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Nigeria: It should not be all about bad news, By Andrew Erakhrumen

We have always believed, and said it severally, that Nigeria is endowed with abundant human and other resources needed to make it great. This is a fact; a demonstrable one! History bears us witness! The major challenge to this potential greatness has long been the dilemma of poor leadership (and followership)! Yes, the followers, too, are part of this predicament! Politics is important even if we all cannot be partisan politicians! We have to show interest in those to be placed in positions, as our representatives. However, what are our priorities? What do we want as a people? What kind of a country do we want to build and bequeath to the future generation? With all due respect, while many were (and still are) busy with inanities as politics and worthless expired politicians hankering for political offices in 2023, some – like those that were involved in World Athletics Championships held at Oregon, USA – were doing their best!

Tobi Amusan broke a world record in 100m hurdles – setting a new world record – at the above-mentioned World Athletics Championships. This achievement did not come overnight! Serious hard work and focus are some of the factors behind it! This is why the best should be encouraged! The best should be employed! The best should be celebrated! These are what those sane people have done where Nigerian ‘leaders’ send their children/wards to, for education, and also stash away wealth impudently stolen from the public purse! This is a good reason why Nigerians should ask questions on how these politicians want to take us out of the serious mess in which we have found ourselves; into which we have been plunged, by them! We should stop allowing these politicians to continue to distract us with inanities! It is time we focus on what hold us together, as a people, in order to ask salient questions from these incurable crooks!

Ese Brume, also an African record holder, got a silver medal in the women’s long jump final at the Championships with a season’s best of 7.02m. Ese Brume is the first Nigerian to win a medal at two successive editions of the World Championships, having won a bronze medal last time out (in 2019) in Doha, Qatar. What an impressive record! Through their sterling performance at Oregon, Tobi and Ese brought a smile to the face of many Nigerians! It was time, again, to remember that we are ‘Nigerians’! It was delightful seeing them, again, mount the podium for medals! Who will not be impressed with, and proud of, compatriots doing such exploits? We saw Tobi’s tears of joy! We knew there is more to that stream of tears because we can connect! We all have our different experience(s)! That is life! Hear Tobi’s comments in an interview by British Broadcasting Corporation’s Sport Africa after the race: “…..I considered quitting…..The typical Nigerian approach is to make you feel like you cannot make it…..”

We then ask: why is the Nigerian system primed to discourage merit? Why does it hate to put its best foot forward? Should the system continue this way? Has “Nigerian factor” really helped Nigeria? Well now, listen to a sport commentator during a live commentary. Concerning Tobi, on the starting line just before the 100m hurdles final race at the above-mentioned championship on the 24th of July, 2022, he states:

“…..Tobi Amusan; Commonwealth champion, African champion, and as of an hour and half ago, world record holder with 12.12 [seconds]…..is about making history and becoming the first Nigerian world champion…..would be a moment of immortality that could never be taken away from Tobi Amusan…..”

At the end of the race, hear the commentator again:

“…..Tobi Amusan! Look at the clock! I cannot believe it! She’s done it again! Two world records in one night and she makes history by becoming Nigeria’s first world champion! What a way to do it! What a stage on which to discover this…..and tonight she’s done both: two world records; 12.06 [seconds]. Tonight will never; never be forgotten by anybody lucky enough to be here! That was extraordinary! We doubted she could do it again! How dare we? How dare we? Nigeria, the proud African nation, are (sic) on top of the world tonight! An Amazon has delivered an evening of unprecedented, unprecedented glory and speed that was utterly, utterly incredible…..”

Yes, we celebrate these compatriots for competing in Nigerian colours. We know that they were discovered ‘locally’ but has Nigeria invested much on them? Has Nigeria really invested on sport facilities? Nigerians involved in sports perform better when they go overseas, why? Answer: better facilities and incentives! This is why we always laugh when some clowns expect Nigerian university lecturers/researchers to use kerosene stove, as Bunsen burner, in experiments for world class invention! Where, in this 21st century, can world class performance be obtained with archaicness? Some Nigerians can be very amusing! Let our attention not be detracted from what we are discussing here! Like other Nigerian stars (living or otherwise) in sports and other legitimate human endeavours within Nigeria and outside of it, too numerous to mention here, Tobi and Ese deserve accolades! They have demonstrated that enviable, almost inimitable, typically Nigerian, resilient spirit! That insuppressible spirit truly exists!

We expect more success from these sportswomen and sportsmen including all other compatriots plying their legitimate trade worldwide! We sincerely beseech you; do not be discouraged in, and by, Nigeria through the actions/inactions of the scoundrels currently ‘kneeling on the necks’ of majority of Nigerians! We will collectively defeat them! We are convinced! It is a matter of time! Nigeria will mount the podium, in the comity of nations, for medals to be presented to it – in the not too distant future! No doubt, Nigerians are unique! They are hardworking and easy to lead! They are not asking for too much! They just want to live like humans! They are asking to be led by the right set of people! As we said earlier, this (poor leadership) is the country’s dilemma! Nobody is really asking for money to be shared on the streets! Not at all! What is being clamoured for is an enabling environment to develop and showcase one’s skills and abilities. This is what some countries have been able to enable for their citizens and foreigners alike.

Thus, for that glowing Nigerian future to not only exist, and probably die, in our collective imagination, the youths are hereby challenged, frontally! The future is supposed to be theirs! So, they have significant roles to play in achieving this! They must wake up, open their eyes, stay alert and take necessary action(s) to get in control of, and secure, their future! It is their future we are talking about here! Their tomorrow should be taken away from these perennial dream killers, today and now! The earlier, the better! Without equivocating, the next Nigeria’s general elections in 2023 should be based on issues. Unfortunately, Nigerians, especially the youths, have been divided enough with inanities that have not, and will not, help in the country’s developmental quest! Please, permit us to conclude this piece with a copious quote from Reuben Abati’s article entitled “2023: Politics without Ideas” in the Premium Times of 26th of July, 2022.

“…..There are issues…..alive in the public domain that have been conveniently ignored. NNPC has just been unveiled as a new, commercial entity, in an industry that accounts for 80 per cent of the country’s foreign exchange earnings. What do the presidential candidates intend to do about that? Nigeria has a debt-to-revenue ratio crisis, with the debt service cost exceeding revenue by about 119 per cent? The national grid continues to collapse and function epileptically. Inflation is as high as 18.6 per cent. There is unemployment in the land. Food inflation as well.”

Abati went further, in the article under reference, to state that:

“Life is so insecure, terrorists are threatening to abduct the President, Senators and Governors and either kill them or sell them into slavery, and they sound very serious about that objective. Yesterday, they even made an effort to engage the presidential guards in Abuja. The country also faces a serious foreign exchange crisis – it is so bad that even bread makers are threatening to go on strike because they cannot access forex and raw materials. The aviation sector is down. The nation’s currency has lost everything, including its integrity, the big question is how to save it. In real terms, this country is on the way to Venezuela, if not Sri Lanka or Lebanon. These are important issues that should engage the attention of those who want to rule the country…..”

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