Update from Qudus' blog

Dec 4, 2008

There is a natural mystique flowing in NIGERIA

What is happening in this country, everybody seems to be Nigerian these days, I recently heard that the richest man in Africa is a Nigerian, Dangote or what does that his wretched name sounds like. Somebody must really be attempting to kid everybody, well minus me. Nigeria, that NATION OF MANY PARADOX, they call them Africa’s most populous nation, and they take that to the bazaar, often regarded as the crime GIANT, SYNONYMOUS TO 419, corruption, and lawlessness, not to mention the oil BOOM, that is BETTER KNOWN RECENTLY AS OIL curse, illustrated by the ongoing rebellion in the Niger Delta. This place of all evils, and how possible will it be that people can still think straight or have time for fun and talent discovery in these chaos, this irritating nation mainly known for her long military dictatorship in the hands of Abacha and others that we can't name because they are still alive dictating in disguise. 

Nigeria that was once the major regret of Christopher Okigbo, that great poet that was killed during Biafra, even Wole soyinka, the Nobel laureate, Chinua Achebe and the likes of Fela Kuti, the king of afrobeat, not to mention others forced out and now claimed by the diaspora, the likes of Okwui Nwezor, Olu Oguibge, Henry Oguike, Peter Badejo, Sam Shonibare those british artists and statesmen, you think if they were in Nigeria they would have been what they are today, you can't claim that those ones are still Nigerians anyway, they are citizens of the world even if most of them were born and brought up in Nigeria, their works, we have been very familiar with mostly in Europe and America and has inspired many of our own artistes throughout the world. Now, all of a sudden so many original and talented young Nigerian artists want to start flocking our European scenes? Admittedly, Nigeria is by far one the most populous country in the world. Ok ok. Which is a good excuse to have all sort of offbeat breeds popping out from there. But nevertheless, who else can you mention in present tense, do you want to talk about Femi and Seun Kuti, those ones we can understand, for they are the sons of the great Fela Kuti and nothing else can come out of Nigeria than that anyway, without forgetting Tony Allen, his former accomplice.

But wait, did someone just whispered JayJay Okocha and Kanu Nwankwo, those soccer guru and world acclaimed star... oh no the grammy award winner Seal... and Keziah Jones, the inventor of the "blufunk", no don't tell me these guys are also Nigerians, Keziah that was discovered playing in the metro of Paris, oh no I am a big fan of that genius, the last time he played a surprise concert at the Parisian metro, I couldn't get to see him, but hold on, i'm getting another eye opening news now, that the just concluded, first ever Mtv Africa Music Awards was colonized by some Nigerian artists, no no its a lie, D'banj, 9ice, P.Square,
Naeto C, Ikechukwu, are you sure these guys didn't bribe the organisers, I mean look at the list of winners, ohhh... No wonder they won, it was organised in Abuja, I beg stop fooling me, but even more, for the past three years, we've witnessed another three formidable Nigerian singers invading our radio waves and enchanting our summer festivals. Ayo, Asa and Nneka, ok, sincerely I have to give up now, because here are three good reasons to look at contemporary Nigeria with another eye. Now guys don't mind my unpatriotic utterances, i'm no longer a citizen of the world, i'm actually a Nigerian, cos I think at this moment being a Nigerian is a different kind of cliché, the creative energy in this nation entity is just something to reckon with, at least now people can start making my name synonymous to talents and possibilities, the world has began to place Nigeria on a different platform, so now there is the world, there is United States of America, there is Africa and there is also Nigeria apart. so the Nigerian dream is really alive, now everybody wants to VISIT THIS REVOLUTIONARY NATION THROUGH THE windows of The Nigerian urban music, dance, movies, football and all other trivial means that we took just for what they were.

