NIGERIA HAS NOT FAILED!

NIGERIA HAS NOT FAILED

I was spreading my washed clothes one afternoon [23-04-2013] when ‘it’ suddenly crossed my mind…

It’s been repeated on innumerable occasions, through several means; television, radio, newspapers, social networks, bear parlours, collegiate debates, gossip joints etc. that NIGERIA is not only a failing nation, but an already failed and irredeemable one.

It is said that NIGERIA is a doomed country, a marriage grounded on duress and mistake, a company about to liquidate, a time-bomb waiting to explode. In fact, a particular politician has developed the habit of uttering the view that ‘the ship of the Nigerian state is heading towards {an avoidable} cataract, iceberg and oxbow lakes.’ And, fortunately or unfortunately, that is the view of the majority, excluding, of course, the ‘microscopic few’ who feed off the woes, hunger and misery of the masses.

However, putting sentiments aside, and focussing solely on reality; how true can we say this viewpoint is?

I’m sure it is obvious already, from the title of this write-up; that I disagree with the notion, even though I definitely am not part of the parasitic ‘microscopic few’. So what exactly is my thought respecting the issue.

I believe Nigeria is not a failure. But neither can she be labelled a success.         I believe just as we cannot call a particular course (or subject, as the case may be) a failure or success, we cannot call ‘Nigeria’ the same.

What am I trying to say? Only students fail or succeed. They fail or pass particular courses. And since Nigeria is not a student, {just a subject or ‘a mere geographical expression’ as Chief Obafemi Awolowo once put it} she has neither failed nor succeeded. Thus, the accurate proposition should not be ‘NIGERIA has FAILED’ or ‘NIGERIA is a FAILED STATE’; it ought to be; ‘NIGERIANS have FAILED NIGERIA!’

In school, we have easy courses {e.g. General studies, use of English etc.} and difficult ones {e.g. advanced mathematics, programming, physics etc.}. If we are to categorise Nigeria into one of these two broad types, she would be a very easy course to pass, easier than English language, easier than religious studies and even easier than ‘nullology’, the study of nothing, if there’s anything such thing. This is so because she has all the resources in the world to make even a dullard pass. Yet, Nigerians have failed her.

The question to ask now, I guess, is WHY? Why have we failed our fatherland despite her rich and copious mineral resources? Why have we failed our country despite her possessing a more than enough {fresh and youthful} human resources? Why have Nigerians failed Nigeria, even though she is very easy to pass? Why, oh why? Is it that we are that daft? I don’t know. But in a country where hundreds of people die daily in the most despicable ways and yet the number one figure finds it easy to engage in political crusades; a country where little children are being raped, sold, kidnapped and murdered, yet all the parliament thinks of is a raise in allocation; a country where genuine justice is incessantly slaughtered on the altar of cupidity; what else do we expect? It is not that we are too daft to succeed, just that everyone is too busy ‘surviving’ {even if it’s at others detriment}, to care about the greater good. We are too busy salivating for political appointments and governmental contracts to remember that others also deserve a good life; and even a life at all. We are too busy chasing money; fame and comfort that we fail to see the big picture, to be concerned about the verdicts of posterity.

And until that changes, we will keep failing this country. We will keep having a ‘carry-over’ of the vicious cycle of corruption and poverty and insecurity.

This article is not aimed at highlighting the many problems bedevilling this country, because we do not just already know them, we, as a matter of fact; sensually perceive them on a daily basis. Again, it is not that I have set out to postulate solutions to these problems, as an ignorance of the way-out of our predicament has never been a problem for us as well; it is the will cum the zeal to follow them through that we lack.

I have only thought it worthwhile to correct the popular, but erroneous notion that Nigeria has failed. No! She hasn’t; because she is inanimate, she is lifeless, and she makes no decisions to determine her well-being or otherwise.

It is we, Nigerians, that have failed the Nigerian subject.

It is we, Nigerians, that have failed the Almighty, our teacher.

It is we who have failed ourselves.

Nigeria has not failed; rather she is failed.

NIGERIA: A FAILED STATE?

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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.