We aren’t serious
Cheta Nwanze
549

Nigeria’s not Hopeless

It could be reformed, it can be reformed and someday it will be.

There are more than a few smart Nigerians in the world, more than a few honest Nigerians and more than a few who understand the country’s problems but (Yeah, you knew there was a “but” coming, here it is.) the smartest, most honest, best educated, most capable Nigerian’s I know all left Nigeria at the first opportunity and haven’t gone back.

Nigerians show concern when people talk about depletion of the country’s oil and gas but, accept without a qualm the depletion of the country’s talent. No one decries the outflow of smart, talented people. No one begs them to stay. Nigerians either wish them luck or shrug and say “I wish it were me.”

I understand. I lived and learned Nigeria for years. It’s hard. It’s hard to make a difference but, it could be done, it can be done. It doesn’t take the entire country to make a change but, it will take a leader.

Singapore wasn’t the modern, world-leading city-state we know until Lee Kuan Yew worked his will on it. While he didn’t do it alone, no one builds or changes a country alone, he made it happen. One man made it happen.

Nigeria needs that one man or woman.

And when that brave person stands up, Nigerians need to help him or her. The Nigerian diaspora, her progeny who know how the world works, how the rest of the world does it, need to go home and help that person succeed, to tell their towns and tribes why sacrificing their selfish wants in the near term to support the reformer will bring them greater rewards in the long term.

It’s going to be a hard sell in a country so uncertain, where the law can be bought, and private property is always at risk, where banks can’t be trusted, where politicians can’t be trusted, where almost no one can be trusted but, until you find that person and support him or her, Nigeria will remain what it is and Nigeria’s best and brightest will leave.

How now?

No good now. No good.emigr