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January 8, 2010

Re-Nigeria: Confronting The Greater Challenge

This afternoon my feeds displayed this title taken from All-Africa (See http://allafrica.com/stories/201001080529.html). So I quickly sought out the original source and it was an actual article at The Brookings Institute written by one of the institute’s expert Richard Joseph.

Now I must state here that this is one of the most objective and true commentary on the challenges facing the citizens of that great country Nigeria. And I think the comments are brave. I see that Mr Richard Joseph has also had good contact with the people of the country and seems to understand the dilemma facing the population. The challenges facing the country are mostly internal. I have my own thoughts about the way to fix that. But I will make that the object of another post. But here I want to congratulate Mr Joseph and thank him personally for the kind comments he made in that article. It really touched my heart to have someone, a foreign intellectual and expert in international development (obviously with many years of experience and expose to cultures and peoples of the world) say so much kind things about the people of Nigeria – that great country.

Let me quote some of his words here again to my delight “The overwhelming majority of Nigerians, at home and abroad, are honest and upstanding individuals. They deplore the great damage done to their reputation by drug traffickers, money launderers, and other criminals”. This is music to my soul. Because it captures the tender feelings of my heart. I would very much consider myself one of the people referred to in this phrase and if not I feel to strive to be such. I actually used the same word “upstanding” to describe myself when I appealed against the rejection of my permit application in South Africa about 5years ago and I was willing to return home rather than live a lie. To many outsiders “upstanding” is not a particularly fitting word to append against the name of someone with roots in that great country. But I tell you I know people from there who would rather die than lie, cheat or take advantage of another. And they are many of them. And they are the victims of the Nigerian state. And they merit some respect and they cry for deliverance for they are in a political cage. In the old free world system they would have sought out a new world and believe me they would have found it. If you go to any foreign mission in Nigeria you will see scores of people fighting for a passage to leave the country many of them are leaving not because they want to go and become drug barons, economic criminals or destitute in a foreign country but they are leaving because they have lost hope in the system. And also because others are praying on them with excellent promises that never become.

Nigerians deserve better from their government and from the world. Not handouts, not aid, not stigmatisation but a true assessment of the situation and the will to support the agents of change and progress in and outside of that country. Mr Joseph captures some of this thoughts “The first step must be the creation of a cohesive federal administration in Abuja, in accordance with the constitution, led by a president physically capable of governing a complex nation. Second is the establishment of a truly independent electoral commission able to conduct honest elections. And third is the launching of domestic and international consultations on credible policies to address the country’s deficient infrastructure and institutions”. I I tell you the future of Nigeria is tied with the future of Africa and the world. We do not see that even in prophecy but until we see it, then we shall understand. Now I too have no idea how that would be.

Again, thanks Mr Richard Joseph for your kind thoughts.

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