BY ABAYOMI BAMIDELE ADISA
Nigeria, you are now 57 years. Your birthday brings a mixture of excitement and pains to my heart. You have been crawling for 57years. Your mates are running. They are breaking grounds in technology, arts, healthcare delivery, social welfare, security, research among others. But you have been busy doing nothing. You cannot even treat yourself when you take ill. You have been flown abroad severally for treatment. You have become heavily indebted because you are not productive. Now, you are planning to pull out of about 90 organizations that ought to be benefitting you. I understand your frustration though but the real question is; are you adding any value to them? You’ve been plagued by the same afflictions since birth – epileptic electricity, terrible social infrastructure, corruption, insecurity, food shortages, diseases among others; yet you have refused to address them.
Your brother, Rwanda had a civil war in 1994, today, he has healed his wound and erased his scar. You had a similar experience 50 years ago and it is still haunting you.
Your brothers, Sweden and The Netherlands are closing their prisons because there are no criminals to fill them. Your youths look to crime to survive your flip-flopping economy.
You have the highest number of out of school children in the world. You are the second country with the highest number of HIV/AIDS carriers in the world. The United Nations says there are 350million small arms and illegal weapons in your courtyard alone.
While I felicitate with you on your 57th anniversary, I hope you will seriously start solving your problems. The world has left you behind in all spheres. Your oil will soon become worthless because the world has moved on to cleaner energy solutions. France and The Netherlands have constructed solar panel roads to generate power and charge electric cars as they drive on them. Already, there are 650,000 electric cars running on different roads in China. By 2040, there will not be a single car running on gas or diesel in the United Kingdom and France.
On February 22, 2017, your brother Denmark generated enough energy with its wind turbines to power the entire country for the day. Maybe I should remind you that the population of the country is just 5.6 million.
Your distant brother Costa Rica now meets a huge amount of its energy needs using hydroelectric, geothermal, solar, wind, and other low-carbon sources. It aims to be entirely carbon-neutral by 2021.
Your cousin Germany leads the world in solar PV capacity as it now meets as much as 78 percent of a day’s electricity demand from renewables.
The question is; what are you doing with your water, wind, air and other energy sources? Your ‘oil customers’ are exploring new frontiers. Stop exploring oil in the northeast and start looking into the future. Do you need prophets to tell you that soon, there will be no market for your oil?
I hope you still remember your old customer, Ethiopian Airways. Remember that in the 80s, the airline used to do its C-check (aircraft maintenance) in the hangers of Nigerian Airways, one of your premium assets. Today, Ethiopian Airways has become the largest and most prosperous airline in Africa, employing more than 12,000 workers. Your own airline, Nigerian Airways is dead. Airlines operating in your domain now have to travel abroad to do their C-Check. Oh, before I forget, do you remember that in 1985, Nigeria Airways had 17 planes while Emirates had just 3? Today, Emirates has moved on. It now has 244 planes while you have none.
Your brother, Monaco is the second smallest country in the world but it boasts of the highest life expectancy, with citizens living an average of 89.73 years. Your neighbor, Botswana prides himself with life expectancy of 64.49 years. Your own citizens will be lucky to live up to 54 years.
Your children are no longer united. They have endured years of neglect. The only thing uniting them is their powerlessness. Some of them wanted out, some of them want to endure but the reality is, what lies ahead of their painful wait? Nothing is inspiring confidence. If you must match up with your mates, you have to rekindle hope in your children. Only honest and inclusive governance can ignite the passion to succeed as a people.
All the agitations confronting you today are borne out of bad governance. Agitation for secession will melt away not in the face of the searing heat of war but an assurance of a future for all. What has happened to the Nigerian dream? Do citizens still believe this dream? Where will Nigeria be in 20 years?
Abayomi Bamidele Adisa is a programmes producer at TVC News