NIGERIA: A FAILED STATE?

image

NIGERIA: A FAILED STATE?

Presented As A Debate For The Purpose Of The “In-House Speaking Championship”, The Semi-Final.

Courtesy: Faculty Of Law, UI, Literary And Debating Society.

Date: 28th February, 2014.

MAIN SPEECH

I almost wept when I saw a picture of a newspaper headline that says ‘NEPA: No more black-out!’ I was sad, not because I’m seeing such promise for the first time or because I do not want the power supply in Nigeria to be stable. I was sad because the article was published as far back as 1988.

And we all know the condition of the power sector till this very date.

Nigeria: A failed state?

Good evening ladies and gentlemen, Adebajo Adekunle Adefisayo is my name, and I am here on this occasion to propose the bitter but factual submission that Nigeria is a failed state.

Before I delve deep into speechmaking, I think just as it is pertinent that we know what leadership truly is before we publicly declare Mobutu Sese Seko the Mandela of D.R. Congo, we also need to know what ‘a failed state’ means before we can wear its cloak for Nigeria.

A failed state, according to the Fund for Peace, means ‘a state perceived as having failed at some of the basic conditions and responsibilities of a sovereign government … [1] the central government is so weak or ineffective that it has little practical control over much of its territory [2] non-provision of public services [3] widespread corruption and criminality and [4] sharp economic decline.’ Now, let’s take a look at these one after the other.

One, the central government is so weak that it has little control over much of its territory. The validation for this is simple. Let me ask us, if the federal government asks us to resume school for the next session on June 1st, and again, Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko haram says nobody must go to school, whose order will we comply with? The answer to this goes to show that that the state has not only lost control over its territory, it has lost control over its citizenry too.

Two is the non-provision of public services. It is well known that Nigeria is such a country where the people are the government. Not in the sense that they decide how the affairs of the state are administrated, but that they provide virtually everything for themselves. It is the duty of the government to provide electricity, but we find people struggling to buy generators, struggling to ‘better pass their neighbours’. It is the duty of government to provide tap-water. Yet we find boreholes here and there dug buy private individuals. It is the duty of the state to give us good roads, but we still find people building bridges themselves and collecting tolls, we see people filling potholes with little stones.

Thirdly, we have widespread corruption and criminality. Nothing can be truer than this. The country is so corrupt that on typing ‘Nigeria’ on the Google search engine, it quickly suggests ‘a corrupt country?’ A country where the President can afford to spend 1 billion naira on food per annum, even though he vowed to be eating Cassava bread and majority of populace is starving to death. A country where 20 billion dollars can vanish into thin air and no one will raise an eyebrow. A country where armed robbery, kidnapping and bombing are the orders of the day. If such country has not failed, then perhaps I need to go back to my dictionary and check the meaning of failure.

I wish to sum up my points with the result of a recent survey conducted by the United States think-tank, an independent research organisation; the Fund for Peace and the Foreign Policy magazine. Nigeria was ranked as the 15th most failed nation in the world out of 177 countries. Even, she has moved upward 3 places from the 18th position in 2008. Meaning Nigeria is not just a failed state, she is gradually on her way to overthrow Somalia and hence become the king of failed states in the world.

This survey goes to show that the fact that Nigeria is a failed state is not only a well-grounded opinion of Nigerians; it is a universally acclaimed, globally established, self-evident truth.

In conclusion, I wish to seek validation in the sagacious diction of Demosthenes: Res ipsa loquitur, the facts speak for themselves, if only we will pay attention.

REBUTTAL

The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it’ – Flannery O’Connor.

My contending debater has said that Nigeria can be said not to be a failed state because we have remain united. But let me ask. If I manufacture a vehicular contraption, a jalopy so to speak, that cannot move an inch. It does not work. Can we say it is a successful invention just because of the fact that the spare parts hold on together?

