Wednesday, 02 August 2017 00:15

Is a Farthing the Value of Each Nigerian Life and When is the Death of Nigeria?

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The purpose of this essay is first to give thoughts to the proposition that my country is dead, or on threshold of dying if death had not occurred on October

1,1960. Someone says that Nigeria died decades ago? This essay's second purpose is to distinguish a person's death from a country's death; and finally

to argue that, unless certain preventative measures are taken and taken seriously, the death of Nigeria would be guaranteed.  We know that "Where there is no vision, the people perish (Proverbs 29:18)" mean? There is no greater vision than these:

Let us  cease imitating and copying everything  French, British and American do without modifying things copied to fit our unique style.

Let us promote an entirely new  Nationalism, patriotism, chauvinism, jingoism, xenophobia, independence, autonomy, home rule, or self-rule

Let us cease being lured  into the credit system in order to avoid huge borrowings  where we are unable to pay back both the principal and astronomical interest rates in a timely fashion , and where we are compelled to lose our valuable resources as payment for debts owed

Let  us strengthen our Constitution to guarantee individual rights, including the right to ban expensive importation and own weapons for self defense to reduce incidence of armed robbery and kidnapping

Let us devise means to extricate ourselves from enslavement by lender nations and organizations.

To reiterate, Nigeria is facing death, but...-This is a big but as we Nigerians ought not to rest lazily on our oars, thinking that everything is alright and fail to take certain precautionary steps to effect changes, which, if not taken, would hasten the death of our beloved nation. Let's row our boats a little further out from the seashore and ask ourselves: "Do we really love Nigeria or are we just talking shit?" . Rowing out to sea requires alertness, dexterity, and attentiveness.

To reiterate, Nigeria is facing certain death, though, sometimes from many indications, it may appear that the final nails are about to be hammered onto the four corners of coffin containing my country. We are using death not in a metaphorical sense but in its literal sense.

A metaphor is a simile, meaning image, allegory, and symbol or figure of speech. The antonym (opposite) of simile is literal, meaning the thing is real.  Can a person die? How does a country die?  When is a person said to have died and when does a country suffer death?

A man dies when his breathing or brain activity ceases to occur. He dies when he ceases to exist spiritually on this earth.  A country may die even when it still exists on the map of the world and its citizens are still breathing, have functional brain activities, and going nonchalantly about daily activities. A person dies and ceases to exist even where his body is found lying in the position he was in before death occurs.

Former U.S. ambassador to Nigeria John Campbell, had on many occasions predicted that our country Nigeria would die ( fail to exist) after the 2015 Jonathan-Buhari elections. Some Nigerians cried foul when the elections did not go the way they had expected.

The Nigerian Ambassador Adefegu, argued rather strenuously while calling his American counterpart names. Adefegu told Campbell. "You are the Prophet of doom" Campbell responded with an uppercut which made the opponent reel in pain. You reel in pain when you roll,  spool, cylinder, stagger, totter, or wobble. Ambassador Campbell  did not reel; he stood erect grabbing his gun with both hands.

The Nigerians thought our problems were over and began to go about their usual business after Buhari defeated Jonathan in the past presidential elections. Some Nigerians were in the process of swallowing bitter eba (garri mixed with boiling bile) at the terrible disappointment suffered after the Buhari-Jonathan  combat.

Mr. Campbell came out with his book "Nigeria: Dancing on the Brink" in which Ambassador Campbell reinstated and restated with the bravo of a wrestling champion his earlier prophecy that Nigeria would suffer a total demise or passing away.

In addition to delivering a provocative analysis of a Nigeria "in trouble" with insurmountable challenges which, if not addressed and carefully managed (by Nigerians, the United States, and other partners) will risk becoming "a failed state." Campbell has compelling grounds upon which to erect his prediction.  A prediction is simply a guess, calculation, or forecast.

It is no exaggeration that the average Nigerian  eats sand and drinks dust on a wage of $1 (N312.4) per day. Nigeria's vast oil wealth is concentrated in the hands of a small group of wealthy, arrogant  bureaucratic  Nigerians.