In the tail end of the 20th century this country just kept surprising us with all sorts of booms, after the eve of independence, the post-colonial power tussle of the sixties that geared up inspiration for the action movie makers in Hollywood, the coup d'état boom was our first hearing to the word boom, should we talk of the oil boom of the 70s, that was followed by the corruption boom of the 80s, which made many of us lost hope in the future of this cursed nation, with resourceful people, but the 90s was the beginning of the soccer and Nollywood movies boom, and then the 21st century opened up with some serious booms, miraculously we see the telecommunication boom, financial system boom, apart from this musician that kept bothering our air waves and as it is beginning to seem now, we are about to witness the dance boom, photography boom, and other inconsequential booms, ok from today on, I'll never underestimate the power of stupid people in large numbers, and no matter what rubbish I lay my hands on now, I will never let anybody tell me who I am, cos they only want to tell me who they want me to be, so after all the national and international condemnation Nollywood got, yet their destiny can't be changed, and this even goes beyond what scholars can put on paper, or what the major players in this Nigerian dreams themselves can analyse, 

Nigeria is becoming the Nation that really needs a carefully close look at, because even before Obama came up with the “Yes we can” slogan, Nigerians has been saying it with their ways and actions in a very informal and banal way, The individual is a major player and the embodiment of the Nigerian dream. IN THE NEW NIGERIA, EVERYMAN IS A CREATOR, they have become the re-inventors of culture and tradition, a contemporary Nigerian is first a Nigerian above all other things, he is less of his ethnic grouping, likewise does the question of being an African is of any importance to him, he has made himself a dynamic interlocutor between past and the future,
FOR HE CAN FEEL THE NEED FOR A NEW NATION BUILDING WITH OR WITHOUT THE STATE, consciously or unconsciously, through playfulness or mere survival instinct, and talent is no longer a password to success, neither does originality seems to be enough, but all that must be supported with consistency and a marketing gimmick that is definitely out of this world, Nigeria is cursed with everything good and bad, cursed with talent, corruption, greediness, creativity, indiscipline, natural and human resources, corruption, insensitivity to filthy surroundings and many other identifiable plagues in our catalogue of the national mystique. A Nigerian cares less about stereotypes and give no damn about what the international media is saying about them, 

So who is the man telling me that the cities of the future are still lying somewhere in Europe, or taking the directions of Tokyo, Doha or Beijing, hell no, the cities of the future are completed work in progress, cities in motion and adhering to contemporary needs of a city, made what it is by the resourcefulness of its creative and entrepreneurial citizens, producing intense proximity of loads of activities and performance of all sorts, from selling and buying, to fighting and praying, loading and unloading, road shows of all sorts, touting, crimes and daily minor violence, all working side by side with dirt, waste, history, energy, slums and sweat to sustain the everyday hustling that put a totally different light to their moment of merrymaking, worship and love. All these are what the city of the future is made of and not defined by its architectural extravagant extravaganza. In ungovernable cities like Lagos or Benin city for example, the rule of law, law of gravity and the formal pulls of life are brought to the lime light at the square everyday by the people, with full support of the thugs and touts, to be assembled and demolished even before the end of the inaugural party and political shows, set in motion by the state, to celebrate the new reinstated rules and regulation, the people in turn takes from all that is visible and in present tense, to make the informal never changing, yet mobile government, through of course their creative energy, many thanks to their public reputation and street credibility that none of the statesmen can boast of.

Any un-Nigerian reader out there reading this article might be thinking, what a patriot and flag wavers contemporary Nigerians must be, well you might be missing the point, yes Nigerians are flag wavers above other things, but I don't know if it can be linked to patriotism, its just fashion, its becoming hip to wear the national colour and proclaim the national slogans, Naija 4 life, Proudly Nigerian etc. without any deep implication attached, but evidently the youth culture and the ruling informal government is very green in colour, and no one wishes to dig into that hidden sack, because for me, the word patriot in dictionary terms is a person who loves and cares deeply about his country and not one who says he loves his country, Patriotism is an emotion of love directed by a critical intelligence, and how can this be possible if the rulers and the ruled are not on parallel grounds and have no common goal of maintaining the dispensation at which the nation lives. The only true patriots we have in Nigeria are the ruling class, they are the ones who cling religiously to the notion of patriotism, clowning themselves with the importance of the national pledge and hymn. What I'm trying to say here is that, Nigeria is entirely different from Nigerians, Nigeria is such a hopeless country, but Nigerians on the other hand are so much of a reassuring sect, despite their ungovernable characteristics, they are a complete opposite to the ruling class, when you visit Nigeria as a foreigner, the visible wonders 
you see everywhere are mere invention of Nigerians, the people you meet on your daily encounters that will make you return with a whole new idea of what Nigeria stands for, because from outside Nigeria the only information we get are the governmental magic of the ruling class who calls themselves Nigeria.

