Two men,Saturday evening, were walking jadedly across a street in Ikeja,Lagos. Germany had just beaten Nigeria 3-0 at the Women World Cup. One asked, ” Who even named Nigeria The Giant of Africa “? And the second replied.”Don’t mind them. They like big names. Common food they don’t have”.
You can’t name those men. Beating Germany would have given them a fleeting relief from the sheer hell that the nation has become for about 90% of the population.
To be fair, Nigeria’s socio-economic decay didn’t start with Mohammadu Buhari. But to be fair again, the nadir and sheer hopelessness that pervades the land have everything to do with Mr Buhari and the interests he serves .
In Four plus years,under him, Nigeria has morphed from a global player to an easily dismissible foster nation. Now it is no longer held in awe by its neighbour but sniggered at.Very loudly so.
John Kufor, former Ghana’s president is reported to have called Nigeria a “Cow Country ” A nation that used to be refugees in Nigeria are asking Nigerians to leave! They even say that while all Nigerians in Ghana are not criminals, all violent crimes involve Nigerians.
I watched with detached awe as a Joy TV ( Ghana) anchorman treated Abike Dabiri ,one of Mr Buhari’s spins doctors,with utter disdain. “Please, don’t insult my president, don’t insult my country . Take it back”. The presenter didn’t take anything back. Instead he pulled out an interview given in London in which Mr Buhari described Nigerians as global criminals.
“Abike, if your own president said Nigerians are criminals and Ghana is saying that Nigerians who engage in illegal trading should leave, have we breached the ECOWAS Protocol”? And the woman whose office tag says she’s head of Nigeria’s Diaspora Affairs fled.
What happened to a nation that held so much promise and hope in 2013 and thereabouts?
In Ralph Ellison’s novel, “The Invisible Man,” a Negro farm hand starts to stab his boss’s son ,owner of the plantation where he works. His Negro girl is in love with the “White Pig”.
After several stabbings, the White man was still standing, “why don’t you hit me back or run”? The now confused Negro attacker asked.
“Because nobody is attacking me”, he replied.”I don’t see you. All this is a dream. In real life, my servant will not attack me”
Well no more stabbings .For all his violence, he does not exist in the eye of his boss’s son and the Negro girl’s.
My point? Let’s see.
Beyond the now clearly annoying tableau that plays out in Abuja, “Arms probe, EFCC, a re-election that is at the tribunal, killing the judiciary, obliterating businesses, violence, woefully crude talks and humiliation of citizens,etc, Nigeria does not really count in anything anymore. Even with all the violence, Nigeria has descended into irrelevance.
For God’s sake, it does not have a single functional institution. Its government is completely unaware of global intercourse. It fights with itself. Nearly one month into a new term, no cabinet and the government is,like 2015, in limbo.
One question, hypothetically, though:
What will the world miss if Nigeria decides to be insular say,like North Korea( Without H.bomb of course)?
Were Nigeria to avoid the rest of the world, there would be fewer pastors for instance ,but it will be a relief. To the world.
Its news media searches for things to report. None, so they publish every inanity that a “leader” says.
“Oil prices, a. blessing-Osibanjo” “Jonathan ran the CBN like an ATM”-Soludo. “Economic hardship, signs of good things to come “- Osibanjo.
These are news items because nothing else is happening unless kidnapping and mass killing which are better covered on social media. Other citizens have turned to Facebook and You Tube for free comedy and pornography. The nation has become that dismissable.
What is the place of Nigeria in the world in 2019? Oil supplier? I think not. What is the country good at? What do its many professors profess? How did an entire manufacturing industry evaporate? Why are bank vaults hollow? Why is an oil exporting nation looking for loans almost everywhere?
How did a nation that was going to be global top 20 in 2020 become a global nothing in 4 years? Its commerce is now only a NAFDAC stamping outfit for unchecked Indian and Chinese goods ?
While the invisible man looks on, why do Nigerians ( formerly world famous for resilience) now welcome suicide?
How did a former giant become so invisible? Or was it a paper tiger?
By the way, If Ivory Coast were to stop producing coffee the world would notice. Big time. It is that visible.