The Sun News

Those little things that matter

Nigeria is a big country peopled by big men, big women, big youths and big children. She carries on like some spoiled brat who prefers only size extra large, even if it doesn’t suit. The rich, the powerful and the connected get away with almost everything; while the poor, the powerless and the frustrated pay everything for nothing. It’s the tragic reality about Nigeria, my country!

Look at our so-called big people. What big good have they done, with all that big money and big power they helped themselves to? What big value have they added, across all three tiers? What big difference have they made, across all six regions of our geopolitics?

Answers to those and sundry ensuing vexed questions, as Bob Dylan sang in 1962/’63, are blowing in the wind. We see and feel the harrowing aftermath (or presentmath) of our dastardly buffoonery; yet we do nothing because our uncanny hypocrisy and ungodly religiosity connive to hold our mind hostage and deceive us that grace would fix the chronic mess we caused. But, can we afford an eternal wait for Godot?

Cacophonously chorusing no, no, no is in order but the situation requires action not shouts. The many small Nigerians and our few big compatriots must synergise to do something to save the situation before something worse does us. Fortunately, this does not require rocket-science roadmap.  A total rejig of mentality and approach can offer us the much-needed renewed patriotism and determination.

Nigeria would only break forth from her so-much-motion-so-little-movement cycle the day Nigerians decide to pay genuine attention to even the littlest positive matters. If you treat small positive things in a big way, there’s no way you would pooh-pooh pride of place things. No sane person would treat small positive things well and big things in the same league poorly. Let’s digress though, to discuss three seemingly small areas that matter big time.

One, consider Nigeria’s manhandling of own children and the impact on our tomorrow. Why are ad hoc policies, projects and programmes laudable only on paper? Why do governments at all levels find implementation so undoable? Why is it so easy to deduce that Michael Jackson had Nigerian leaders and children in mind when he musicalised they don’t really care about us in 1996?

Furthermore, take something as basic as education. Which President, which governor, which chairman, which Nigerian leader has repeated that Awoist touch, of providing this access to our children? Rather they mouth free education all over the place; yet the number of children in the streets is up, not down. Help, the work of policy makers is in implementation, not formulation.

This little children thing is a big matter. Today, the country is paying the price of yesterday miseducation, and even worse looks to continue suffering tomorrow for present failings and failures. We complain against the new normals namely armed robbery, kidnapping and allied crimes, but do nothing about future kingpins being groomed by all of us, openly. Or we think that a majority of the ubiquitous underage hawkers, beggars and unsolicited windscreen washers on major roads nationwide would grow into responsible citizens, right?

Surely, when pigs fly! Ditto our expectation that our Neanderthal politics can lead us out of the cul-de-sac it landed us shortly after take-off in 1960. Treating politics like some big stuff that doesn’t matter (such as remembering or enticing a people on the eve of election, distracting government simply because you are opposition or government clamping down on perceived opponents) would only generate the exact same outcomes we have had, man and boy. Nigeria needs to recalibrate her politics and start to see it like one little thing that matters or stop wasting time with democracy!

Three, another small area that matters hugely and holds down our country is how insanely we have raised religion and ethnicity into what the pair are not, cannot and should not be. Religion and ethnicity are not above humanity and country. The erroneous promotion of the former over the latter keeps Nigerians in chains as faith slaves and blood enemies. And, destroys our country!

Clearly, there remain truckloads of other small things that matter. Concentrating on these neglected areas may prove talismanic to that elusive rebirth. We have had enough of magnifying things which contribute nothing and ignoring ones that hold the key to the future we seek and deserve. God bless Nigeria!

So now, what exactly did Ian Squire die for?

A British man leaves his beautiful country, crosses his lovely continent into another that’s far inferior in looks and leadership, giving up his family and personal pleasures, just so he would render help to the very poor of the poor; only to get kidnapped with three of his compatriots. Then, he gets killed.

Pray, how do you console a Nigerian like me who’s convinced beyond every reasonable doubt that something incurable is wrong with us? How does one face Missionary Squire’s family, country and the world after this outrageous, barbaric ingratitude?

I salute and stand with the people of Enekorogha of Delta state who are publicly unanimous for justice which the federal government must ensure, willy nilly. Getting and publicly punishing the killer(s) is the very least amends we can make in the circumstance.

Meanwhile, the people of Nigeria apologise and send our condolences. We’re better than this.

Feed-forward: Should President Buhari run again?

Yes or no, explain in not more than 19 words. Include your name and address and email me or sms (0811 669 3315) or join the thread at facebook.com/michaelbushnigeria between Tuesday and Thursday, the last day of entry. Watch this space next Monday for what others and you think!

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