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MAMA NAIJA AND THE FORTY THIEVES

James Lisandro captures the frustration of young Nigerians and new realities

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This country called Naija sha! In USA, people invent Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft to become billionaires. Okay, that is too far. In neighbouring Ghana, they stabilize electricity and foster native entrepreneurship to give fight global economic recession. Here, “we” invent skilled procedures for systematic looting, cerebral methods of insidious embezzlement and collusion for fund misappropriation to get ahead of the laboring Nigerian citizenry and her hard-working entrepreneurs. Now, some of the rich politicians in Nigeria have successfully proven that it takes more than money to build a country. It takes self-motivated martinets and altruists (which are yet to exist) to move this nation out of this rot; not a coterie of canters pushing indulging this nation to its point of debacle. Politics and money are inputs for effective statesmanship and all parties and partisans know this fact. So, is that why they steal resources from the nation’s treasury? It is amazing that no member of the Nigerian Association of Professional Looters (NAPL) has emerged on the Forbes list of top 100 billionaires in spite of their unreserved penchant for purloining our monies.

Today, it is no longer absurd for people to embezzle millions in this country because court processions often lead to circuitous jubilations. When accused statesmen swear in court houses, they only crack jokes. When their lawyers verbalise defenses, we hear professional lies. And then the judges pronounce ambiguous verdicts, the kinds that either confuse the press and general public or justify the dubiousness of such judgments. What is questionable is how billions of Naira can sink down the drain of private accounts or lay idle in residential water tanks (the new type of personal banking). Considering how resourceful our country is, with all the natural and human resources, it is painful to remember that we are of one the third world countries, groping in the darkness we have chosen.

But what is the motivation of youths against the background of these disheartening occurrences? What do you do in a country where everything depends on who you know or the “gifts” you can give people? As proletarians, how do we feed and live when our properties are utterly endangered by the presence of desperate vagabonds and armed thieves who cannot access Abuja? Those in the police force cannot be emulated, those in the judiciary cannot be trusted and those in Abuja cannot promise anything. So, from where should our inspiration emerge? These are difficult times. These are tempest seasons. This is the life we never envisaged. Like me, are you rarely tempted to ask yourself why you were born into this generation, under these leaders?

I am young but I know things. I know of a former deputy governor who did not finish secondary school and yet built an invidious mansion on the street next to my parents’ residence in the Southwest of Nigeria. Another instance; in year 2006, I mistakenly registered my presence in a political party proceeding at a prominent senator’s abode wherein discussions on pre-electoral cash distribution, maintenance of illegal tollgates and unthinkable rigging ideas were ongoing. Little wonder why I was searched painstakingly and my camera was almost busted as I accompanied an older cousin and his allies to a meeting they had termed “our relaxation centre”. The anchor of the event, a prevailing local government chairman back then, was not even a university graduate. NO, he did not even get an “E” in Engineering Analysis. His spoken English was armed with a reckless machine gun. Ah, I thank the heavens for saving me with an invisible bullet proof! Do you know things too? Do you know why NITEL was transformed into a disaster? Why Transcorp died? Why our population (which should be a blessing) seems like a curse and the cause of unemployment? We all know things!

But there are many things I do not know too. And, I need fast answers. I do not know the meaning of cabals and cartels. I do not know who the people in Abuja are? Are they foreigners or human beings of our semblance? Who is our president? Is he the president of Nigeria or the president of non-cabalists? Why did I go to school and why are gang leaders, political thugs, venal policemen and compromising public office holders more comfortable than well-educated Nigerians? I do not know and want to know. Why is the cost of governance more expensive than our education’s budgetary allocation? What does the future hold for the youth? If there are no jobs and the ones available cannot ignite my dreams, what then should I do? If I cannot be an entrepreneur, who can I be? I often dream of a better Nigeria and see great things that make my countenance glow with happiness. But suddenly, I am awoken by my neighbour’s vociferous grinding machine; yes, the one that generates domestic electricity. And I realise, it was only a dream. The forty thieves are still in this country chopping Mama Naija. Militants are still travelling abroad on scholarships. Should I go and join them? Boko haram bombers are still quenching lives. But I cannot go and die; not even for one billion virgins. Yet, some leaders are pilfering our future. Oh Mama Naija, when shall you entangle those forty thieves?

Regards,

James Lisandro Jnr.

About the author

Omojuwa

In the beginning...Let there be Light http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japheth_J._Omojuwa

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