Nigeria: A land of strange heroes

Sylvester Asoya

Nigeria’s hall of fame stinks.
The consolation however, is that citizens are gradually coming to the realization that many of those they once respected for their ‘feats’, are undeserving of the credit. It was a long time coming, but worth the wait.
The point is that only a few have scaled the heights of leadership’s hall of fame in our country. That is why here, scoundrels are heroes.

Indeed, this is a land of oddities. Today, grubby and notorious politicians, terrorists, bandits, kidnappers, murderers, looters, armed robbers and even “those who know how to overthrow governments and empower coup plotters”, are all heroes. There are also other characters in government who betray Nigeria on a daily basis. All of them, including dubious clerics, remain accusable in many respects.

As a people, we know who our heroes are.
Any survivor of this inept government that is not only impoverishing Nigerians but also mismanaging our resources and diversity, is a real hero. We also saw heroes recently at the Tokyo Olympics, Nigerians who defied all odds because of their thirst for success.
I am not measuring the heroism of Tokyo in terms of superlative performance or medals but by the Nigerian unbeatable spirit that is completely lacking in our characterless leaders.
Who still remembers our battlefield heroes and other security personnel who are risking their lives and defending us in these dangerous times?

For many years, they regaled us with tales of fake heroes who acted like vanishing stock characters in a fairy tale. Thank God we now know better. The average rogue is well known today, so it is now very easy to slice through the disguise. That is also why at the moment, more than ever before, we must go beyond awareness by taking action because Nigeria is visibly in bad times.
To paper over the cracks is tantamount to refusing to accept the truth about our deplorable condition.

But there are even those who are ready to challenge my moderate view of Nigeria in distress. To them, this country is already far gone. The belief is that Nigeria is in a condition, mental health workers refer to as ‘Dementia’. It is an irreversible and degenerative state where a mental health patient’s ability to function becomes very doubtful. What defines this poor and dreadful state of health is confusion; but Nigeria is also manifesting other symptoms like lack of alertness and disorientation. This is very visible in the management of state affairs by political actors especially those on the national stage.

Thank God, Nigeria’s political journey is shaping up. It is clear now that the implosion in the political parties today has nothing to do with strengthening the roles of political parties in Nigeria. It is also important to note that the gladiators are not working in their respective parties on policies that would create employment, improve the quality of healthcare or help with housing benefits for the masses. The politicians are equally not interested in fighting terrorism, corruption, reducing poverty, supporting low-income earners or protecting vulnerable young people and adults. The selfish fight for political power and relevance among the elite which is common in Nigeria, is usually fiercest as the general election approaches. So, all the threats, travels and consultations going on are for 2023 and who gets what.

Some people may not agree, but Nigeria is now a sorry sight. She is also a never-ending tragedy.
At home, doctors are currently on strike, cholera is ravaging the land and Nigeria still remains a killing field. Abroad, our citizens and even Nigerian diplomats, endure the indignities of living in foreign land. Their hosts, especially in Asia, know we are in dire straits and that there is nothing we can do to help ourselves.
The truth is that as things stand, there is no plan for anyone or anything in Nigeria. Even those who appear insulated because they are in government, do not have any concrete plan for their common interest and loot. That is why all they do everywhere is, fight.

But there is hope. The youth is that hope and the asset of a new Nigeria that is coming. To succeed, young people must be ready to study more and think more. Above all, they must re-focus their energies, leverage their personal strengths, eschew violence, work together, read the history of their country, make friends across cultures, engage meaningfully and prepare for elections.
The approaching power struggle to save Nigeria will be decisive and fierce but the challengers have a likelihood of success if all efforts are deployed. These old and ineffectual politicians loitering around must give way; and the time to go is now. Nigeria is already looking like a failed state and we cannot afford to continue waiting for a change that will never come.

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