Friday, March 11, 2011

What Does The World See, When They Look At Nigeria?

I saw a cartoon on Facebook the other day. It was of two individuals, a man, and a woman, standing before two mirrors! 

In the first strip, a fat, very portly, and porky woman considers her image in the mirror; what we can see of the woman, is that she is rotund, and out of shape:she has a loose flab of fatty flesh around her midriff like a spare tire! 

The woman in her own eyes, sees her reflection as a sexy,shapely, slender, sleek, work of art!

 The picture shows the man,  a wreck of a human being flexing his atrophied muscles!

His shock absorbers, and bushings, are all shot! Nature, and father time, have not been kind to him! He looks like something a cat ate weeks ago, digested partially, and then regurgitated! 

He is not good to look at, and I suspect he does not feel good too inside! In addition to this, he is balding! 

His reflection however, is a lie! He sees himself with a full head of hair, he is all chiseled muscle, he is perfection personified! 

His six pack, triceps, and biceps, are a wonder to behold! 

He is Captain Atlas himself!

What these people chose to see, is a far cry from what  is actually there! 

What a person says about himself, is never truly objective! It is clouded by how that person wishes to be seen in the eyes of others!

And it is on this platform, that we cast off on our journey of self-appraisal! 

Nigeria, in the seventies, and eighties, built her international reputation on the platform of fighting apartheid! We drank the analgesic for another man's pain, and the world applauded us!

While we were busy fixing other nations, our own was in disrepair! Our democratic institutions were incommunicado, by reason of a plethora of military interventions, and we borrowed profligately to pay for our "do gooder" image!

We saw ourselves then, as a bastion of freedom, a defender of democracy, an international peace keeper!

That was how we saw ourselves, but how were we in reality? We had suffered from a series of coups,  failed economic policies. We had refused to build on the rich agricultural heritage our founding fathers left us, and we even had our own megalomaniacs in Generals Sani Abacha, and Ibrahim Babangida!The duo refused to install democratic governments, yet they exported democracy to other nations!

That shameful era in our history is now recent history, but the present reality is shameful, to say the least! We have conducted three manifestly, and fundamentally, flawed general elections! 

We have had instances in which the Supreme Court of Nigeria, in delivering judgement on cases brought by politicians who felt robbed, agreed that the elections were flawed, but still allowed the ones who benefited from these flawed elections to go home with the spoils.They premised their illogical decisions on the fact that the flaws were not substantial enough, to warrant the cancellation of the elections!

In essence, the Justices were saying, a thief who stole only one million naira, out of an account that contained a billion naira, had not done substantial damage by his action.After all, he had not done enough to jeopardize the prosperity of the owner of the money!

It is only in Nigeria, I suspect, that an election would be in dispute, and one of the parties is allowed to claim the position in dispute, and thence use the resources of that office to fight his challenger in court!

We must seem like brainless people to the rest of the world! 

Nigeria has managed to reinvent the wheel, and redefine democracy in her own image, and likeness! 

We have worked assiduously to remain the laughingstock of all right-thinking, and well-meaning nations the world over!

Last year, the exalted office of our president, was further rubbished by the actions of a few individuals!
They decided to rule by proxy, without the consent of the comatose Umaru Musa Yar'Adua! They succeeded in doing this, because they knew that Nigerians were very tolerant people, that we loath lifting a finger to defend themselves when wronged! 

We are yet to see the individuals who perpetrated this fraud prosecuted!

How do we think the world sees us? What do we think the world would say about us, if called to speak?

We have been getting a smidgen of their views from the leaked Wikileaks cables. The revelations about Nigeria, have been shocking, and shameful! 

We have heard how Supreme Court Justices were bribed to decide an election against commonsense, and justice!

We have heard how the Secretary to the Government, Yayale Ahmed, claimed that Yar 'Adua, meant to hand over to him, by-passing the constituted order of succession!

And the most egregious of all our failings, must be the refusal to adopt the Justice Uwais Panel's report on electoral reforms in the country! Had they been adopted, we would have taken a giant leap, and joined the rest of the world, in becoming a civilized nation! 

By refusing to adopt them, we have become like that couple, starring into a mirror, and living in self-delusion, which is the worst kind of hypocrisy! 

The world has lost it's patience where we are concerned! They sense an unwillingness on our part to change: that is why they are looking elsewhere for alternatives! 

We are still lucky we have crude oil, we would discover the direness of our situation, when the world has nothing to gain from us anymore! 

Then, perhaps, their views would no longer be hushed whispers behind our backs, but a clarion call from the rooftops! 

It is time we saw ourselves for what we are, an under performing, underemployed nation, living in in self-delusion!




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