Again, he said Nigeria has produced numerous elites and scholars renowned world-wide. But I must say that this is in no way a function of our being successful, it is solely a function of our large population.

Ladies and Gentlemen, with all these facts, I am forced to propose that it will not be out of place if we rechristen the state from the ‘Federal Republic of Nigeria’ to the ‘Failed Republic of Disaster’.

Confucius said ‘do not use a canon to kill a mosquito’. Thus, I will rest my case here believing we are convinced beyond any inkling of doubt that indeed Nigeria is a failed state.

Advertisements

THE PARABLE OF RAJI AND MAMA ALAKARA

RAJI AND MAMA ALAKARA: FOOD FOR THOUGHTPrtScr capture_4

Mama, sell akara for me now… I have been standing here since… you no wan make I chop ni?”, rants Raji, a student of the University of Ibadan, and a member of the hall of Mellanby. Raji, on this very night, around 09:30pm, is at the front of a long queue of students who are waiting to buy the quite popular bread and akara of Mellanby hall. He uses every means available to convince the elderly lady at the centre of attraction. He would shout, plead and even argue against the others by telling those belonging to other halls of residence to return to their halls and buy akara there. Why must he queue with them as he is a stakeholder in the premier hall, he says. However, despite all these, the akara vendor refused to attend to him. Why? Because he jumped the queue. Not just this, but because he does so, every night.

A few minutes before this time, coming from a programme, I arrived at the hall. I decided to branch at the stand, to get a space, before proceeding to my room. I had to do this because it was of utmost importance to me to charge my cell-phones and laptop, due to the unpredictable and sporadic nature of our electric supply.
While going to my room, I saw the same Raji just moving towards the gate, that is, towards the akara seller. I did all I needed to and headed back to the place. There, I met the situation earlier described.

Raji was relentlessly demanding that he be attended to, and the “mama” kept refusing, firmly I must say. Everybody thought there was no way she would give in to his request, there was no way she would unfairly attend to him before others who have patiently stood up for several minutes, for the same purpose. I could hear the individual staying behind me saying if the akara vendor sells to Raji, then he would be vexed as ‘ese ni o’ i.e. ‘it is a sin’.

But we were wrong.

In a little more than no time, what I can say was anticipated but still is to everybody’s amazement, she eventually gave in, and sold akara to him. Adding that if he behaves the same way the next night, he will not get the same result.

Raji got what he wanted; he succeeded in breaking the protocols, delaying the others and infringing on their equitable rights. YET, nothing was done about it. Nobody got angry, or at least, nobody showed it. Nobody strongly protested it. Nobody said anything or did anything to correct the corruption which has just been committed with impunity.

This got me thinking.

The truth is that, in every country, there are dominant traits. Traits that seem to define the people of that country. Traits that are inextricable from the actual existence of the people. Once these traits are observable in the all the affairs of the people, they will get to the centre, the leadership. And once they are seen at the centre, know that they originated from the grassroots.

In Nigeria, these traits unfortunately include lateness (African time), nonchalance with things that are not ours, the spirit of forgiveness (which does not always work for us), the belief that ‘laws are made to be broken’ and of course, corruption.

The word Nigeria is today synonymous with corruption; this is because it is so widespread in the economy that those in the government are nothing but advocates of corruption and selfish interests. It is now thought that anybody going into politics, no matter how saintly, is automatically going there to fill his pockets. We now find youths publicly asserting that if they find themselves in the seat of power, they would not “dull” themselves, they also would not hesitate to have a long-lasting taste of the symbolic national cake.

Just like Raji, politicians, who are established monsters, incessantly demand to buy the masses’ votes and mandate. And just like the akara vendor, the electorates always eventually give in, mostly due to their forgetfulness, ignorance and spirit of forgiveness. Even those who promise hell if this happens, are in one way or the other, silenced. This cycle of corruption getting rewarded with forgiveness by its victims, keeps rolling and things keep getting worse. This will indubitably go on until somebody rises to the task of breaking this vicious cycle, until ‘mama alakara’ stands her ground and refuses to sell her akara to criminals and deceitful persons, until Raji realises that you cannot always get what you want by whatever means you utilise, you cannot ‘fool all the people, all the time!’

