VOICE OF LIBERTY AFRICA: The Bride (Nigeria) and Her Beauty (Oil) ~ Fiyinfoluwa Elegbede
Nigeria’s Oil has finally finished.
Those were the words of the President and Commander In Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, effectively bringing an end to widespread speculations regarding the much sought after natural resource of the most populated country in Africa. The year, set in a no-distant future is 2035.
This was how it all started.
In 1971, a young bride was initiated into the ranks of the best wedding planner in the world at the time, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), in the midst of huge expectations and fragile hopes of the sustenance of her beauty. At this time in the global space, there were more than enough eligible grooms compared to the few available bridesmaids.
As it turns out, the new bride started entertaining gestures from would-be grooms in their order of financial readiness and resulting in multiple unions. With enough beauty to adore and relish, none of the grooms felt uncomfortable with each other, while at the same time, keeping up the race to be the bride’s ultimate choice. However, a particular groom from North America clearly outshone the others, and in return, found special favor from the bride.
As years rolled by, the bride got carried away in the majesty of her own beauty, and in several cases, resulting in a conflict between her heart and her head. Eventually, her head, dominated by war lords and nonchalant elements with a lackluster system of administration, lacking ideas and incentives for growth, and characterized with corruption, maladministration, arrogance and greedy revolutionary lust for power, won the race for the control of her thoughts and actions, as against her heart.
While her beauty was not expected to last forever due to the natural tendency of fading, the attributes of her controlling-head ignited a seed of cancer within her body, a cancer that was bound to bring no amount of relevance or productivity to the days of her beautified youth.
The cancer fought deep in her body, turning her internal system against each other in form of coups and counter coups, civil wars, strife amongst kinsmen, abject poverty in the midst of plenty, military and democratic dictators, insurgency, terrorism, early deaths, man-made disasters, economic and socio-political woes, all resulting into an unimaginable and preventable amount of anti-development havoc.
This cancer remains unchecked. Rather than work on the cure for this cancer through a thorough surgical cleansing of the system, the fading beauty which has long began to reflect on the outside was being pampered with face powders, expensive hairstyling, state-of-the-art perfumes and the best clothes and shoes money can buy. These, until the President’s announcement of the eventual loss of her beauty, proved effective concealing the gradual fading and unproductiveness of her majestic beauty, while she was being consensually abused (bribe-influenced oil deals and oil thefts) and raped of her dignity (unrepentant oil spills and environmental degradation) by her numerous grooms. Her continual self-denial in reassuring herself through the hideous and massively corrupted activities of the main oil corporation which serves as a handy purse for any current government in power, her failure to reckon with the fact that her grooms are gradually considering other brides having identified her cancer but merely relishing the beauty as long as it lasts and finally, her lack of vision as well as strategic and deliberate consideration for her future were solely responsible for her state of confusion the day her beauty faded in the future.
Her head and the dominating elements have failed. They have been failing even before her beauty was made known to the world through the influence of the wedding planner. The same dead brains in charge at her birth are still the recycled ones leading her to a path of destruction today. The once charming grooms are nowhere to be found.
However, at some point in her future, the cancer will be cured and her beauty restored as an industrialized nation. The youths of today whose future have been imprisoned and held hostage by the corrupt ruling elite will rise and bring justice to their jailers. Every one of these will answer to his and her atrocities no matter how small or large and no one will escape the rightful legal judgment of their contribution to the cancer that has eaten deep into the bride.
A vibrant and active opposition will arise and through constructive (and often, destructive) criticism, the future ruling elite will be kept on a right track. This is will be the resultant effect of responsible political process.
The intellectual class will be productively intellectual. The days of “Abuja Appointment” at fictitious government agencies and parastatals will be over.
International relations will resume an open, robust and productive approach. Development partnership will be responsibly and mutually profitable. Poverty alleviation beggars bowl will be replaced with sound trade relations.
All these are inevitable because the leaders of tomorrow are being pushed to the wall. Regardless of how long a dark tunnel is, there is always a light at its end. Nigerian youths will no longer have to seek get-away routes through the most horrible means such as marriage to someone old enough to be their grandmother. Waiting lines at developed nation’s embassies will become a memory while carriers of diplomatic passports ‘purposeless’ jetting in and out of the country will become a thing of the past.
I know these things because that is where we are headed. However, it begins by holding those in charge today accountable for their high-salaried failures and recklessness, and not anymore will our natural resources be cancerous.
Once again, there will be sanctity of respect for the lives, liberty and properties of the Nigerian people.
Fiyinfoluwa Elegbede is a regular contributor on the Voice of Liberty Africa (VOLA) project