(Editorial note: This was received about a week ago.)
My dear people, I must start by congratulating us for the consolidation of democracy. Two weeks ago we had both Gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections. Even though there were pockets of skirmishes, I can submit that we are all determined to make this system work and with time the imbroglio will be dealt with, then our nation will be one of the exemplified democracies in the world.
I could not write my column last week because I was busy coordinating my son’s first birthday. As I moved around town during that period, a thought kept coming to mind: If posters could cry, we all would be flapping our arms and feet through the pool of tears that our nation space would be submerged in. Also if posters could laugh we all would be running with a finger in each ear in a bid to block out the maddening laughter that will greet us on every corner we turn to. To the winners and the losers, there is work to be done.
I must quickly add my voice to many others that have condemned the Xenophobic attacks going on in South Africa. It is the most barbaric act of fratricide witnessed on the soil of Africa in recent times. Nigeria may have its array of issues but never can it be said that we are hostile to other nationals. Never! We have a xenial spirit that will make us to pay exorbitantly for goods from abroad and trample on homemade wares of the same quality. We would choose all-Sinitic engineers to build our ‘gada’ even when we mouth local content policy.
But let us look at this issue closely.
Xenophobia arises out of harbouring hatred or fear for some people who are considered strangers, non-nationals by some people who consider themselves nationals. The vested hatred could be physically displayed as is presently being witnessed in South Africa. It could be interracial or intraracial. In order to forestall loss of lives of the seemingly non-nationals, the clearest solution is to evacuate them and get them resettled either back at home or wherever they may so choose, in as much as their governments will have an understanding of their plights and the wherewithal to meet their demands. But how many of them would want to come back home?
South Africa is one of the countries that appear to have a working economy in Africa. Please don’t let anyone pull wool over your eyes by telling you that Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa and the sixth largest in the world based on the statistics of the last basing and rebasing. There are economic throes and woes that were perfected by our soulless political leaders to continually keep us as their donkeys.
An economy is said to be working when the impact of the quoted statistics is felt by the people. A working economy is one in which there is adequate power for industries to survive and thrive positively in their chosen field. A working economy is one where the security of lives and properties are guaranteed in the face of any physical threat apart from force majeure. A working economy is so described when I know my government will protect me wherever I may be in the world.
I was once in the company of an American friend as we watched in some movies how some police officer, even an assailant, was quickly reminded “I am an American”. The underpin in that warning is that “my government will look out for me”. How much can a Nigerian, a citizen of the Giant of Africa, brag about his identity? Ceteris paribus, if the systems are functioning aright, the best place to be is HOME.
Whatever is happening in South Africa is a pointer to the fact that the continent of Africa needs to do away with our ready pathway of darkness that is hampering our souls from seeing the Light. The supposed nationals who are going about ‘pangaing’, clubbing, stoning and burning to death their much hated non-nationals, have little understanding that their own much-loved brothers and sisters are scattered all over the world. How would it feel if the whole world has the same killing instinct they have. I am sure there will be a cleansing of some kind. But the rest of us have matured better than that. With much respect to one of the eternalized human beings that ever lived, Nelson Mandela, some South Africans are still living in the ‘Darkest’ Ages. Opportunities abound everywhere.
Despite the economy heist of some South African companies operating in Nigeria, never did Nigerians see the need to wake up and wrest themselves from these exploitatory plagues, not to talk of harming them; rather our government would even plaque them for coming into ‘our’ own space to do what we couldn’t have done ordinarily. The slackers in SA should take a cue and learn from other nationals doing exploits on their soil and improve their own lives. Even if everyone leaves ‘their’ homeland for them, but they fail to learn what is to be learnt that wealth doesn’t come from tokenist living, neither does crapulence nor coquetry breed riches, they will always remain useless to themselves and the rest of the world.
We are Africans with nine lives. Let us show the rest of the world we are our brothers keepers.