* * * * * * *

OBITER: YOU CAN FOLLOW THE PRODIGY’S RATIOCINATIONS ON FACEBOOK HERE!

ASCENSUS ARMATI

image

ASCENSUS ARMATI
THE RISE OF THE ARMED
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
FROM CAPE TOWN TO TUNISIA
FROM DAKAR TO SOMALIA
IN SHACKLES, WE COUNT OUR DAYS
OUR NEMESIS, OUR COMRADES

GREETINGS TO THE FREE BLACK CLAN
LUCKY IS HE BORN OF AN ABBYSINIAN
FOR HE NOR HIS GREAT GRANDFATHER
TASTED FROM THE WHITEMAN’S DANDER

IN SHACKLES, WE COUNT OUR DAYS
ALAS! SOON THAT PASSED AWAY
NO DOUBT, IT IS WAS NOT WITHOUT
MANY A KINSMAN’S BLACKOUT

NEW TO LIBERTY, WE REJOICED
OUR HOPES FOR THE UNKNOWN, WE VOICED
OUR IGNORANCE DEFENDED OUR REALISING
AS A WAR ENDS, OTHERS BEGIN

ATTENTION!
AFRICANS ARE AT TENSION
AT THE ECHO OF THE TRYING WHISTLE
AT THE SIGHT OF THE UNIFORMS’ METTLE

ATTENTION?
THIS IS AN ABOMINATION
A SHOULD-BE VIOLATION
WARNS THE AGED NATION

CORRUPTION IS EVERYWHERE, THEY SAID
THE ARISTOS ARE SHADY, THEY PLEADED
WE HAD NO CHOICE EXCEPT
ONCE AGAIN, SHACKLES, TO ACCEPT

OUR COMMON WEALTH BECAME THEIRS
THEIR FAMILY GLITCHES, OURS
ONE REGIME GIVES UP TO ANOTHER
AS DOGS DEVOURING ONE ANOTHER

OUR PRECIOUS GOLDS, THEY WITHHOLD
OUR AFFLICTION, EYES CANNOT BEHOLD
OUR STORY COULD NEVER BE TOLD
BY GREEK WRITERS OF DAYS OLD

ONCE IN A COMET COME
ONE WITH EQUITIES AND WORLDY WISDOM
WILL THINK OF THE MULTITUDE
AND GIVE SWAY TO UNBOUND QUIETUDE

GONE ARE THOSE WOEFUL DAYS
NOW ALL WE HAVE ARE TALES
GOOD RIDDANCE TO KHAKICRACY
WELCOME, ADVOCATES OF KLEPTOCRACY

THINKING OUR FUTURE BRIGHT ONCE MORE
WE HAD NO IDEA WHAT IS TO COME
THE MILTANTS HAVE SHED THEIR FURS
AS THE WHITE FOLKS, THEY BE SOLIDLY WITH US

THE LOST PROPERTY

image

THE LOST PROPERTY.

The awareness of guilt
The state of reticence
The manacle of restraint
That has accompanied me for years
Has vanished as a bubble does in thin-air
Only its fragments remain
In places of extreme solitude

Civilisation has separated us
Technology has sundered us
Imperialism has disunited us
I have lost my conscience
I have lost my rue
I thought I had freedom
But the reverse is the case

Your dearth, it is, that makes me
Take to the streets in rags
Indiscernible from a lunatic
Except that I appear less filthy

Your dearth, it is, that makes me
Steal from my fellow country-men
Relegating many into poverty
Without a hint of penitence

Your dearth, it is, that makes me
Defiant to mother nature
Longing for repulsive coupling
With another who is gender-equal

