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The Crawling Giant

The Irish poet, William Butler Yeats, in the lines of his historic poem “the second Coming” said “turning and turning in the widening gyre, the falcon cannot hear the falconer; things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, the blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned; the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity”. These magical lines unfortunately quite encapsulates in its entirety, the throes of events that have bedeviled the Nigerian state.

A glimpse at the state of affairs in our country Nigeria actually depicts the fact that things are falling apart or better still already fallen apart. Things are moving from bad to worse, the whole country has been turned into bedlam. If it is not insurgency and terrorism today, it will be religious fundamentalism; if it is not sectionalism or tribalism, it would be bad governance; if it is not daylight robbery, then one would fall under the hammer of yahoo boys; if it is not rape and other forms of sexual abuses, it will be serial murders and kidnaps. If it is not the epileptic power supply, it would be unpaid salaries. The list is endless. The only thing normal in Nigeria is that things are abnormal, thus normality still awes us.

Every day the country seems to be broken into many shards that cannot be reassembled. We have become a giant with broken feet. Nigeria already marked her fifty-ninth anniversary as an independent nation, yet has nothing to show. We have kept on moving in perfect circles without actually progress. After passing through the hellish hunch of colonialism and the dreary furnace of military government, things have snarled up. Even with a civilian government, nothing has changed, Nigeria still remains the poverty capital of the world, the soles of graduates still pummel the streets, our youths still prefer the risky trek across Sahara for greener pastures than stay in Nigeria, and people still die like flowers from sicknesses that can be cured.

Nigeria was not created by nature; we have all it takes to be great. Thus, Achebe was right when he said that “Nigeria is a child, enormously talented, prodigiously endowed and incredibly wayward” This brings in the big why?  Why are we still in this boulevard of misery?  Achebe said the problem of Nigeria is the failure of leadership. He may be right, but that is not the whole truth, for bad followership also constitutes a cog in the wheel of progress of Nigeria. They both add up. Therefore, to move this country forward, one thing remains a sine qua non, and that is stopping the blame game. Everyone is ever ready to point an accusing finger, but no one accepts he is at fault. It is only when we stopped shifting responsibility that we can go back to the drawing board, that is when we can look at a problem and call it by its name and take responsibility. But with the blame game, we end up in a vicious cycle that leads nowhere.

Life is said to begin at forty. Nigeria is not forty but fifty nine, yet has shown no sign of life. It is high time all hands went on deck. So that when we build roads, they wouldn’t be death traps, let them lead to our homes. That our bridges are not just steels and stones that roof water, let them, welcome strangers. And when we make laws, let it value every Tom, Dick, and Harry. For if we cannot see ourselves in each other this battle ends here and we move no further.

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