In a matter of weeks, Nigeria will turn 60. Each time I think about this, I ask myself if we are growing up or growing old. If we are growing up, we should have technological advancement, better infrastructure, good education system, lower poverty rate, access to good medical care, you name it. But then, everyday, instead of saying that things are getting better, we continue to talk about “the good old days”.
As a child, my parents used to talk about those “good old days”, when the country was good. Then, they will say that we, the children, are no longer enjoying the country because it has been messed up by the leaders. It was as if every good thing happened in their time. Today, we are telling our own children that we ourselves enjoyed the “good old days”. Funny, but it is still true. Then I don’t have to worry about being abducted on the street. I don’t have to be afraid of my church being bombed. I don’t have to worry about bandits coming into the market to open fire on the crowd. I don’t have to worry about Yahoo Boys hacking into my account. Indeed, then was still the good old days, even if we didn’t drink the kind of condensed milk my mother drank in her own good old days.
True, a lot of good things that exist today were not there in those days. For instance, then if you want to transact business with someone in Lagos, you have to travel to Lagos to do that but it’s no longer like that today. Unlike in those days, now we have computers, cell phones, internet services, and … what else? Nothing. You may talk about one or two equipment that weren’t there in those days, but we were doing well without those things then. Did our power supply improve? No, instead it got worse. Yes, there were lesser houses then and rural electrification wasn’t as it is today. But then, what’s the essence of having high tension wire pass through the villages when light doesn’t shine in their bulbs? So, it is still as if they were not connected to the national grid.
What about the other systems? Yes, the financial sector is making progress. That’s good. But until they make it convenient for people to stay in their houses and perform all transactions, they have not grown that much. The only thing they saved us from is lining up for hours while the cashiers go through six-inch volume ledgers to find our account details. But we still cue up in banks and we still spend hours there. So they haven’t done much.
What about our laws? The other time somebody asked me why Nigeria still sentenced people to death by hanging. I didn’t know what to tell her but I hope she doesn’t come back to ask me why castration and removal of fallopian tubes should be the best punishments for rape. Obviously, while some countries are moving forward and thinking of how to correct offenders, we are busy setting up laws that will maim then for life. Our law is nowhere close to good, at least not for now.
I don’t need to talk about our political system because we all know that it is not for the “good guys”. Neither do I need to talk about our educational system, which when COVID-19 breeze blew, our nyash opened for the whole world to see.
Let’s face it, Nigeria is not growing up, neither is she turning old. She is what we call “Agadi-Nwanyi-Baby”. She has grown old enough to act like an adult but she is still holding tight on her childish characteristics. She is swinging forth and back like a pendulum. Today she will do well; tomorrow she will go back to square one. But then, some people are making sure that the pendulum swings back. Some people do not want to see the country move forward because they reap out of its confused state. Unless these people are called to order, this country will continue to swing forth and back until it breaks out of the hinges and crash land.