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Author Name: Farouk Martins
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Envy Of South Africa May Jolt The Curse On Nigeria
Author: Farouk Martins | October 31, 2006

If anyone thinks there is no curse on Nigeria, he needs to consult his “chi”. If we are truly blessed as the most religious Country on earth with all the human skills God have given us through Nigeria, why would many necessary basic services still elude us? South Africa and most West Indian countries still have most of the same basic services maintained after their colonial rule. Ghana has produced Nkrumah and Kofi Annan. South Africa has Mandela and has clinched a position in the U N Security table easily under Tambo Nbeki. Whither Nigeria? Boy, I am envious. We need more Anyaoku, Maitama Sule and Elias. Please do not call me jealous, I wish them well as I am ashamed because we could have been any of these but for the distrust that our love of money can easily overcome us. Trust is greater than money. While trust is everything, money is not. Some of these positions may not even have to do with money. As we betray our ability to manage on a grand scale, others may quiver about a Nigerian in a revere position as we had in World Health Organization under Professor Lambo. I do not know who put Fatwa or a curse on Nigeria, but our skilful potentials are now a frequent waste in our skies. Not even the old Nigeria Airways wasted so many men of substance in such a short period. It is expensive to fly in Nigeria and those who do are not men and women of small means. Many of them are honest people trying to manage their time by flying. However, we have heard stories in various circles that all these are not accidents. Some of them are sabotages, lack of maintenance or prudent management as a result of greed or maximum profits and some of them are prayers from the oppressed to punish the big men that squander our wealth. Haven’t you heard of Mountain of Fire fire? Whichever of these stories are true, there are collateral damages here because some of these people have never been part of the ruling class or vulture culture and they have paid dearly with their lives leaving their families helpless. Each time disaster strikes, prompt investigation is promised. Now they blame a pilot who can not defend himself. As we cry pray, and curse, most of us know that is where it ends until the next calamity hits again. There is some orderliness and sense of competence in South Africa in spite of their high crime rate and how they jealously protect their Country from “outsiders” like us. Other countries have come to respect them as a place in Africa where there is relative order and the rule of law. My suspicion is that because they have been ruled longer than Nigeria, the western world is trying to tell us they left a better legacy in southern Africa. Even our own brothers and sisters in Diaspora prefer smaller countries in Africa to spend their money. But if they want to make money, Nigeria still competes well with South Africa. Vultures can exploit any disaster. l believe in Nigeria and I can not wait until we finally put our differences apart and put our skill to use so that this sleeping giant of Africa can wake up and claim her rightful place in the polity of Nations. It has to be in my life time as I always say, not in some distance future for our children to meet. It has to be now! There were some old politicians who warned us about what Nigeria may become if we do not take heed. Suffice to say we failed to listen. As we become complacent, smaller countries like Cameroon with less attributes have managed to squeeze us behind and represented Africa better than we have. We look for solutions every day and we propose and get answers inside and outside Nigeria from those who care enough to study the Country. Yet, we still have not moved forward because we can not get ourselves together. We biker so much, all the solutions are neglected out of spite. We watch as our African brothers and sister heckled us and sometimes derided us. Our comfort is in money and how much we can ostentatiously display. We are conspicuous spenders who delight in tiny personal adventures. Our cars are the finest even though we do not have a factory in production. Our fine independent women, not all, can see money through any pocket or bank account without x-ray glasses. But our treatment or contempt of the poor is probably the worst I have ever personally seen. Others may differ. May God have mercy if the curse of the oppressed and the poor is the cause of all these disaster in the air, on the land and in our polity. It could be our greed to remain president for life unlike South Africa, to contest gubernatorial seats in two or three states in the name of fairness while the indigenes can not get their chances in one. Those who can shout the loudest demand privileges in two or three states but can care less about those without opportunity in one state. They use the other state as spare tire in case they can not get their wish in one. Then lecture us on “civilized societies”: who oppress and cage their own minorities while dangling opportunities of one in a million to new comers. As the masses get poorer, extended family help dwindles. Desperate people out of deprivation rain curses on their oppressors, wishing them dire consequences in their Friday prayers. The same is true about middle class Nigerians in Diaspora whose true preference would be just a basic comfortable place at home. They called on “Baba”, small pox in Ondo area, to deal ruthlessly with oppressors in Nigeria that called them weaklings who can not survive at home. Others compare Nigeria to USA, Britain or France. Why not South Africa, Ghana or Botswana? Or better still create model communities in Nigeria? Sure, what happens to old FESTAC now? Abuja is next! The solution lies in our hands and we know it. It may take more than South Africa to jolt us into the position of leadership in Africa. It may take countries like Benin Republic, where many Nigerian go these days to get away from the madness. They travel far, wide and worldly: as they are spotted in places like Kano, Idiroko, Cotonou and Accra. Yes ke! It is like the story of who use their small talents and those who kept their many talents. We need to wake up fast as we become the laughing stalk of Africa - Nigerians can’t fly a plane! Our salvation is no where else but Nigeria. A prize has just been established for African head of State who quit in time and manages the resources competently by a Sudanese born businessman in London. Sorry sir, commendable effort for other African leaders but in Nigeria five million dollars is peanuts to our politicians. When African elders say “Adagba ma ronu”, that is others with talents outperform those with higher potentials. Our pride of nurturing other African countries and watching them pass us by may be too much to bear. It should lead us to greater heights not jealousy. Farouk Martins, Omo Aresa

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