We are all part of the Nigerian problem

October 30, 2018 Nigeria , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS

Clara Sanchiz photo



Prince Charles Dickson



What is the problem with Nigeria, who is the problem, today I dare say that the problem with Nigeria is not America, United Kingdom, not Ghana, but Nigerians; part of our problem, is simply put, ‘us’, ‘we’, ‘you’, ‘them’, ‘they’. The problem with Nigeria is actually you and me!


Nigeria, ideally one of the best places to live in, is not a Police State like so-called Western Democracies. In Nigeria I can urinate anywhere and not get fined or arrested, I can get a ladder and climb the electricity poles and effect a change of power phase, if the problem is not from the nearby power transformer which anybody can repair with dry wood.


For a government that prides itself in CHANGE as its agenda and yet keeps spending billions on energy in the seat of power, it is interesting to see how there is no improvement; it is equally mind boggling and baffling that the available power supply is not paid for by both government and the governed including me. We are a lawless folk largely…because even when the energy is served we refuse to pay!


Many persons for good reasons had seen in Mr. Buhari, including you and me, some form of integrity, an opportunity for a reawakening despite the roguery and treachery of the system…but many without bias have lost hope in the early morning illusion. A lot of us have lost hope in the system, the structure, the leadership, with each passing day it is becoming obvious that Nigeria may just be an empty plastic cup, to light to hold a cup of coffee cold or hot, because the problem is you and me.


I am writing this admonition about us because I have discovered that anytime I have tried hard to write something nice about leadership, it remains a hard ask, I criticize a lot and hardly give solutions, my reason, simple, there are enough solutions to Nigeria’s multi-dimensional problems, enough to fill an American Congressional Library.


Until I am ready, until you are ready, the solutions would remain utopian…the government is not ready, the people are not ready, our dramatics remain all but inconclusive, we for example make all that noise about Mallam Daura of the DSS fame and months later no one is even asking about the much ado about house arrest.


I have watched us being reminded of the successes of far Malaysia and in recent times nearby Ghana, a success that was championed and achieved simply because of purposeful leadership, a leadership and people that have collectively gone about bringing economic prosperity, industrial strength, intellectual pride and dynamism. Unfortunately as Nigerians we are continuously a part of a circus, of both leadership and citizenry, we cannot simply agree collectively on what is right or wrong, how much more what is bad or left.


A new Nigeria cannot unfold, with fast paced infrastructural development, rapid push in human resource development, healthcare delivery, when of the approximately 150,000 graduates of various typology that it churns out yearly, only 4% possess a chance of a job, with time the remaining 96% slowly becoming an unemployable lot with redundant qualifications and no form of entrepreneurial education, is it not easy to see how we are part of the problem.


Today’s Nigeria lacks education, health and development with all the wealth, we are breeding terrorists, frustrated young men, sad mothers, senior citizens that daily curse the nation because we have refused to give them their dues, children without a hope for the future in the prevailing realities of public school utilities.


How can I say I am not the problem, when in power I love affluence and will do anything to stay put. In religious matters, I fake it; in business, my checks will bounce. In the civil service forget the noise of ‘servicom’ and all that shaku-shaku dance of change, files go missing and only reappear when you, and I mean you reading this, either give or is given the right price.


The pain of this soliloquy, is we know that we are the problem and rightly so too, but how about the Nigerians in their millions that want to be good and indeed are good for the right reasons. Those Nigerians, not easily understood because they will not give bribes, all their actions are in line with tradition, society’s good norms and rationality. They are largely old now, although a few young ones do exist and most times reside in rural areas, with a few also in urban areas.


They are generally good and untribalized, they believe in the principles of live and let live. These Nigerians are neither the bottom power women nor the moneybag men like you and me. They strive daily to remain patriotic and committed to the Nigerian dream despite the reality, they are disciplined and are hardworking, and they battle the stark reality that as patient dogs they may never have any bone left.


These set of Nigerians suffer the Nigerian experiment because of the larger majority’s inability to curb greed, the inactions of me and you to be fair and rational towards other peoples’ perspectives, opinions, positions and interests.


My continuous inability to make sacrifices for the common good, and your unwillingness to respect our institutions means that if others do not stand as a people and resolve to fight for what rightly belongs to Nigeria, the problem with Nigeria will continue, whether it is Atikulated by the Obidient ones or the Buharists have their way, it still will be the same difference, but for how long—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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