Dreaming of the future while acknowledging the difficulties of the present,Musa Temidayo, 24, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Nigeria, describes the hopes everyday citizens hold for their country.
“All men dream, but not equally.” T. E. Lawrence
The topic “The Nigeria of my dreams” is one of the most talked about issues at different levels of education and at various spheres of age groups. Many of those who have contributed to these talks shared a characteristic of always telling “the Nigeria of my dreams” from their own personal individual standpoint.
With over 200 ethnic groups when Nigeria gained her independence – though I was not born then – the clips from the celebrations shown to us gave me an insight to the great expectation that heralded the event. If the likes of Sir Tafawa Balewa and Chief Obafemi Awolowo were asked then what, in the next 50 years, would be the “The Nigeria of my dreams”, I can say it would not be where we are in the present situation in this century.
But alas! Here we are and still asking ourselves “The Nigeria of my dreams”.
Nigeria today, where life expectancy is one of the lowest in the world; where the health sector is more or less comatose. Even our so-called leaders and lawmakers will travel outside the country to have their medical check ups and treatment. Whereas the fate of that child with a hole in his heart is fastened to such. The mother, probably a petty trader whose capital is not enough for a television subscription, hits a road block because she can never afford to save and send her son abroad for surgery. In her state of despair, if asked what “The Nigeria of my dreams” is, she will tell you that a free, accessible and quality healthcare system is all that clouds her thoughts.
Millions of my fellow students will graduate and have graduated without employment. It is so saddening and makes me wake up in the middle of the night weeping. If we are to ask each and every one of them, they too will tell you their own “The Nigeria of my dreams” story.
While someone decides to spend three billion naira of taxpayers’ money on feeding, some children are going to bed without hope of knowing where to find their next meal. Young Fatima has been robbed of her childhood experience because she has been turned into a bride instead of being allowed to be the child that she is. Some of these street children only have one set of tattered clothes. Meanwhile somewhere in Abuja, our lawmakers are fighting over wardrobe allowances.
Even when sleep became a luxury that some cannot afford because of the rings of poverty, they still keep on dreaming.
So if you still wish to ask me “The Nigeria of my dreams” I will tell you that it is the dream in the heart of that young girl who comes back from school every day, only to hawk for her mother so as to add more money for her to save and get her more text books.
I will tell you that “The Nigeria of my dreams” lies in the heart of that father who lost his house and belongings to fire because the fire service did not respond on time.
I will tell you it lies on the sleepy eyes of that young man who has to wake up 4 am to catch a bus going to lekki to get to the office on time, so that he would not lose the job and risk his ability to put food on the family table. He comes home so late in the night that he cannot help his kids with school assignments.
I will you that it lies in the tears of the old woman selling by the road side, who is so unlucky that anti-street trading officials came to seize her wares because she cannot afford a shop.
I will tell you that it lies on the sweat of the school gateman who earns a small salary as we walk by everyday without saying hello or getting him a chilled coke.
I will tell you that it lies in regrets of students that had to write university admission and matriculation tests four times because there is a limited capacity for enrolment that each public university can admit.
I will tell you that it lies in the pain of those who kept praying for a Nigeria that is free from all forms of terrorism. A Nigeria where the Muslims can go to mosque and the Christians can go to church without having fear of being blown to smithereens.
The Nigeria of my dreams is to live in a new Nigeria where everybody’s dreams can be achieved.
Reach me on Twitter @Simply_dayor
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About me: I am from Nigeria, currently studying International Relations at Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife Osun state. I’m also the Editor-in- Chief for the department. I love travelling and singing, and have interest in Management and Developmental Issues.
Aside from studying, I work as as the Chairman of my department’s magazine. I want to be a Manager-Human Resource & Conflict Management, and also hope to serve in the Nigerian foreign service.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response.
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/
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I dream of a prosperous country where every Nigerian will live in dignity. I dream of an end to high levels of poverty, inequality and unemployment in Nigeria. I dream of a Nigeria where the rule of law will prevail and where there will be observance of human rights.
I dream of a Nigeria where governments at all levels will prioritize human capital development, and industrial development. I dream of a country where governments will ensure that citizens have access to quality healthcare; and where the rich will patronize local hospitals rather than go abroad for medical treatments, for the locals would provide same quality healthcare as their counterparts anywhere in the world. I dream of a Nigeria where people die in the presence of loved ones rather than in lonely foreign hospitals. I dream of Nigeria with reduced infant and maternal mortality rates. I dream of a country where the rich invest in the health sector – build world class hospitals – rather than waste money to place adverts on obituaries of loved ones, most of who die because of the poor state of the Nigerian healthcare.
I dream of Nigeria where every Nigerian child has access to quality education; a country with some of the best universities in the world that parents will see as the first choice for their children. I dream of truly world class research universities in Nigeria. I dream of an era where there will be no strikes by academic and non-academic staff in our higher education institutions. I dream of students unions that will truly prioritize the welfare of students. I dream of an end to cultisms in the Nigerian campuses. I dream of Nigeria where lecturers will not seek sexual favours from students, and where lecturers won’t pass off the work of students as theirs. I dream of a country where admission to higher education institutions will be on merit.
