For the first time ever, more than half of the world’s populace is having their abode in cities, not rural areas. However, only 12% of these people are exposed to levels of airborne particle pollution that meet the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, these cities can be found in Canada and Iceland. Meanwhile, half of the planet’s mega-cities and their inhabitants are exposed to air pollution 2.5 times the WHO guidelines, with many places getting worse rather than improving.
That said, a fortnight ago, I needed to get to Marina—within Lagos State and I was mortified to see that part of the State is almost getting blanketed by dirt. Also, in recent times, Ikeja (the capital of Lagos State) has been extremely filthy, grubby and virtually everyone I have discussed this thwarting and embarrassing issue with—did say that virtually every nook and cranny of Lagos State is having a bad day with dirty. On the condition that it rains today in Lagos State, there would be a lot of crisis that would be too much for all of us to handle. And if the Executive Governor of Lagos, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode does not rise quickly to nip this upsetting issue in the bud, we are definitely knocking on the door of some airborne diseases in the so called Centre of Excellence.
Grime (and filth) and excellence are as two parallel wires that do not meet. And if truly Lagos State is the much ballyhooed Centre of Excellence, then what is going on does not make sense any sense in this century. The repellent and odious odor and stench flying everywhere in Lagos has lingered for too long a time and listening to some press reviews today, I was able to glean and garner that it would still stay with us for some weeks more. I hope Lagos is not fast becoming New Delhi, India, where Garbage and sewage flow freely, creating a rich environment for the growth of water-borne diseases contributing to extremely high rates of infant morbidity.
Walking away from the issue of Lagos State and the rapid rise of filth that is inundating the State, I want to quickly undress the over-pampered child of an unusual benevolent father. How do I mean? Nigeria is the child that has been over-pampered by an unusual benevolent father. Who is the unusual benevolent father in this context? I am actually referring to the creator of the heavens and planet-earth. As an effect of His towering care for Nigeria, He decided to give us everything. He has done anything wrong for blessing us with everything? No!
Nigeria is, in all definitions, a nation destined for greatness. God graciously blessed this nation with everything needed by any nation to be prosperous and progressive in terms of human and material resources. As a nation, we do have good weather, good soil for agriculture, solid minerals, oil and gas in abundance, rivers and seas with their potential to make us wealthy and comfortable as a nation but to the amazement of the whole world, Nigeria is where we are as a nation. As a people, we do not have any reason to be a 3rd world country. Nigeria is supposed to be a 1st world country, but we only grow in age as a nation, but we have refused to grow up intellectually. We have been blessed with rare and potent brains, but we have refused to use it. As a nation, whatever shall cause us to think long-term; we have deliberately developed a culture that runs away from it. Ours is a nation that does not have any long-term functional plan. If you know of any, kindly let me know.
Do we have any national project that was conceived, planned and kick started fifty (50) years ago—that we are gradually and strategically realizing—from one government to another? Not long, I sat in my home and was thinking about a nation (Nigeria) I love so much and it dawned on me that the reason we are not thinking as a people is because God has lavishly blessed us with everything. There are nations where rain does not fall as we are having it in Nigeria and over the years, they have been able to come up with creative ways of thriving as a people and they are positively impacting on the world at large. From drip irrigation to natural pesticides, Israeli innovations are helping to fill hungry bellies everywhere, but particularly in the developing world. Since 1950s, they have not only been finding miraculous ways to green their own desert but have shared their discoveries far and wide. ISRAEL is an example of a nation that is thinking.
We do have every natural resource in Nigeria, but our people are so impoverished because we have refused to think as a people. And because we have refused to think, the thinking nations are the ones calling the shots economically. We send our own crude-oil to nations that are thinking. They refine it for us and send it back to us. God has given us everything in abundance and as an effect of us being over-pampered; we have refused to think as a people. The question is, when are we going to start thinking as a nation?