BURNING POT BY PRINCE CHARLES DICKSON
Belated birthday felicitations to NigeriaÖ@55
One does not hold a gun carelessly. (Always be careful in handling dangerous matters.)
A personís ugliness is the godís doing; the personís lack of clothing is his/her own fault.
At 55 years post Independence, the question remains to what extent is the Nigerian state independent, socially, politically, economically and otherwise, is ours a success story, can and will it be a success, remains the subject of everyday debate amongst Nigerians.
We remain a nation largely believed to hold huge potentials, but one that has remained under-developed and continues to suffer multiple challenges, taking one braggadocios step front and scores of false steps backwards.
Like I lamented some 10 years ago, we remain a nation that loves Arsenal Football Club of England more than President Buhari despite his saintly gait, we watch the Premiership that is aired on our network pay TV stations at the expense of developing our local league.
Nigerians love Arsenal, a football club in England that is older than Nigeria, makes more money than most of our so-called "bailed-out" States, richer than all the noise making mineral rich States in terms of fiscal management.
At 55, we are a strange people, while we affiliate with a club that is miles away from home, we cannot attach ourselves to a Kano Pillars, an Eyimba, or Kwara United, at least for Sarakiís sake.
We love Arsenal, a club that makes more money in endorsements, sales of players and merchandising, yet we are situated in a clime where our States have no brand worth.
When last did I hear someone say "Naija 4 life", what really is there to be proud of at 55, we still love the wrong things and hate the right things. I shake my head, as phrases such as O2, Man U 4 life, Blues Forever and what not has taken over. While at the same time, the battle is on, as we attempt another journey of repair with hashtag #fightingkwaruption.
I feel a sense of tragicomedy, as my car is branded Arsenal, from steering cover, seat belt band and number plate carrier. I have an Arsenal clock in my parlor, wear an Arsenal wristwatch, my sons have their Arsenal sweatshirts. I know more about ex-gunner and Frenchman Thierry Henry than I know of Nigerian HID Awolowo.
I rather vouch for Manchester United teenage sensation Martial than a typical Nigerian Governor or Legislator. It is not about being 55, it is about chasing 60 with little or nothing to show for it, we started this race with quite a number of nation states but today they play big brother to us.
In the 70's when our problem was how to spend the money where was Dubai? We are way out of the leagues of Malaysia, India, Dubai, South Africa, Ghana and co. The same South Africa that we gave money to fight apartheid has hosted the World Cup; Ghana is now, one of our go to when it comes to alternative to our crumbling educational sector.
We once dreamed 2020, and with barely 5 years there, one question I ask, is would those nations we are chasing wait for us to get there, like the principle in soccer, for the table to go in your favor, you have to win matches and pray that your competitors loose theirs. Sadly you cannot get there when you loose and they loose when already they are ahead.
We have all it takes to be better than Arsenal, better than England and its entire football clubs but do we have the guts. We have combatants in our National Assembly, crooks and ruffians man and coordinate the affairs of state in our States. We love Arsenal, a club that could buy the PDP without sweat, and same PDP prides itself as the biggest in Africa, but could not guarantee a life to those it governed.
Why do we love Arsenal, is it part of the ďkolomentalĒ attitude, what is in the club, in 11 players and a gaffe? The truth is that those 11 players give much in fulfillment than 55 years has given us as a nation, they wipe out the frustration of 55 years often in 90 minutes, and trust me when I say it could be frustrating supporting Arsenal.
At 55, like I said a few years back, there is very little to show, the euphoria of an opposition party winning the general elections, has equally given us the first opposition governing party.
With all these, there is no outrage; we go ahead like all is well, feeding on our false resilience. Fighting each other, one end holds the cranium, the other threatens with the cranium, we hope against hope, holding the gun of nationhood carelessly like, while leadership dish out promissory notes with very little value backing them.
We can continue to blame Lord Lugard, his damsel girlfriend Lady Shaw, and how the colonialist lumped us against our wish, we can blame Awo, Zik and Sarduana for selfish regional politics, we can continue all the drama of federal character, and catchment area, cut off mark, and nepotism, we can fight all the Sarakis, and blame Shagari for Boko Haram, the sad reality is that while our ugliness is the godís doing; our lack of clothing remains our own fault.
The comparisons I have made in this admonition may be very crude but in the few lines I have indirectly asked us, as we grow, are we really maturing, what are our values, Arsenal or Nigeria, Red or Green, the English Premier League or our own, institutions, systems or personalities? At 55, there are questions, which only us as a people and a nation can answer...are we ready to answer them--Only time will tell