NIGERIA IS RISEN!

“He is risen”- is the text that graced many personal profiles on Facebook, Twitter and Blackberry messenger on Easter Sunday.  This text first appeared in the bible in Matthew 28 and also in Luke 24, when an angel from God comforted Mary at the empty tomb of Jesus. The resurrection of Christ is the core feature of the Christian faith and it marks the crescendo of Jesus’ work on earth.  And according to Apostle Paul, without the resurrection, the Christian faith is vain and we (Christians) are of all men most miserable (1Cor 15:13-19). 
Arguments over the true origin of Easter have spawn through time.  Some have pointed out that Easter is deeply rooted in pagan tradition dating back to an ancient Babylonian family—2,000 years before Christ—honoring the resurrection of their god, Tammuz, who was brought back from the underworld by his mother/wife, Ishtar (after whom the festival was named). They have supported their claims arguing that ceremonies where Easter bunnies and Easter eggs are used in celebrations are not biblical. There may be some truth in this but I believe the message of Easter is what is truly important.
In the White House, there is an Easter Egg Roll tradition since 1878 when President Rutherford B. Hayes officially opened the White House grounds to local children for egg rolling on Easter Monday. Am sure most Nigerian children would prefer to eat the eggs to fill their hungry stomachs instead.  Who would blame them? The present state of the Nigerian child is pitiable and his future has sadly been mortgaged by his fathers. 
Over the last month or so, I have not posted anything personally on the blog majorly because I have become disillusioned at on-going events in the country. It seems like we take one step forward and several steps back. I keep asking myself, “What is the point”? The truth is that no one really cares. The country seems to be on auto pilot.  It’s everyone for himself and God for us all as they say. And sadly I had begun to adopt the strategy of self preservation. At least let me try to better my own life. “Let God bless me and enlarge my own coast”, I profess to myself. If Nigeria burns, so be it. But in taking that path, I had also become part of the problem because the moment we decide to be like lambs and keep quiet, we have inadvertently agreed to be led to the sheerer for slaughter.
The truth is this: Nigeria can never get better if something radical does not happen.   A radical change or a radical decision (I don’t mean fuel subsidy removal) must occur. Newton’s first law of motion forecasts Nigeria’s doom in the absence of an external force. Marxist would liken that force to be Prometheus, a renegade god who stole fire from Zeus to give to men. Others including myself would gravitate towards a less supernatural solution to something more practical. 
For the record, I no longer think the major problem with Nigeria is leadership. Leaders are a product of society. The society in turn produces its leaders. Thus, a tragic vicious cycle is created where the victims of a system procreate to breed hegemonic leaders. The young man that had a cell phone strapped to his sandal during the last UTME examination is a case note.  Had he succeeded, a paradigm for his life would have been set. If in the future he contested for election to become a local government chairman or even a governor, he would have no problem rigging. He would lie about building roads and schools and new refineries to win elections. And if he joins the right political party (wink wink), he certainly would win. He would pick up his microphone in his broadcast as a number one citizen of a state or local government and tell his followers that there would be no sacred cows. He will tell everyone who cares to listen that there would be no tolerance for corruption. The moment he drops the microphone, he would cart away 250 million pounds into foreign accounts through his girlfriends and mistresses. He expects nothing else of himself, because that is who he truly is. The society that produces him expects nothing more from him; after all, our leaders must “chop”. We are further plunged deeper into the bottomless abyss of anarchy. Of course we shouldn’t forget that he did not start up in life as a cheat. This might have been his fourth UTME exam. He has younger ones to support and his chance of getting into University is getting slimmer. He needs to know someone to get into school. He needs to know someone else to get a job. He needs to know someone for everything.
 Because he is poor, the society ostracizes him. The Darwinian Law of Natural Selection kicks in. It is survival of the fittest and man must “whack”. A life of hardship and possibly crime beckons. If he’s lucky he will die before he is 30. If not, he would end up in prison. The chances that he would cross from poverty to wealth by hard work and honesty is close to zero. The society hates him because he is not successful and he hates his society for not giving him a chance. The people who do get the job sometimes aren’t the most qualified and hence promotion and perpetuating mediocrity in the society. 
 What results is that everyone now wants to be a mediocre because medicres are the ones that have it all.
Another reason for our underdeveloped in Nigeria is because there is no punishment for crime and we continue to glorify and adulate people who should be in prison. It is said of Christ, that he loved righteousness and hated iniquity (or wickedness). For a society to function optimally there has to be a balance. The State must punish crime and extol justice and integrity wherever it is found. If there was a law to punish anyone who steals N500, 000 and above by death, it won’t take a rocket scientist as President to put Nigeria back on track.  But everybody’s job is made harder because there are crooks everywhere-in the offices, among your friend and family, and even in places of worship.  The future of the nation’s children has already been mortgaged to corruption.  We here of endless circuses called probes in the NASS that come to nothing. We see the charade on TV, and behind closed doors, they “settle” it as gentle men and women. Members of the House who should resign still wine and dine and vie for reelection. The fuel probe will most likely go the way of power probe, SEC probe and pensions probe.
I believe strongly that Nigeria’s problems are not insurmountable. They are as legion as the demon possessed man, but certainly not impossible to deal with. First is to adopt a step by step approach and solve one problem after the other. Corruption is pervasive but while we try to fight it we can as well have light or can’t we?  If we all agree that a major impediment to Nigeria’s economic growth is power, why is the light issue becoming worse instead of better? Why have I had light for less than 2 hours daily in the last month? And what does it take to give Nigerians light after 13 years of democracy.  
In elementary biology we learn that in the organization of life, cell come together to form tissues, which build up to organs and eventually become systems. If God Almighty built the human body to function effectively and efficiently using this model aren’t we being foolish in trying to generate power centrally in order to distribute to different regions? Over 15-20% of the power generated would eventually be lost when sending it to the National grid.  The idea of the FG trying to control everything is not helping. I was in Dubai in January, and I saw a 132kva substation plant providing light for a part of the city. Imagine if that power had to be transferred to Abu Dhabi, the seat of government before it is redistributed back to Derra in Dubai. It would be both wasteful and stupid. Also, little steps like filling up pot holes instead of waiting for the giant contracts to sail through can be done.
The major reason I believe there is hope for Nigeria is because of Easter. The body of the most anointed man on earth lay lifeless in the tomb for three days. It seemed like all was lost. His disciples had become despondent, his followers had abandoned him. And then, on the third day, he rose from the dead. 
We may have remained dead as a Nation for quite some time. Our society may have produced the worse set of leaders, still I believe we will rise. I believe that a dysfunctional society that can still produce people like Bishop Oyedepo, Babatunde Fashola, Tuface Idibia, E.A Adeboye, Asa, Osita, D’banj, Funke Akindele, Chnedu, Osita Iheme, Chimamanda Adichie  has hope. And that society one day, someday will rise.
©2012 Otaigbe Itua Ewoigbokhan
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