Nigeria@60: A Sick Nation Enters a Coma

For whatever reason, Nigeria, a nation whose population is not known was founded on lies and gratuitous assumptions. From 1960 when it “gained” a notional independence from Britain through the oil boom of the 70s right down through military dictatorships, it’s been a case of a worsening patient year in, year out. Managing to breath but never fully alive. 
Its ailments are well known but let’s give a catalogue of the obvious all the same.
First and foremost, Nigeria is a nation without standards in anything. This was a fiendishly deliberate design by Britain. When it was leaving, it gave powers to the largely illiterate North while the more educated South settled for far less even though the resources are in the South.  It also made sure it never had a real census. The natural disunity and malcontent thus created served the  administrative convenience of the colonial powers. They knew that the new nation will never truly be independent. 
And precisely because of this, the nation has been governed by quacks and the truly deplorable eventuating in a collapse nation a few decades after independence.  
In standards, Nigeria lags in quality education, health care, roads, airports, manufacturing, security, electricity, etc. It is not able to hold its own, like Saudi Arabia, for instance, and boast of a single achievement. 
By all accounts, per capita, Nigeria is the poorest nation on earth. More than half the population lives on less than $1 per day. Or worse. Industries are shut as the banks are dead. Graduates don’t know what to do with the diplomas they possess.  Its currency, Naira is a useless piece of paper. Millions just roam the streets aimlessly while taking to crime. 
Today, the government lives on borrowing and is not able to provide even the most basic needs. It is also saddled with debts like a drunken sailor. 
Security: Beginning from 2012, the security situation in Nigeria worsens daily and in the last 5 years, staying alive has become Herculean. The government is useless and incapable of doing anything. Boko Haram, bandits and Fulani terrorists have taken over the North. Farmers have fled their homes with their daugters and wives in captivity. Their sons have run to the South whose resources and infrastructure are overstretched- living and sleeping rough.They also do crimes as a means to survive. 
Foreign investors have fled what now looks like a war zone.Worse still, the heads of the army, Navy,Air force, etc, are from Mr Buhari’s tribe and religion. Nepotism hurts productivity and Nigeria is paying a dire price. 
The People. Nigerians have an uncanny ability to hope and an inbuilt mechanism for endurance. They are also very quick to forget and are very credulous. These are not good qualities as they rob them of the ability to think in terms of consequences. They learn from pains, if they do at all. Most of them have very cheap prices and thus betrayals and disloyalty abound which makes it easy for the incompetent ruling class to manage them. They are terribly unable to challenge the status quo. They are defrauded by government, the church, mosques and other institutions because they are too gullible. Nigerians are also quick to blame others and very ready to explain away failures. 
Its aging population doesn’t seem to care anymore as the youths lack direction and values. The latter now glorify in financial crimes with the police applauding them.
The people have developed thick skins along with survival catch phrases such as  “It is well, “we are in theendtimes”,  “God will help us”, etc.
Infrastructures are dead. Manufacturing has fled to Ghana, Togo and Ivory Coast. As a net exporter of crude oil, Nigeria isn’t able to refine it to petrol, diesel, gas ,etc. These must be imported with hard currency which it doesn’t have and thus must borrow.  
Nigeria does not have a comparative advantage in anything with any nation and thus its international trade is in a permanent deficit. 
Divisions and fragments have never been this obvious and dangerous. Mr Buhari has personalized the government with so many failures. 
As we write, there are separatist’s protests across the country. Hausas in the North are killed by Fulanis in what looks like a government endorsed takeover and cleaning. Ibos want their own country as does the Yorubas.
A sense of purpose is not in the psyche and collective cosmology of Nigeria. Namely that, the nation doesn’t know why it exist. People just drift, unable to plan because of instability. The people have been taxed to death and high tariffs on dismal services are imposed. 
20 years into independence, Nigeria manufactured practically everything it needed. The Naira was as strong as the dollar. Today undocumented Indians, Chinese,Lebanese and a local, Dangote, have taken over the provision of substandard products and services. People say that they neither pay import duties nor taxes. All the roads in Nigerian have been corroded by Dangote trucks. He is untouchable and above the law. He is also from the North. 
On the highways,police  and allied personnel  have turned to begging, extortion and crimes. To put it mildly, the system has failed.
President Mohammadu Buhari gave a speech today to mark the occasion. It was filled with lies and shows more lack of vision. 
The current quagmire cannot go on for much longer. It’s like a patient on life support for decades with one doctor after another doing more damage and no hope of recovery. 
When this happens, that the system will come to an end is a question of time.And some think that the time to fold up the country is now. They may be right. 

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