I dream of Nigeria where every child, including the girl child, will have access to quality education at all levels; a country where the girl child is in schools rather than being married off; and a society where the girl child has the same rights as the boy child.
I dream of a united, stable and peaceful country. I dream of a Nigeria where ethnic and religious militancy will be a thing of the past; and where there will be no basis to reward ethnic and religious militants with amnesty and juicy government contracts.
I dream of a country where freedom reigns. I dream of a country where citizens will reclaim their humanity. I dream of Nigeria where citizens will stop worshipping the god of money. I dream of a country where people worship the creator – the real God and not “the Nigerian god”. I dream of Nigeria where everyone will be defined by the content of their character rather than their religious and ethnic backgrounds, or by state of origin. I dream of a country where our common humanity and citizenship define us.
I dream of Nigeria with well equipped police force, where officers do not have to use their personal resources to furnish their offices, and where they do not have to use their own mobile phones to carry out official duties because of governmental neglect. I dream of a police force that can protect the lives and property of citizens. I dream of a police service that will serve our people and one whose officers do not solicit or accept bribes. I dream of a country where our navy protect our waters and not outsourced to so-called ex-militants.
I dream of an efficient and effective aviation sector, where there will be no air disasters and no flight delays; and airlines like Arik will ensure that their flights are on schedule, and if there are delays the airlines will tell passengers the exact reasons rather than the nonsensical “operational reasons”. I dream of a society where customers will be queens and kings. I dream of an aviation sector that will be planned for a growing population. I dream of a country that renovates and builds airports for today and tomorrow. I dream of the day when it will take passengers at our international airports less than 10 minutes to go through immigration. I dream of a functional rail system and motorable roads, with the resultant decline in road accidents.
I dream of a country where public servants will be servants and not lords over citizens. I dream of Nigeria governed by decent people rather than criminals who parade themselves as politicians. I dream of a country where politics is a second profession; and when a politician doesn’t win an election , s/he goes back to his or her primary means of livelihood. I dream of Nigeria where public service is not a means of primitive accumulation and of a society where public officials will not loot the national treasury and our commonwealth. I dream of Nigeria where those that attempt to dip their hands into the national purse become outcasts in society, and not rewarded with traditional and religious titles.
I dream of a country that rewards hardwork and excellence, where entrepreneurs and not politicians are the richest. I dream of Nigeria where the politicians and other public officials are not the richest among us. I dream of a society driven by politics of ideas rather than godfatherism, and ethnic and religious considerations. I dream of a country where gender equality is practiced in all walks of life, including the political sphere. I dream of development and governance, and consequently public policy, based on scientific ideas, hence evidenced-based rather than on myths and superstitions.
I dream of Nigeria with purposeful leadership that will put national interests above individual and sectional interests. I dream of leaders that will develop the productive capacities of our country, including human capital. I dream of a country with strong industrial base, that will export rather than import finished products. I dream of a country where manufacturing of commercial products and innovations/inventions take place in every corner rather than religious houses sprouting in every street corner. I dream of post-oil Nigeria where the manufacturing and service sectors contribute more to exports, employment and GDP.
I dream of Nigeria with leaders like Lee Khan Yew who will transform our economy from primary sector dependent to high value-added manufacturing and high service sector based. I dream of a president who will inspire Nigerians to actualise their human potentials.
I dream of Nigeria with moral icons like Mandela and Tutu. I dream of a day Nigerians will have leaders that are unifying figures and who command moral authority. I dream of a country with true statesmen/women.
I dream of the day when every Nigerian will experience uninterrupted power supply. I dream of a country that will take advantage of our natural environment to generate electricity. I dream of green energy as one of the main sources of power supply in Nigeria. I dream of Nigeria where oil companies will observe the international standards of environmental protection.
I dream of the Nigeria with free and fair elections, where politicians will not be experts in writing election results to change the will of the people. I dream of the day when genuine losers of elections will accept the results and move on until the next election. I dream of Nigeria without electoral thuggery. I dream of a country where our very best, both morally and professionally, will dominate the political space. I dream of Nigeria where elections periods will not be cycles of politically motivated killings.
I dream of Nigeria inspiring the African continent and the black race to become important players in the international community. I dream of Nigerians heading major international development bodies like the World Bank and the African Development Bank, not because of acts of charity, but the strengthen of its economy.
I dream, I dream and I dream of a better Nigeria. I dream of a brighter future for our children. I dream that all Nigerians work to make these dreams a reality.
Omano Edigheji, Ph.D, is a Senior Researcher at the Centre for Policy Studies, Johannesburg, South Africa (http://www.cps.org.za). He invites you to follow him on twitter, @omanoe. Please feed him back via: email@example.com