Nigerian institutions hardly ever function to keep the citizen at ease. Instead, they keep her in a constant state of unease, disquiet and anxiety.
What lofty and enduring dream could sprout in us when we have become accustomed to squalor, habituated to decrepitude, made our peace with detritus? What hope is there for us when we fetishise Dubai and flaunt our expensive Louis Vuitton handbags, and yet fail to realise that our country has become—is—an endless open toilet, overflowing with septic sludge? Okey Ndibe chronicles his recent visit to Nigeria, which he describes as a “nightmare”.
Think about it: when was the last time you heard a substantive policy statement from any of the ministers Mr. Buhari squandered six months to name?
On November 8, 2016 Americans elected Donald Trump as their 45th president. By the time you’re reading this, Mr. Trump would have named all his nominees for leadership of various government departments.
I have said this before: one of the hardest tasks is to predict how Nigerians would react in any given situation. We are a perplexing bunch, able to defy the most skilled pontificator. Imagine, then, my constant frustration. As one who has written for years on Nigerian affairs, I am often asked—both by audiences in Nigeria and abroad—to pronounce on the likely turn of events in my country of birth.
Okey Ndibe: South Africa is in the midst—some would say the very incipient stage—of a major political and cultural revolt. One of the most remarkable things about this movement is that young people, mostly university students, are leading it. I call them Nelson Mandela’s grandchildren, but the nature and context of their ongoing struggle render that designation highly vexatious.
Two Wednesday’s ago, I got a phone call from a reporter at one of Italy’s major newspapers, la Repubblica. It was the second anniversary of the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls from Chibok, Borno State. In a macabre move, the terrorist group that abducted the girls, Boko Haram, had released a video featuring some of their victims. The Italian reporter sought my response to the traumatic event.
Closing in on fifty-six years of its existence as an “Independent” country, Nigeria has no healthcare policy to speak of. Nigeria’s political and business elite—in other words, those who have shaped their country into the near hell-on-earth it is—feel no compunction hurrying off to the UK, the US, Asia, Europe or even other African countries to receive medical treatment.
Okey Ndibe on the trials of being a commentator on Nigeria
Everything in and about Nigeria is in a waiting pattern. Everybody, Nigerians and foreigners alike, are waiting on President Muhammadu Buhari. This pattern is a profoundly sobering lesson. It is also both a risk and an opportunity.