Pussy cat, pussy cat,
Where have you been?
“I’ve been to London to
Look at the Queen.”
Pussy cat, pussy cat,
What did you there?
“I frightened a little mouse
Under the chair.”
This has been the age long rhyme that I was taught while growing up. However, I found it expedient to think of it in another way after Mr. Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, wrote the article to about his visit to the President who has been on medical holiday for a while. We have to think of the economic implications of being in London and other destinations across the globe which is enriching the Queens and Kings of other countries.
As explained by Mr. Adesina, the trip was on British Airways. The airline industry in Nigeria is almost dead. The Nigerian Airways is moribund; domestic airlines are facing various challenges like Jet A1 shortage; bankruptcy and low patronage. It is saddening that Nigerians do not believe in the domestic airline industry no to talk embarking on long distance travel on any of these airlines. Right from the heart of Abuja, we have made the Queen richer.
Medical tourism is on the rise in Nigeria. I am not saying that people should not go for medicals oversea but my plea is that basic facilities that we need at the Primary Health Centers and the tertiary institutions should be made available to commoners. As a matter of fact, many foreign hospitals come to ‘poach’ patients from Nigeria; many of our medical doctors have left the country for greener pastures because our hospitals are poorly equipped and they are also equally unemployed despite the years spent in school.
It is obvious that the fastest way to change your life is to seek for a political office. Our legislators and other political office holders have not helped the situations either. Our political office holders use their diplomatic passports as the gateway to frequent travels from the taxpayer’s money. They all travel in troupes for all these unnecessary trips that they engage in; they see it as their right. They, in fact, expend funds lavishly during these trips. They are either on chartered plane or on business class. We need to look inward first if we need to grow our country that is dying daily.
The campaign on supporting Made in Nigeria goods have been on for a while with series of advocacy from different quarters. However, I saw a facebook post of recent that reads thus, “this IVM SUV belongs to Senator Ben Bruce of ‘I Just want to make Common Sense’ fame. I learnt from a reliable source that he is the only Senator of the Federal Republic who uses a partly Made-in-Nigeria car in the entire National Assembly. Exotic variants of Toyota, Honda, Mercedes Benz, Ford, Rovers & other brands of wholly foreign made cars line up the vast packing lot. Sen. Bruce’s Common Sense’ philosophy indeed makes sense. Imagine the number of young men & women Innoson, the Nnewi-based maker, Dr. Innocent Ifediaso Chukwuma, could employ if every Senator, House of Assembly lawmaker & the entire federal civil service were to buy their cars from Innoson!” Who are we making richer?
Currently, one of the best ways to show affluence is by running intercontinental marriages, birthdays and other events. This can be called ‘Owanbe Tourism’. The mix varies, either traditional marriage in Nigeria and Church wedding in another continent or wedding done abroad and thanksgiving service in Nigeria; birthday ceremonies in another continent and Nigerian leg of the party. Unfortunately, their media aides are not helping the matters, they assume it is a way of promoting their Bosses by showcasing it in the dailies, whereas it is one of the ways of inciting the populace to know what to do with their votes in coming elections. Have we not enriched the Queen?
We woke up to the news that the Diezani and other political office holders would lose assets in Dubai to the Federal Government of Nigeria. The forfeiture is not my major concern but the way in which the country is being milked dry and other nations are enriched through investment in real estate. This brings to mind the saying of Ivan Lewis , a Member of British Parliament (MP) and Shadow Secretary for International Development that Nigeria is too rich for its people to live in “extreme poverty” and deprivation. Nigeria has so much resources and potentials to be one of the richest nations in the world, and attributed the acute poverty in the country to “corruption and exploitation.” We need not enrich other Kings and Queens.
In the area of education, the Academic Staff Union of Nigeria Universities (ASUU) is currently on a nationwide strike, in vengeance, the Chairman of the University of Ibadan branch said it is the children of corrupt civil servants that can attend a private university in Nigeria. Contrarily, the political class tell us with all sense of pride that they can send their children overseas to school because they can afford it and that their children should be allowed to school abroad because of socio-cultural exchanges which the children of the middle class needs to be exempted from, I guess. We really need to think of how to improve our country and not enhancing the lives of other nations by giving flimsy excuses.
Recently, the Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) announced that the cut off mark into Universities is 120. This will not attract the attention of the Senate Committee Tertiary Institutions and TETFund led by Senator Jibrin Barauto, by putting in place legislation that will significantly improve the tertiary education in Nigeria. Our legislators, who are largely trained in Nigeria, would not think of improving the standard of education here to sink but they want the children of the electorates to serve their children. This is another way in which the Queen is being enriched.
We need to review our ideologies if truly we want Nigeria to be richer than her current state; we need to get our priorities right. We need to find a way of creating a level playing ground for all the citizens. We need new set of nationalists that would strive for the common goal of the nation as a whole. We cannot keep glamorizing situations that we should all frown at because of our pockets. Who are the Queens and Kings that we are enriching at the expense of our nation?