Sunday, December 4, 2011


The dodo was a flightless bird, endemic to the island of Mautitius! The bird had dwelt on the uninhabited island, before the coming of the Dutch, the first humans, who settled on the island in 1598!

Before the arrival of man to the island, the bird had no natural enemies, and hence did not know the meaning of danger, and fear!

It did not flee from humans, or their pets.

By 1681, the last dodo was killed! The birds were killed by the settlers for food; their cats, pigs, and monkeys, also took a toll on the birds!

The English expression, dead as a dodo, connotes two things: the first is one impervious to change, and the second, the act of obliterating something!

Our country has dwelt in unmerited security  from amalgamation, to independence, and up till the end of the last century!

However, this unearned security, is being threatened by insurgents like Boko Haram, and previously, by the militants of the Niger Delta!

But these are still infinitesimal threats, compared to the possible threats that lie on the horizon!

A friend of mine, Cordelia Okpei, inquired once on her status on Facebook, what would happen, if snow started falling in Lagos?

We all joked about it, and the conclusion was that, many would die like flies on a rainy day!

Our record, when it comes to emergency response, is zilch!

The way our nation is set up, our leaders see problems, not as an opportunity to learn, with the view to making provisions for the future, but as an avenue to make money!

So when problems come, instead of the nation learning a lesson, we do not, instead, someone makes a killing, financially, and literally!

I suspect that if we should see snow tomorrow in Nigeria, Aliko Dangote, or Wale Tinubu, or Mike Adenuga, would get the exclusive contracts to import snow plows! 

In addition, the clearing of snow by their companies, would be subsidized by government! 

And that is how the problem would be addressed, Nigerian style!

Our security apparatus, was a joke for many years, because we did not have any belligerent neighbours like Eritrea, or Somalia! 

So our security system was in suspended animation! 

While America suffered 9/11, we never for once, imagined that one day, we would have our own killing fields, as Maiduguri has become!

When the seeds of insurgency started germinating, in the guise of Kano religious riots, and Musa Makaliki, who first led the Maitasine sect; we treated them with a feather duster, because of religious, and political considerations!

Some decades after, Sheik Zak Zakky, also fomented trouble, and he got away with it!

By the time Boko Haram would knock on our doors, it found us wide open, and unprepared! Despite the various encounters we had experienced with similar insurgents in the past, they were still a mystery!

If we think Boko Haram, is the end of our home-grown insurgency, then we are surely mistaken! 

Al Qaeda, has discovered that the no man's land, between African countries, particularly those that border the Sahara desert, are perfect places to hide from the long arms of America!

That is why we now have AlQaeda in the Magreb, and they are now operating even in Mali! Only one country separates us from Mali! 

Enough on security!

The second area of impending change, is environmental! 

We have a ministry for environment, and many agencies dealing with the same issue, but all they are, is one big cash-cow!

Civil servants use them to attend international conferences, that give access to allowance in dollars for them, and international donor funds!

In the midst of all this "merchandising" , our environment, continues to degrade! 

It has been projected, that due to global warming, sea levels would rise in future, putting in peril, coastal cities like Lagos, Port Harcourt, and Bayelsa state!

As far as I know, people are still being allowed to sand fill, and build on the coast which is projected to be swamped not too long from now! 

In fact, Eko Atlantic City, a multi- billion naira real estate development project, is currently redrawing the coastal geography of Lagos!

Someone would tell me an EIA was conducted! 


But were the findings objectively assessed, without the blinkers of economic gains,, and political expediency?

And the desert too is there! 

It is vanquishing whole swathes of Northern Nigeria! 

At the rate it is going, some of our best arable land, would become arid regions within twenty years!

The last challenge I foresee, is economic!

Like stubborn children loathe to let go of their unearned lollipops, the governors have been fighting the creation of the Sovereign Wealth Fund!

They prefer to share whatever income accrues from the sale of oil now!

Their grouse is that if they do not, future governments will still spend the money earned now!

We are just waking up, after fifty years of indolence, and profligacy! 

Norway, a country with less oil reserves than Nigeria, has a sovereign wealth fund of 259 billion pounds! 

It is the largest SWF, outside the Middle East!

Ours is a humble, one billion dollars, after fifty years of oil exploration! 

That is an example of how prepared we are for change!

When juxtaposed, it is obvious, that Norway is better prepared to survive after oil! They have invested in alternative sources of income, that would keep their country going for decades, should oil fail!

In addition, they have also invested in clean, and green energy sources!

To ask a silly question which bears asking, are we prepared for change, or are we like the helpless, hapless, and hopeless dodo?


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