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I am a political scientist by training but at heart I am a change maker with an insatiable drive to correct the injustices that plague Nigeria.
 
 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

We are our own worst enemies by Kaanayo Nwachukwu

a) Your child comes down with a headache, maybe fever. You get worried, even scared. You rush to the nearest chemist, could be a pharmacy. You buy some analgesic. You feed your child the medication. And you kneel down to say a pray for him or her. A combination of God and medication will heal your child in a few hours, you think. Your child is now sleeping soundly. One, two, four, five, seven hours or more. He or she is getting much desired rest, you assume. You go to check in on him or her, regardless. In the room, you listen. You hear nothing. No snoring. You touch your child. The skin now becomes pale white and stiff and loses its sense of touch: your child is dead. The adulterated panadol or paracetamol you fed your child has killed him or her. You cry! You ask God why.


b) Your car develops a mechanical fault. You rush to Idumota or Aba or Nkpo or Nnewi or wherever. A guy talks you into parting with your hard-earned money to purchase a brand new 'original' Japanese spare part. A day or two after, your car dies again. You also need to replace the very same part you had paid for just a couple of days or so ago. You ask God why. 

c) You finish your university education in Nigeria. Five, ten years and counting, you have got no job in your own fatherland. You want to explore opportunities in other countries. You get your green passport ready. You arrive at a Western country’s embassy in Lagos or Abuja at midnight. You stand in line in front of their gate till 9 a.m. They take your money and then deny you visa. You raise the palms of your hands to heaven. You cry. You ask God why.

Do you really want to know why? Okay, here’s why:

d) It is because Nigerians have come to be known for lying and cheating. If we can't even trust ourselves, why should anyone else? The drug that killed that innocent child was faked by one of us. That spare part that got you stranded in the rain right in the middle of nowhere was manufactured in Aba or Nnewi or Lagos and was deliberately sold to you as ‘original’ Japanese part by a fellow Nigerian. You were denied visa at that embassy because of the sundry atrocities your fellow Nigerians commit in that country you want to journey to. 

e) We are all guilty of destroying Nigeria's image -- both at home and abroad. Yet, we shout to high heavens and complain about our leaders. For us to usher in that Nigeria of our collective dream, we need to first be good followers. Opportunities abound everywhere, Nigeria and beyond. But we can only tap into them when we turn a new leaf and begin to give a hoot about what we want our people and the world to think of us.

Kaanayo Nwachukwu
is a Speaker, Commentator, and Writer. He is the author of the highly acclaimed memoir, "A Dream of Canada: An Incredible Story of Struggle and Overcoming."