It is only a fool that a pre-announced rain catches unaware- Ibo proverb
There are not many countries you can bicycle around before breakfast. One of the very few is Nauru, a Pacific island nation halfway between Australia and Hawaii.
Dubbed Pleasant Island in the 18th Century by the captain of a passing British ship - it is the world's smallest independent republic, a coral speck dwarfed by the vastness of the Pacific Ocean.
Nauru may be little, but it once enjoyed enormous wealth. In fact Nauruans were among the richest people, per capita, in the world.
A quirk of nature means that their island consists of some of the world's purest phosphate - the legacy of millions of years of sea bird droppings reacting with an uplifted coral.
From independence from Britain and Australia in 1968, until the 1990s, Nauru earned a fortune exporting its phosphate for fertilizer.
The decades of mining left the once-lush interior a bleak moonscape of strange, grey coral spikes - all that is left once the phosphate-rich top soil is scooped out of the ground - but Nauruans did not care.
They gave up their jobs, brought in migrants from other Pacific islands to do the hot, dirty work of digging and sat back waiting for the royalty checks to drop into their hands. They were just 10,000 Nauruans.
They then went on an extraordinary spending spree. Families who had never left the island would charter aircraft to take them on shopping expeditions in Hawaii, Fiji and Singapore.
Sports cars were imported, despite the fact that Nauru has only one paved road and the speed limit is 25mph.
A procession of conmen and carpetbaggers persuaded successive governments to invest in a string of bizarre schemes, including a West End musical about the life of Leonardo da Vinci.
Nauru amassed a property portfolio of hotels and office blocks around the world. But corruption and downright incompetence took their toll and by the early part of this century, most of the assets had to be sold off to pay for the country's mounting debts.
Now all the money is gone. On its heel are strings of catastrophes.
But now the phosphate have ran out, Nauru's finances have also collapsed - and it has emerged that much of the money salted away in investments has been either lost or stolen.
Infrastructure has collapsed, and payment problems have frequently led to the island being cut off from supplies, including fresh food.
And unpaid bills mean that Nauruans are among the unhealthiest people in the world after decades of prosperous idleness, since they no longer can fly to Australia for subsidized medical care.
The above story shows what stupidity and an uncaring governance can do a people.
Nigeria was recently classified not as a “failed state but critically ill”. That is just been politically correct. Nigeria has all the hallmarks of a failed state. The completely collapsed infrastructure, ever growing mounting desperation, the insignificance worth of human live, hopelessness of future prospects, the selective justice often cued to the benefit of the rich and hundred of other things that even a blind person will understand as a country in a quick-sand and sinking in deeply every hour. To cap it all, the much revered life line crude oil [for most Nigerians nothing more than a fairy tale gone awfully wrong] will run out in 45 years, the shortest oil reserve in the world. Does anybody need a clairvoyant to tell him or her that we are going to share same fate with the Nauru people?
Till date, Nigeria has accrued from oil revenues almost over $600 billion. Half of it has been stolen by its leaders who now constitute its political elites who in their perverse thinking are still trying determining the destiny and future path of the country. Individuals who have robbed the country blind, destroy the psyche and moral sense of its people and still walks free corrupting everything that have life in it.
For me, it is not creating such society obtainable in the developed world. Such societies will not last neither do I consider them morally right. Secondly, these are societies that have Molested Mother Nature and destroyed the environment. In their insatiable greed, they have trampled on everything sacred even the human covenant with the Earth and among themselves. They have reduced their citizenry into slaves, earning slaves wages, living pitiful existence that they regards as first-class existence while been entertained by countless meaningless amusements to keep them in tow, “happy” and distracted. They may be materially rich but are definitely unhappy, depressed and spiritually bankrupt. That is not what a human existence should be. No! Yada!
We have not yet grasped the immensity of the challenges we are in or ahead of us. We haven’t even started thinking about them. Despite the developed world misguided idea of what constitute true existence, there still remain noble things inherent in their system that we need to take a good look at, Africanize them and make them ours. One of these things is finding a sustainable form of governance that suits our mentality and beliefs. They have found what works for them even though it is still evolutionary.
The reason for our collective failure as a people is that we have a deformed concept of governance. This have stunted our growth in all level be it intellectually, materially and spiritually. Our leaders are irresponsible, lazy and incapable of understanding the basic of what is required of them. We in turn encourage them by allowing people like these to come to position of authority. We encourage them by not demanding what we need. We encourages them by the mentality “if you can’t beat them, you join them “.
Our resources have been misused, underused and in a greater percentage been made to work for those that seeks our extinction. These are same kind of people who helped the Nauruans to effectively run themselves to the ground. We have abused and reduced our human intellectual and natural resources into something with a little resemblance to what we have just 4 years ago. We have successfully reduced what Nature granted us into caricatures.
Intellectual prowess, feat and achievements are not the exclusive domain and right of the other races. We too are capable as evident and proven by some of us to match and even surpass the finest examples that they can produce. They succeeded where we have so far failed because of the collective Will of the people and individuals who against all odds stood out to forge new paths for others to follow. Who dare think outside the box most often against the prevailing wind of their day. These are the sort of individuals that Nigeria desperately needs to come up with creative and innovative solutions for that country before we settle completely into the fate of Nauru people.
We need to start investing in our schools, the only treasure trove that a country possesses not banking on the mineral resources we have. If the need be we can take over the houses of worship and convert them into schools which are only in sessions during the weekdays. This is because these mosques and churches are built to last often without caring about the cost. There is no institution more important than our schools and it must come first. We can network all schools together and link them up to the Net so that teachers and school kids can have access to the biggest library in the world. To start building schools from scratch may be out of question for now, not that it can’t be done, but it will be another way to make some greedy and thoughtless people rich again.
We need to cultivate the sense of appreciation of who we are and our environment. We need to explore creatively what we have and how to use them constructively in our pursuit for self-mastery. We need to re-examine who we think we are, what we believe in and how on earth we get to this point. We need to ask soul-searching questions and demand answers from ourselves and those that have led and leads us.
We need to drop those things we have out-grown and take on with earnest zeal ideas that will take us to the future. We need to master ourselves so our mind, passions and emotions can be subdued under our Will.
Time is running out. We may have not reach to the point where the government of Australia will have to give us $2million as our national budget but it is not far-fetch to think it will happen to us. Less than 20 years ago, a minister from Babangida’s regime proclaimed with all conviction that Nigerians are not poor since they are not eating from a dust-bin. It have become evidently so that at least 30% of our population eats from the trash.
There comes a time in a people’s life that there must choose either to answer the call of time or get lost, wandering aimlessly in the forest of unknowingness. The time has indeed come for us to re-discover who we are. The time is now!