17 comments:

  1. Bukola Sawyerr IzeoguThursday, February 19, 2009

    Very very nicely put my brother! Big up Nigerians!

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  2. Patrick Ebi AmanamaThursday, February 19, 2009

    av stopd weepin&prayin 4 our country,i look yet i cant see clearly,a natn that celebrate thieves,a natn where we all knw d solutn 2 alot of crisis yet???ok,we av a title'Giant of Africa'CEo wit 95'/.of its workers as casuals,d likes dangote,elumelu,ovia..

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  3. In my opinion, the writer is confused and a little bit sarcastic in magnifying the challenges of Nigeria beyond measures. May I ask you if Nigeria is the only nation with the challenges you've mentioned in your write-up. Do not paint your rashness with little friendly words or sugar-coated statements. Research more and you would discover that even the greatr nations of today have worse problems than Nigeria.

    I AM PROUDLY NIGERIAN and I know believe that Nigeria has a better image compared toi some other respected nations.

    Mind you, Nigeria is NOT CURSED...

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  4. very long and very intriguing,but first i find it deplorable that you will disrepect Dangote.not only is his son a good friend of mine but this man has worked hard 4 everything he owns,he made jobs for the nigerian people in most states around the country in my opinion he is a national hero n should b respected in the lights the other great names mentioned.however,Nigeria the gaint of Africa with some injuries can be healed.It needs serious reform but we cant always be sarcastic and stick to its negativities instead we should push for the change that will benefit our kids and allow them the benefits that are lacked at the moment,Nigeria will always be great

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  5. Come Qudus, I thought you were suppose to be jumping around in some circus stage? Have they unleashed you?;...lol

    anyway to support your point, I dont think Nigeria (meanwhile i like your defintion of Nigeria) does not inspire any value for patroistism...however, I do not agree with you completely that those who identify as Naijas do so out of just fashion. In my opinion there is a deep sense of commitment evaporating from all these wahala in Nigeria. Definetely, it is not a love for the country, but I suspect it is a thick back formed as a result of this rejection of a people by its nation and because everyone is growing this thick back, it is beginning to look like a massive coalition, which can be given the name "Nigerian". Personally, one of the reasons why I am so proud to be a Nigerian is when I see a fellow Nigerian, whom I know feels the pain and the lashings of this country, yet thrives and says "No shaking"...when he keeps pushing. At times like this I love myself so much for being a Nigerian, fuck patroitism... infact that word is amongst a million things that is on the verge of being refined.

    Now the big question is...with all these energy, talent (as in excess talent), creativity...how can we channel it towards a direction? I suspect a new defintion of Nigeria is on the way, if only we can give it a clear direction. It is only our destination that will determine our destiny, nothing else and no one else. Otherwise 2face, Dbanj,Ikechukwu, Neto C, Timaya etc will all come and go, only to be replaced by another boom, and yet we will never have any account of it. Just like it was first agriculture ,then oil, abeg tell me does Nigeria look any different (economically) from any other suffering country in Africa?

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  6. @Qudus, I like the reasoning of Nigeria being distinct from Nigerian, yet I must say, that both are so intertwined, it's like the question of the egg and the fowl (which came first?)

