The recent trending situation is that Nigeria is not a place to be and most Nigerians want to “japa”, i.e. run away.
The embassies are busy processing our applications. Some have made it to the US and the UK, but the most preferred country of destination is Canada.
Doctors are running; Nurses are running; PhD holders are running; highly skilled professionals are running; even political leaders and powerful civil servants have relocated their kids.
While a lot has got there over the last few years, a large number is in the process of finding their ways to get there. Imagine that even the leaders are not comfortable keeping their kids in the country they are leading. Nigeria is actually in a mess. Life is becoming unbearable to an average Nigerian, no thanks to failed leadership and failed followership. Unfortunately, while everyone wants Nigeria to be like Canada, virtually everyone is making no effort to make Nigeria be like Canada.
Our leaders are surely terrible just like Nigeria. But it was not the leader that made you jump the queue because you think you are the only one in haste. It was not the leader that made you dump the package of the sachet water you just finished drinking on the street of Nigeria.
It’s definitely not the government that made you bypass your electricity meter in Nigeria to avoid paying electricity bills. I was in a queue to use ATM a few years back and a young man (a student) came to meet us. Instead of joining the queue, he walked to the next person to use the machine, talked to his ear, and handed him his card. Everyone was looking without saying anything.
After a few minutes, I walked to the guy in the queue and talked to his ear that if he did not return the card I am assuring him that he won’t use the machine for himself. He called the guy and returned the card. The same person is lamenting that Nigeria is not working.
The groundnut seller will hide the bad ones underneath and cover them up with the good ones. When you want to buy the groundnut, she measures from the bad ones that were arranged underneath. So, education is not the issue. Those not educated also want to cheat. I sometimes wonder who will save the country from this mess. Then, academics came to my mind.
The intellectuals are, in the real sense, believed to be the torchbearers of every nation. They should ordinarily be able to lead us out of challenging situations. . Nigerians are talented and talent is life’s greatest gift. It separates you from the rest of the pack. It gives you a head start on others.
But it is never enough to succeed except you discover the choices that will take you beyond the talent. Imagine the new Rwanda that is attracting praises from Nigerians and the rest of the world. Africans are talented, but Rwandans made the choices that have taken them beyond their talent.
We can do the same. Patriots that believe in the potential of their countries made countries like Canada and Rwanda to be what they are today. We made Nigeria what it is today and we can also fix it and make it to be like Canada and you won’t have to run away. It is our collective responsibility to fix Nigeria.
The repair needs to start from the family system. We must de-emphasize shortcuts to success from home. We can strategically bend the dry fish without breaking it to make headway. Play your part. Be a patriot and let’s work together to fix Nigeria!
Abdelmalik, PhD, writes in from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. email@example.com