Nigeria 2017: Another year to prove the pessimists wrong

January 4, 2017 OPINION/NEWS

Ruth McDowall



Prince Charles Dickson


One cannot eat crab in secret


It was one long year, 2016, a year that a lot of us want to forget for so many reasons and others would not forget for obvious reasons. But either way what more can we do than be happy that we were finally able to navigate it somehow. There are a lot of reasons to be optimistic this year as well as a lot to be pessimistic about, a lot of us will be watching with an eagle eye as events unfold.

This essay would be a thrust of all I expect would be confronting us this year as a nation and as a people, it would be a confabulation of issues that if tackled can take us closer to the promised land and if neglected as usual will only be ingredients for disaster and a continued slide towards doom.

We again from the beginning of this year will be battling against poverty, of the mind, of pocket and of sensibilities, despite two years of Buhari’s reforms we would still remain one of the poorest in the globe, despite our natural and human resources, due to human mismanagement we would be battling to sustain meaningful development and growth that is equal to the expectations of our people.

With Buhari’s administration, again though subtly we will still be concerned about tribal sentiments, ethnicity, religion and thus to a large extent none of or few of us are thinking nor discussing meritocracy. Around these three evils and many more we are likely to be subjected to more of political irresponsibility, rascality and political arithmetic that further alienates the rulers from the ruled.

We shall again be fighting against negative statistics of reality; we will still remain and may continue to feature amongst nations with the worst badly run economies.

We are insecure as a people, we are once more going to be constantly dependent on others after over a decade of paper independence, our rice whether plastic, rubber or real would still come from Thailand, any land but our land, our drugs both fake and original, we have India, Germany and co. to thank for them.

This year, will we be able to make sense of our economic macro-policies, with cars, computers, clothing, and ballpoint pens all from Obodo Oyibo. Will we shed the skin of a nation that is full of contradictions, a nation of millions of school leavers without jobs, a nation of millions sick with curable diseases and ailments, a nation yet blessed with fertile land, with intelligent men and women in abundance. But being punished by a handful of crooks called leaders, being ruled by a collection of mediocre. A nation where amidst these poverty a man would steal billions.

The issues that stop us from attaining nationhood again include the fact that we are all hypocrites, constantly waiting for any opportunity to better Judas Iscariot in the act of betrayal.

Nigeria would not break; Nigeria will not fail or fall, because it already has. We are not united, but we are one in corruption, one in greed, one in maladministration and misgovernance, we are united in soccer too.

Nigeria won’t fail in 2017, nor will it fall. It already did since day one, whether 1914 or 1960. It won’t break because borrowing from former president Obasanjo ‘near-saints and near-devils’ would continue to conglomerate and govern us whether in PDP or APC–they are the same difference.


So the search for purposeful leadership and citizenship with direction will continue at various levels.

Yes, like prophet Jeroboam, of Wole Soyinka’s famed Jero plays, I danced, with eyes closed and spoke in tongues not known to me and I saw probes, probes, and more probes. As usual, 2017 will be another year of probes and panels. The various state assemblies will follow the lead of the National Assembly in probing and investigating.

And as I saw probes, I saw committees, while government will set more committees, citizens will ask for probes, men whose wives refused to conceive will be probed and committees set up. Just so we know, none of these investigations/probes will be people or result centered.

My apologies to the Chinese, but like their phones expect plenty noise from our politicians, a large number of them will make utterances without thinking, and Nigerians will follow suit, as long as it fits into our ethno-religious heads.

Apart from the prominent Nigerians that will die, scores of Nigerians will be killed by robbers, kidnapped and in one form of crisis or the other.

With looting, corruption and insincerity, the ball again would be played on the pitch of underdevelopment and to think otherwise would be deceitful. Our cry will still be trying to catch the Asian Tiger, even with some West African puppies leaving us too far for comfort. Our life expectancy will likely drop further, even as more roads are likely to be unmotorable. We shall loose more kids at birth due to lack of infrastructure while leaders and the affluent treat their stomach disorder in Paris.

With less than N120 a day, only the Almighty and our perseverance can keep us going. We shall suffer the rule of idiots, because sages are kept in the dustbin, maybe with the exception of Buhari and others, again, it is going to be like it was.

Things could be better, Nigeria can be great if only institutions, and leadership prove citizenry wrong, if only you and I can make a concerted effort at being right in our own little way and fight in our own small corner.

The nation will fight for liberation from tribal loyalties, ethnic jingoism, religious parapoism, monetary godfatherism and many more. We will have to move a ladder up from hope and expectation to reality.

In this New Year, we have to move towards a Nigeria, with Nigerians, we either continue the self-deceit and watch the nation crumble like cookies. As I welcome us into this New Year let me say that this is our nation, only we can stop the drift, people that claim to love us are few, many a nation are watching and waiting. Let us remember that we cannot continue to massage the ringworm and leave the sore. Almighty Allah we as a people we are grateful for a New Year and ask for the best, but are we willing to work for that best—Only time will tell.











Prince Charles Dickson

Currently Prince Charles, is based out of Jos, Plateau State, and conducts field research and investigations in the Middle Belt Region of Nigeria with an extensive reach out to the entire North and other parts. Prince Charles worked on projects for UN Women, Search for Common Ground, and International Crisis Group, among others. He is an alumnus of the University of Jos and the prestigious Humanitarian Academy at Harvard and Knight Center For Journalism, University of Texas at Austin. A doctoral candidate of Georgetown University

Born in Lagos State (South West Nigeria), Prince Charles is proud of his Nigerian roots. He is a Henry Luce Fellow, Ford Foundation grantee and is proficient in English, French, Yoruba Ibo and Hausa. Married with two boys, and a few dogs and birds.


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