Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Possible Bad Experience.

I woke up that morning and I turned on my television. I always like to know what is new. If I am where I do not have access to television,I usually read the newspapers online. It was a lifelong habit. My eyes were not as good as they used to be, but my need to know had not diminished. 

The news item I caught was quite scary. It declared that the Federal Government was now officially insolvent,and incapable of meeting her financial obligations. It was bad news upon more bad news!Federal civil servants had not been paid wages for six months,and there was a general strike. 

The situation was worse in the states,there was looting,and anarchy on the streets. Workers had not been paid for eight months too. No one could remember Nigeria having it so bad. It was tragic. Nigeria's reserves had become exhausted,and there was no alternative source of income.

A few viable states like Rivers,and Lagos, were still coping, they were like oases in the perched and failed landscape.

They were struggling under the strain. Many people from neighbouring states were putting pressure on their hospitals,and other social infrastructure. It was a mess even in these two states!

Federal Government vehicles were now using the newly reintroduced security numbers;they were ordinary numbers registered to government. This was to forestall the vandalism,and arson unleashed on government vehicles. 

People were stoning them,and in some cases,even stealing them.

Many prominent civil servants relocated from their previous residences where they were known.They were all maintaining a low profile. 

Many politicians,who were responsible for the problem, had relocated to Benin Republic,and other foreign countries. 

They had become tired of explaining how they frittered away seven hundred trillion naira in the last twenty years when we had oil; particularly when the price of oil even rose to four hundred dollars per barrel!

This was during the fourth Gulf War!

While neighbouring countries like Ghana established sovereign wealth funds to manage the windfall,and also diversified their economies away from oil,Nigeria,like a dinosaur, refused to change, and adapt. 

We continued with our policy of being a mono product economy. To worsen matters,we did not even process the oil we extracted. We sold it as crude without adding value to it. Today,at the height of our own crisis a liter of petrol was now seven hundred naira! People were stealing cars,just to siphon fuel out of them,and abandon them!

You required a special government permit to buy a full tank in your car! 

It was a nightmare! 

I remember when,as a young man,you could drive into a filling station with a pickup truck,and buy two thousand litres, no questions asked!

The mighty had truly fallen!

The refineries that were finally constructed took ten years to complete;over priced,and under designed!

When they came on stream,they were already obsolete! 

Nigeria was like one giant laboratory, one filled with failed experiments. The country stubbornly insisted on zoning the presidency,and the result was a succession of pedestrian,lilliputian cretins who were clueless on how to run a country. 

They all borrowed massively to run the economy as the price of oil fell. 

They gambled on the price rebounding,but they were wrong.

New technologies;cleaner and greener emerged: and they were cheaper too. 

While our leaders kept insisting that these new fangled technologies would fail,the world pulled away from us.

We did not reckon with our oil running out one day!

At one point we were even selling our oil on credit! 

The technologies did not fail,instead, Nigeria failed.


It was election year,and there were no candidates coming forward!

Announcements were made every hour on national television for people to put themselves forward for service: but there were no takers. 

The chalice was poisoned!

The ECOWAS,  the AU,and the UN, were holding a joint meeting on how to bail out this nation. 

It was sad to see. 

This was a nation that in the year 2007,had over $46 Billion in foreign reserves! The international organizations remembered how Nigeria had been a robust contributor to peacekeeping missions in the past. 

It was looking like the country might now require peace keepers to maintain law  and order. 

Policemen,and soldiers,had not been paid too,so they were also on strike! 

There were calls for the prosecution of all the presidents who had incurred so much debt,without making plans on how to pay them back.

Just as another scary news item was flashing on television, I looked up at the calender, it was the year 2050! 

It was the last thing I saw before I heard a loud bang on my door. 

I woke up. It had all being a dream, a very scary, and bad nightmare!

If we allow the politicians to continue the way they are going,we may have the unenviable distinction of joining the other failed states in Africa.

Only our determination,and informed participation in politics,would prevent it.


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