Knowledge is useless if it does not solve problems or make life easier. Therefore, the cliché, “A problem that is known is already half-solved” does not sound better than an unintelligent line in the context of our beloved country, Nigeria. This may sound embarrassing but it is the truth.
It was in Nigeria that I learnt the word "UP NEPA" as a 3 year-old. I was just in primary school when I learnt the difference between a grinding machine and a power generator. Unfortunately, I learnt it by the experience of a noisy environment and not by education. I also witnessed fuel scarcity as a teenager and have had to walk when there was no other option. Yet, I was told that there are countries that do not produce Oil and do not experience fuel scarcity. Similarly, I have been hearing of leaders looting the monies of the Nigerian people since I was a child and it is a shame that I still do. But this is not my experience alone as millions of young Nigerians have shared in the experience of these commonplace challenges. May I ask our leaders whose minds are set on the events of 2015 if these legacies are going to be inherited by the next generation?
I believe that the world is not a perfect place –and if it was once perfect, it no longer is. While we remain grateful for countless blessings, it is obvious that each day comes with its own token of conflicts, crises and calamities. News and personal encounters of preventable vehicular crashes, diverse acts of unwarranted human terrorism, needless socio-political clashes, endless health issues, recurrent environmental degradation and continuous natural disasters now loom on a weekly basis. These happenings are globally shared because they are mainly caused by humanity. Even in the case of natural disasters, we are culpable because we have persistently upset the state of nature. Hence, the world, which should serve as a comfortable habitat, is taking a gradual, vengeful turn and responding to all of our undue actions with budding venom. That is why experts are struggling to salvage what is left and restore our beloved habitat to its cosy, protective and stable form. And every nation is trying to reduce the amount of imperfection that they introduce to the world.
Nonetheless, it is not encouraging that the giant of Africa seems to be making a snail’s progress. Nigeria is a country where the people know what their problems are but are unable to solve them. We know our challenges and complain about them everyday because of the sufferings that they bring. Yet, the problems remain with us like a moulded shell; some of them just seem insurmountable for our leaders. However, it is not because the problems are too difficult to overcome that they persist. Rather, it is because men and women like you and I and everyone we both know have refused to solve them –through one means or the other, whether directly or indirectly – that they persist. We seem to understand why things are not working but cannot manage to emerge with the solutions. In cases where the remedies have been implemented, some among us have gone back to destroy them either for selfish reasons or because they do not realise that we all own these infrastructures and resources. We have had some of these problems for decades and the excuse of colonial misguidance is waxing off quickly. Our leaders know what these problems are so why can’t we all solve them?
Are we lacking the power to overcome our brand of political recklessness? Is anti-corruption too much as a price to pay? Are we unable to control ourselves and the penchant for self-aggrandizing agendas? Are we truly united? Should where a leader is originating from matter if we are truly Nigerians? Can we not truly unite and break the barriers to the realisation of a better country? Our parents have told us stories of a better yesterday that we cannot reconcile with the travails of this day. Do we have to go through such cycle again? We are praying to God to let change happen. We are seeing that change happen gradually. But we are sometimes moved to wonder if the changes we are seeing are mere mirages. By praying for a better Nigeria, we are asking God for a miracle that is possible. Yet, it will come with a price and will not happen without us.
If we will reap the seeds of change that we seek, we must sow seeds of courageous actions and corrections. We must realise our collective failure and check our motives and transform our habits. We must take responsibility for our nation and communities and homes and rebuild good ideals. That is how to overcome the futility of the commonplace revelation of problems and deliver solutions.