Walking in a weather so cold and windy with the earth hard like stone. Covered in ice and uneven is the ground. A difficult walk and a hard work breathing, yet I pace across determined to reach my goal. Road signs covered in ice. Strong winds keeping your eyes closed and heads bowed. Hoping it ends soon is a prayer you muster for the sunshine and bright day. So sad it’s five months away.
My mind can not but travel thousands of miles back home. A land so blessed with great things. Great weather with two good planting seasons, large expanse of arable land enough to feed the world, a youthful and energetic population to build the strongest economy with natural resources all over the earth we all step on; and yet what a poor land it is. I can’t but ponder and ask : Are we really cursed? Who cursed us? When were we cursed? What did we do to merit it? Was it the sins of our fathers or ours? How do we seek forgiveness and cleanse the land? How do we break the curse?
I am not sure if these questions have also crossed your minds but it is what goes through my mind everyday. How can a country with so much resources be suffering . My earlier writing touched on a bit of these and this will put some light to it in comparison with a country I recently visited which is similar to some other great countries we all know.
Canada, the maple leaf city. So we all are running to this country with the hope of a better future. It’s a very lovely country with a lot of good things and it is no wonder why people come from all over the world to make it their second home and it ends up being first for some. Walking on the streets of Toronto, you can see the United Nations everywhere you look. Everybody from Asia, Africa, Europe and even the USA coming together to be called Canadian. A very large multiethnic country similar in comparison to the 250+ ethnic groups we have in Nigeria. A very good example of unity in diversity. A country that has been able to harness the strength of a lot to create formidable economy. And yet we have a similar situation and the only thing we are able to do is to lay emphasis on what divides us while forgetting that which unites us. I am starting to think we cursed ourselves.
In Canada, they have just about 4 and at most 6 months of planting season in a year and they are able to even export to the world. In Nigeria, we a full year of planting and yet we all go to bed hungry and spend a lot on imported foods. Maybe the land is cursed too.
I love traveling around Africa and one of those trips took me to Niamey the capital of Niger. While Niamey might not be as beautiful as some of the cities in Nigeria, they’ve got very steady power and are self sufficient in food. Are you surprised? No don’t be. But then my writing is not to push blames or say what has not been said over and over again but to just shed some light on the opportunities we all have as a country if we choose to harness and exploit them.
Has anyone travelled to any other West African Country and see how high they hold Nigerians. A lot of people from these places will give anything to come to Lagos – the same way Nigerians love to go to US, UK, Dubai etc. Anything from Nigeria is lovely to them and can be compared to our much hunger and love for foreign products in Nigeria. You should be seeing the opportunities in here now. You want an export driven economy, let us start with Africa. Is it not amazing that we have a very large coast line that can serve the whole Western Africa with a good transportation system in place. Now that is some massive opportunities waiting to be exploited. But yet most countries like Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso prefer to use the Togo, Ghana and Benin ports. Could our waters be cursed too?
Lay down a map of the world flat and somewhere close to the centre is my country Nigeria. And I can only ask myself what we stand to benefit if we had a very vibrant aviation industry. Imagine coming from China with a stop over in Lagos onwards to New York or from South Africa to U.K. Knowing fully well that Nigerians are known travelers, I am still surprised why we are yet to get ourselves right in that sector. Well it is also possible the air is cursed. Air Côte d’Ivoire and Asky control the West African air space but we can be happy a bit that our government boasts the largest presidential fleet in the region. I’m starting to think the air is cursed also.
A country with large amounts of rainfall and sunshine with rivers and streams flowing even in your backyard is unable to provide steady power or sufficient portable water and also lacks a proper agricultural system. We can’t even feed our own mouths.All I can say is we need to look inwards, focus on our strengths, harness our potentials and build an enviable country together.
So who cursed us and who can break it? Let us all take a long look in the mirror and there we find the curser and also the breaker.
God bless Nigeria.