Your dearth, it is, that makes me
Commit crimes against humanity
Slaying my man-kind en masse
Only to satisfy my egomania

Your absence is killing me
But I know not
Your lack is bestialising me
But I fear not
Reality is only a lid away
It is more than a big shame
That not anymore can I find shame

INDEED A GIANT

image

image

INDEED A GIANT

 

GROWING UP AND MATURE

I HAVE COME TO BE PROUD OF MY MOTHERLAND

FOR HER MANY FEATS AND ACHIEVEMENTS

INFACT, SHE HAS EARNED THE ALIAS

GIANT OF AFRICA!

MY DEAR MOTHERLAND, I’LL ALWAYS BE PROUD OF YOU

FOR YOU ARE INDEED A GIANT OF AFRICA

 

MY MOTHERLAND

PROMINENT FOR POVERTY AND INFAMOUS FOR CORRUPTION

WHERE POLITICS IS A FULL-TIME OCCUPATION

WHERE IT IS THE EASIEST CHANNEL TO PROFUSION

I WILL ALWAYS BE PROUD OF MY MOTHERLAND

FOR SHE IS INDEED A GIANT

 

MY MOTHERLAND

WHERE MATERIALISM IS THE ORDER OF THE DAY

WHERE MONEY CAN TAKE YOU ALL THE WAY

WHERE THE PEOPLE FIGHT EVERYDAY

I WILL ALWAYS BE PROUD OF YOU

FOR YOU ARE INDEED A GIANT

 

MY MOTHERLAND

WHERE THE PRESIDENT THINKS HIS POWER ABSOLUTE

WHERE LEADERS RECEIVE ALLOWANCES FOR ALL THEY DO

WHERE LAW-MAKERS CLAMOUR FOR SALARY BOOST

I WILL ALWAYS BE PROUD OF YOU

FOR YOU ARE INDEED A GIANT

 

MY MOTHERLAND

WHERE JUSTICE USES SPECTACLES

AND THE COURT BEFRIENDS THE WELL-TO-DO

WHERE VIOLENCE IS THE LAST HOPE OF THE DESTITUTE

I WILL ALWAYS BE PROUD YOU

FOR YOU ARE INDEED A GIANT

 

MY MOTHERLAND

WHERE REFINERIES ARE NOT WORKING

WHERE, BY THE DAY, FUEL PRICE IS RISING

WHERE FILLING STATIONS ARE EVERYWHERE BUT FUEL IS SCANTY

I WILL ALWAYS BE PROUD YOU

FOR YOU ARE INDEED A GIANT

 

MY MOTHERLAND

WHERE THE AVERAGE POLICEMAN HAS A POT-BELLY

AND THE ONLY LANGUAGE HE UNDERSTANDS IS MONEY

WHERE SECURITY IS JUST FOR THE  WEALTHY

I WILL ALWAYS BE PROUD OF YOU

FOR YOU ARE INDEED A GIANT

 

MY MOTHERLAND

WHERE THE ROADS ARE BATTLEFIELDS

PLIED MOSTLY BY JALOPIES

WHERE ALL CARS ARE FROM OVERSEAS

I WILL ALWAYS BE PROUD OF YOU

FOR YOU ARE TRULY A GIANT

 

MY MOTHERLAND

WHERE EVERY COMMODITY IS IMPORTED

WHERE EVERY BIG COMPANY IS IMPORTED

AND WHERE ALL EXPERTS ARE NOT EXEMPTED

I WILL ALWAYS BE PROUD OF YOU

FOR YOU ARE INDEED A GIANT

 

O MY MOTHERLAND!

I KNOW NOT HOW ELSE TO EULOGISE YOU

I KNOW NOT WHAT ELSE TO SAY ABOUT YOU

VERILY, NO LAND CAN OUTDO YOU

I WILL FOREVER BE PROUD OF YOU

FOR YOU ARE INDEED A GIANT!