I recently watched an episode of “Seriously Speaking” which is hosted by Adesuwa Onyenokwe. On that particular episode, all three guests were involved with several NGOs in Nigeria. The discussion on the episode was very interesting and enlightening and it further motivated me to create my own NGO in the future (yeah, I don’t think I’ve mentioned that I want to create an NGO for female empowerment through education. This is a discussion for another). I agreed with most of the points the guests put forward but the one thing they kept saying that bothered me was “stop complaining about the problem and find a solution”. I feel that statement used in the context of creating and maintaining NGOs, absolves the Nigerian Government of most of its responsibilities. I know the government cannot solve all the problems Nigeria is facing but it is supposed to address 90% of the problems while the NGOs addresses 10%. However, in Nigeria, NGOs (which are mostly funded by foreign nations) seem to tackle most of the issues while the government cannot even provide bare minimum (electricity, good education, good and affordable healthcare).
One of the major reasons why I think that statement was somewhat enabling the government’s incompetency is because of a news story I watched a while back. On an episode of “Keeping Real with Adeola” on SaharaTV (I love that show BTW), there was also a story of a teacher in a primary school that had become an uncompleted building (that is how beat down the school was) She was so frustrated with the state of the school that she decided to use her own funds to renovate some parts of the school (I’m sure she did the best she could). The story gained national traction and she was commended by everyone for her contributions to the educational system. The governor of the state where she was residing also praised her selflessness but he ruined everything (in my opinion of course) by requesting that more teachers in the state be like the woman (FYI, no offer was made by the state to refund the teacher for the renovation cost, so yeah…….).
First of all, teachers shouldn’t have to do the job of the government and besides, they don’t get paid enough already so how does the state expect more teachers to do something like that??? Secondly, don’t all states receive money from the federal government? what happened to the money that the state received? I bet the money is probably in Panama or Switzerland right now (sigh). The Nigerian Government officials don’t have consciences; I mean, how can an overpaid state governor who asks underpaid/sometimes unpaid teachers to do his job go to sleep at night?
Sometimes Most times, when I see/hear/read stories like this, it makes me think that there is no hope for Nigeria. The most frustrating part of it is that many government officials make insensitive and dismissive comments: One common response heard when the youth cry about the unemployment rate in Nigeria is, “They should go and farm”. Ok fine, let us say the youth actually do go and farm, does the government provide/ support schemes that provide capital/loans to farmers? To their credit, the government does support a few (emphasis on the word few) but few is not enough and the interest rates for borrowing are really high so potential borrowers are discouraged. I think when they are making those remarks, they think that is like the olden days (said in a very strong Igbo accent) when everyone every man (and people wonder why a feminist movement was required) could inherit land from his father and farm. These days, the fathers have sold the land to pay for their children’s university education so there is nothing to inherit. Even if by some miracle, they have a land and capital to start an agricultural business, how do they transport their products to the market??? On another episode of Seriously Speaking, I learnt that about 60% of Nigeria’s agricultural products is lost because they go bad before they can reach the market. Very soon, the government will soon start asking us to build our own roads when we complain about the poor state of the roads. It is not so far-fetched: I mean, people are already producing their own electricity and sourcing their own water so…………start buying tar to build a road (BTW, don’t some estates already tar the roads leading to their entrances, you see, not far-fetched).
Through writing this article, I have come to realise that nobody can enable the incompetent government: those people don’t need an excuse to be criminally inactive/negligent. I guess I should rename this post “How good deeds can be twisted and used for negative propaganda”. I think the NGOs also know that the government isn’t going to change (at least not anytime soon), so they are just trying to help people where the government fails (trust me, they are failing everywhere) and I salute them for their efforts.