Our  oil wealth is being mismanaged and abused by ill-prepared, myopic bureaucrats, resulting in incurable, widespread poverty. Unemployment is such that Nigerian STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) graduates remain unemployed years after leaving the universities. This writer witnessed many STEM graduates perambulate at Ikeja, a suburb of Lagos walking to the bus carrying the Holy Bible around under tired arms.

It is particularly depressing that while the Nigeria at home  spends $1 (N312) on three square meals consisting of breakfast, lunch, and dinner per day, the world sleeps oblivious of untold human sufferings these Nigerians experience on daily basis.

A survey this writer made of Nigerians indicates that they spend a whopping  sum of $10.99 (N3170) just to eat eba or jollof rice at restaurant owned by a Yoruba man.

Is my life of any of us more precious than that of a woman I saw sitting at a Lagos market? She sat under the blistering  tropical hot sun as she sold shelled groundnuts (peanuts) wrapped in dirty pieces of newspapers at 10 Naira ($0,03 or 3 cents) per wrapping. As I bought one wrapping and started to eat, I realized I was eating not just groundnuts but also the poisonous ink the newspapers were printed with. In Nigeria, safety, security, or death means nothing. A Nigerian  life is worth but a farthing.

One dollar (N312.4) is so minuscule, infinitesimal, diminutive, or just too tiny to pay someone.  To give a human being a farthing is. to say the least, a cruel and unjust punishment. A feorthing or fourthling was an English coin worth one quarter of a penny and 1/960 of a pound sterling. Such coins were first minted in England in the 13th century, and continued to be used until 31 December 1960, when they ceased to be legal tender.

While Nigeria is said to enjoy a ghostly prosperity as oil-producing nation, most Nigerians are very poor where poverty is measured in terms of paying a Nigerian in 2017 with a coin minted in the 13th century England and discontinued two months before Nigeria achieved  independence.  To show you how unimaginably destitute the average Nigerian is, I am going to itemize what the average Nigerian in the US  spends on lunch  daily.

For breakfast: Two good bottles of water ($!.00); 5  slices of wheat bread, ($1.00);  2 eggs ($1.00);  a pint of milk $1.00); 2 apples ($1,00); 2 oranges, (! $1,00); A  cup of  Quaker oats ($1.00); 8 ounces of spaghetti, ($1.00); 2 pieces of salmon fish ($1.00)

For lunch: Eba or white rice and stew with fried plantains; $10:19.

For dinner:  some hamburgers and French fries, $5:00  A Nigerian in the US spend roughly $20 (N3i4 X 20 =N6480) each day, while people in Nigeria  spend on the entire day one-tenth of what we US Nigerians  spend on lunch.

Despite its wealth and resources (human, natural, capital, intelligence, etc.), one thing is certain. There is the inescapable‚ concentration of Nigeria's vast oil wealth in the hands of a small group of wealthy Nigerians.

The wealth and oil boom of Nigeria is based on a long history of mismanagement and abuse by the country's ill-prepared and myopic leaders, resulting in the incurable‚ widespread poverty.

Finally,  there is a lack of employment opportunities for university graduates, as well as the state of underdevelopment, and lack of serious long-term investment in the agricultural sector. These shortcomings have conspired to shackle a giant to a mango tree to prevent the giant from the take-off pad to seek economic development. What do we do?

Let us  cease imitating and copying everything  French, British and American do without modifying things copied to fit our unique style. Let us cease being lured  into the credit system in order to avoid huge borrowings  where we are unable to pay back both the principal and astronomical interest rates in a timely fashion , and where we are compelled to lose our valuable resources as payment for debts owed. Let  us strengthen our Constitution to guarantee individual rights, including the right to own weapons for self defense to reduce incidence of armed robbery and kidnapping

By Dr. James C. Agazie; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; jamesagazies.blogspot.com

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James Agazie Ed D

A retired college Professor  with educational backgrounds in law (JD) education (Ed.D, MA) counseling,( MS) and and mathematics.  Write on topics dealing with Nigerian families, marriages, education, and employment.