Fuel queues in Lagos State, Nigeria, 2nd March 2015. Photo courtesy www.informationng.com
Fuel queues in Lagos State, Nigeria, 2nd March 2015. Photo courtesy http://www.informationng.com

This morning, I can’t get it together and be my best self! Let’s say I refuse to be! I happen to be very perplexed today! As I sat through traffic for 2 hours to get to work this morning, and sat through 2 hours to get home yesterday, traffic induced by fuel scarcity and fuel queues, I wondered about Nigeria as a country! I am totally perplexed about our thinking both as leaders and as followers. I am stunned by our inability to learn, to plan, to use the results of what we learn. I am perplexed, that you would be abundantly blessed with a resource like crude oil and be totally lacking in the capacity to control it- to refine it, use it to create industry and use it to create proper leverage and power for yourself. Yes! We know about the resource curse but what is the use of that knowledge if we don’t use it to plan not to be victims?! Some countries have the same resources and more and have not fallen under that curse! They have planned! They have organized, put structures in place!

As I see the way we quickly degenerate from human to animals when on these fuel queues, I am not surprised that we have leadership that is the way it is, leaders come from the people after all! I am perplexed by our leadership! I don’t understand leadership that does not aim for significance! How can you have had no shoes or have been in jail, or have stayed in the barracks or lived with ordinary Nigerians, then when you start to lead, you forget what you planned to change… I am not going to go as far as saying don’t be corrupt- I think that would be speaking a language that majority of Nigerians no longer understand, but how about you do your work first?! Build hospitals, build schools, build the refineries, have electricity and make life better for people and they will be able to thrive.

I am perplexed by the level of poverty that makes you steal and steal! How many houses can you sleep in really? How many cars can you drive at once? Truly, how much money can you need? Ask people who have led their countries and had wars- ask them in Liberia- with a little tip, all that you have amassed and stored can turn to nothing! The poverty that cannot be cured with enough, is poverty of the mind. And it’s a deep yawning hole! You will keep pouring into it and it will never be filled till you are consumed!

I am perplexed by leadership that does not want to leave a legacy! But I am also perplexed by a followership, so poor (in their minds) that this is acceptable. If we all speak our good English on Facebook and let touts run for government, how can we complain that they lead us like touts do? You cannot give what you don’t have!! If you leave half of your population uneducated and on Fridays, you the rich, have thousands of the uneducated population in front of your houses, giving them plates of food, showing them how poor they are and that only you, whose children are educated, are the rich, does it then surprise you when they say books and education are forbidden? The churches! Centers of influence and learning! What are we doing with that influence? You have a “captive” audience for 2 or 3 hours every week, where is your salt? From the car park people are jumping queues, insulting one another…

I am perplexed with us as a nation! When you point at one problem, it leads right to another! I refuse to get it together this morning! I refuse to tell myself it is well, because yes, it is well with me, but is that enough? Will I have done my part if wellness resides only with me? With you? What happens to the society? When God puts you in a nation, are you not there/here for a reason?

I refuse to be ashamed of where I am from! But I will not be guilty of willful blindness! An ostrich that tucks its tiny head in the sand leaving its entire huge body as a target! What Nigeria are we leaving for our kids- my older friends tell me about abundant scholarships, sitting in front of their TV’s at home and seeing their names and admissions to great universities announced on TV- I never saw that Nigeria. I don’t know it! This Nigeria that I know has to get better! It just has to! And you and I will do our best to make it work or we will be consumed by it! I kid you not!

P.S

This is quite painful for me, I actually wrote this post sometime last year as a note to myself, I think it may have also been in March, when there was fuel scarcity as well. To think that a year later I can post the same message is worrying. Nigeria needs help and the help she needs is you and I! Start by voting in the upcoming elections and then by doing right in all your spheres of influence. In this country and to this country, let us be the change we want to see! Shalom!

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