborn generation since we are bringing you to this world without your consent? Can we heal each others wounds and ultimately the wound of our dear country? Or do we also become priests in the funeral of our corporate existence? Do we allow the dynamics of economics, politics, religion, class, and resource control among others to disvirgin our faith in a viable and human future? I am wondering when you are eventually born, if you will know innocence as we did when we were young. Will you and your peers be proud to be Nigerians? Already many Nigerians are sleeping at foreign embassies in search of visas to emigrate. Some who do not have that patience are using the trans Saharan desert routes to Libya en route Europe, while others are hiding in the cabin of ships to land in the Americas. Nigerians now prefer war ravaged Sierra Leone and Liberia. Ghana is now heaven while South Africa with the highest crime rate in the world is the place to be. Can mothers watch their children play again in a peaceful atmosphere devoid of hunger, fear and blood letting? Can Nigerians stop sacrificing their fellow citizens on the alters of selfishness, greed and violence? Will the rains of joy come and make the grasses of peace greener again? Will the rivers of security flow and allow the ocean of love envelope our land again? Because I want you my child to have a better and more secured life than I have, I am praying that peace should return to Nigeria. I pray for socio-economic development to be pursued and attained. I pray for the restoration of the dignity of human hood but above all I pray for the centre to hold and hold firmly so that things will no longer continue to fall apart. Powered By Credo World- Media. stcredoworld at gmail.com

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