I was reading a piece by Femi Adesina at the weekend where he narrated with nostalgia, his experience at Livingstone, Zambia. The things he saw made him feel sorry for Nigeria and he referred to the country as ‘Blessed but Blighted. I sat there poised and lost in thought for hours. He was right in every sense. We have all it takes to be a great country, yet we can’t be called one.
Nigerians who travel often have recounted their experiences about countries with little resources doing so well and are rightly ashamed Nigeria isn’t doing a good job managing the resources God gave us. I’m sure He’s not proud of how we have laid to waste the natural and intellectual resources He endowed us with.
The dismal performance of team Nigeria at the just concluded Olympics in London where Nigeria failed to win a medal has opened a national debate with Nigerians airing their views about the reasons for Nigeria’s failure at the games. The billions of Naira allocated to the Nigerian Olympic Committee is another fruitless spending among many we have witnessed. We don’t lack talented athletes. What we lack is the right structure for development of talents.
The number of Nigerians playing American football in the National Football League (NFL) is so surprising. So also we have a couple of Nigerians in America’s NBA. These are the lucky few out of the numerous talented Nigerian athletes. Like someone rightly said, if Nigeria will win anything at the next Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the time to start preparing is now.
Recent Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) report suggests that Nigeria needs to up her food production by over 60% to ensure sufficiency of food to her populace. It beats me why Nigeria can’t produce enough food for the nation’s consumption and even excess for export. Nigeria’s climate is so favourable to agriculture that it’s sheer wastefulness and stupidity if we have to import food we can grow locally. Agriculture used to be the main stay of Nigeria’s economy before the discovery of oil. There was enough to consume and even export. Now that we have improved agricultural techniques, wouldn’t it be easier to produce more agricultural products?
Taio Cruz and Tinie Tempah both performed at the closing ceremony of the London Olympics; they both have Nigerian blood flowing in their veins. Same can be said of Wale(the rapper), Adewale Akinnuoye Agbaje (Lost), Sophie Okonedo(Hotel Rwanda), Chamillionaire, Seal, Tunde Bayewu (former member of Lighthouse family), Sade Adu, Philip Emeagwali, Wole Soyinka, Chimamanda Adichie, Femi Oke(CNN International anchor), and several others; who are Nigerians we can be proud of anywhere in the world.
Nigeria is blessed with great human and natural resources enough to make any country great, but the country is blighted with corruption and bad leadership. Hope shouldn’t be lost yet as we shall win our battle of ridding this nation of corrupt leadership. But while we fight, we should ensure we protect the future leaders from being infected with the same disease we are fighting in their fathers. We should all rid ourselves of every form of corruption so that one day we’d be able to appreciate fully how blessed Nigeria really is.