Nigeria and the silly blame game

Fola Ojo

About Nigeria, the following are facts we need not belabor: Oil prices have crashed; oil is leaking into strange barrels of thievery; gas is gasping for breath; money is scarce; food is unavailable; befitting living is unaffordable; and the US dollar now sells for about N400.

The employables are not employed. The few employed employees are not paid for the work they do. States’ treasuries have been depleted and resources have hit rock-bottom. These are the present-day testaments in Nigeria. As long as you are a Nigerian with loved ones living in the country, you must feel the present pinch and pain.

The trickle-down adverse effect of an economy in downturn has now hit Holy Places where the needy usually find refuge. A few pastors I met in my last trip to Nigeria confided in me that churches were chipping off in membership and pastors were complaining because giving into the offering basket had withered off. After all, a man of faith must have a job to get paid; and he must get paid to pay up in the sanctuary of God. Men of God who were wont to lifestyles of bling are now forced to face the reality of life living in Nigeria at this time. Meats are in short supply in God’s house these days. The smart ones among our Holy men of God have turned to farming.

President Muhammadu Buhari and his men are striving and scampering for solution to the scourge. State governors are scratching their heads and running on their legs for resolving ideas. While a state like Anambra is creative in the area of agriculture, and Lagos is ingeniously innovative with rock-solid infrastructural upgrade and exploration of oil, some other confused ones that should qualify as villages and family compounds are still having pity-parties complaining about manna that has stopped pouring in from the centre.

Is there any solution to these maladies? Maybe. But there is none in sight.  The status quo of stagnation continues in Nigeria at least for now. Nobody, including Nigerian leaders have a clue how long this will last. These are not the days of Elijah in Nigeria; they are days in the land of famine. But how long can a human tolerate bleeding without fainting or dying off? How long can a nation haemorrhage and not pass out?

 I think I know why Nigeria has it this bad. I know why prices of goods are skyrocketing and out of the reach of ordinary Nigerians. I know why many stores are empty of merchandises and patronage is scanty. I know why newspaper raw materials are expensive and why job opportunities are not expansive. I know why kings in their vast palaces no longer sleep with both eyes closed and I know why queens are petrified that kidnappers may snatch them off their royal beds. I know why Nigerian athletes in Rio Olympics are despondent and weak in spirit; and I know why many of them may have vowed not to return to Nigeria after the games. I know why today is bleak and why tomorrow looks gloomy for very many people.  I know why; but do you? Maybe it’s been whispered in your ears once or twice too; but I heard a funny reason as recent as this morning.

It is the People’s Democratic Party’s fault! A party that was in power for 16 years and now out for almost 500 days. Yes; It’s Goodluck Jonathan’s fault. It’s Olusegun Obasanjo’s fault. It’s the militants’ fault. It’s Boko Haram’s fault. How dare the United States stop buying oil from Nigeria? It’s America’s fault too. Really? No; it’s Buhari’s fault. He could have stopped the bleeding within 24 hours of ascending the throne. No; let’s blame his Chief of Staff and members of his cabinet. Who else is to blame? Jagaban of Borgu, Bola Ahmed Tinubu! Aha! It’s really his fault. He was the one who colluded with the North and robbed the South of a continued Presidency.

 If the Presidency had remained in the South, Nigeria would have landed on the moon and we’ll be in Eldorado by now! Nigeria would have become as Japan and dollar will be selling for N1. All the abandoned road projects would have been completed, and Nigeria Airways would have been running two flights a day to New York and Washington D.C. from Lagos and Abuja. Crude oil prices would have remained stable; electricity would have been running 24 hours and millions of Nigerians abroad like this writer would have returned home. It would have been party here, party there, party everywhere if the South had continued in the Presidency. The blame game and finger-pointing can travel as far as a fool desires. What a wishful thinking!

If Nigeria were a child, today, she is an orphan holding on to a fizzling breath of life. If Nigeria were a task, she has become an abandoned project. Men of influence and affluence in the piazza of power continue to fight for themselves and families as they have abandoned Nigeria in unspoken principle. Very many among those in whose hands the destiny of Nigeria was once placed, and some now in control, do not appear to give a care about corporate Nigeria. In the executive, legislature and judiciary, you’ll observe those ones singing and dancing to the shamelessly heartless songs of “Me, Myself, and I”. Don’t be deceived by their rhetoric; don’t be conned by their platitudes. They are building palaces among millions who live in shacks. They drive Lamborghini and Rolls Royce on dusty dirt roads that have not been paved in 60 years. They eat in plenty amidst famished men and women who are just trying to latch on to their last meals and die. They are heartless. They pad budgets and rip the country off in a Brobdingnagian magnitude. They are the ones pitting Nigerians against Nigerians and riling up people against people.

Instead of charting new courses and mastering the art of forgetting the things of the past and pressing on to higher purposes, the flame of the blame game burns on. A rich country which for many years made money, also failed to make progress. Retrogressive minds have always been in power.

But blaming is not the Balm of Gilead that heals diseases.  Blaming doesn’t pay off the nation’s international debt of $60bn; or Domestic Debt of N8.51tn. Blaming doesn’t fight terrorism neither does it increase food output. It’s time to quit the blame game and get on the real game of rebuilding men and nation. Those who lead and follow must not rest on their hunches. Don’t let your leaders intimidate you; it’s time to speak up! Loyalty to Nigeria trumps loyalty to any human being who is alive today and may die tomorrow while Nigeria lives on.

Nigerians have made Nigeria’s bed with chicken feathers; and Nigerians must be prepared to snooze off on it. When you elect ravens to watch your chickens and hungry lions to watch your goats, when the goats are cooked in pepper soup and the chickens in side-order desserts, must you wonder why? Gravity, my friends, has nothing to do with falling in love; those who fall in love do so of their own free will; so don’t blame gravity for falling in love. The blame game must stop; the real game of revamping must begin NOW.

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