    @Emeka, true talk!!! We have all grown thick backs, and right now everybody is fighting for himself, and the knowledge that you are not the only one with a thickened back, fighting to survive, is re-assuring. Yet somehow, I think THIS is what will bring the overall change that we all desire. Because as we all fight to better the lives of the people we love and care about (knowing that our father has no oil block he has left for you), they are also fighting to better the lives of the people they love, I think gradually, very gradually we will get there (Though the truth is that humans can't entirely solve their problems, they can only try).
    One thing that the youths of today have that our fathers don't, is broad, sophisticated, and UNLIMITED education (formal, semi-formal, and informal - Thanks to technology), the possibilities extend so far in front of us, that you realize you don't have to be struggling for government contracts or a share of the 'National cake', instead you can create your own cake, which sometimes can be much bigger than any share of the national cake that you could have been given, and the knowledge that your mind CAN create much greater WEALTH than any your parents can leave you, and that you can also teach your children to depend on the power of their mind to create even greater wealth than you have created in your life time - ITS EXCITING!

    In the final analysis, it's everyone for himself & others, and God for all of Us. Keep up the fight folks, and KNOW that you are a motivation to others just as they are to you, knowing that if you cease to motivate them through your daily fight and struggle to survive against all odds, you are also depriving yourself the motivation you will need, when the life leans it's weight on you.

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  7. Monsurat Abdulrahman AmudaThursday, February 19, 2009

    Great write up. Nigeria does need patriots to really develop.

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  8. No matter what we say or do, curse, pray, swear, howl, shout, whisper, dance, sing, make sense, yahoozize, utter rubbish, facebook, blog, patriots, two time, two faced ...et al, my guys just do it ad infinitum, cos these are all what reunite to give flesh to the "Nigerian Dream" that is the natural mystique flowing through the Nigerian air, so if i write rubbish and your comment make more sense, if you write and i don't comment, walahi, its still part of it... lol.

    i found all the comments really interesting, even though some got me wrong, but sha its part of it, Samuel thanks for completing my thoughts but you are here commenting on this just because you are in the category of Nigerian, but my brother if you were Nigeria, you won't be here doing that, the ones we refer to as Nigeria are too patriotic and busy to be here reading my weightless article. which doesn't say you cannot become a spokesman for Nigeria one day.

    Kupelalalala you no serious o, shebi you see say my trouble no small at all, i'm having my premier on wednesday, packing non-stop and yet i still get time to write... lol.. its part of the Nigerian Dream. and congrats for your nomination... Artistic of the year. me i go vote o.

    Qd dey hail you all.

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  9. What you guys don't realize is that the wind of change is flowing. A quiet revolution is building up. How do i know? A few years ago, you couldn't find people discussing the problems of Nigeria with such brilliance and intellectualism. Secondly, because all of you are showing a high level of discontent for the state of the nation, it shows the future is bright.

    I tell people, every true revolution starts with inner illumination. It starts with knowledge from where a passion and a vision develops. Just look at all of us setting aside religion, tribe and prejudices to discuss passionate issue of Nigeria?

    That momentum is gathering and i believe it will happen for Nigeria in our time.

    This nature of openness is what scholars like Gani Fawehinmi, Itse Sagay, Wole Soyinka, e.t.c have advocated when they called for a National Conference! What they want is a situation where everyone stops playing the Ostritch and face issues about the future. To decide how we want to live with ourselves. Up until now, those who have frustrated that move are those who've hurt Nigeria most.

    So, @Samuel Anyaele - we cannot afford the 'everyone for himself & others, and God for all of Us' mantra. God said that we should be our brother's keeper. We need to keep putting the right information into the space of conscience. We will win that way.

    @Monsurat, every nation needs the real patriots. You and me and everyone who is writing their heart out on FB, in the bus, in their mosques and churches, everyone doing their very bit. We cannot allow the looters in Abuja rewrite the glorious history of Nigeria into opprobrium.

    QD, i understant your frustration, but pioneers ave had to suffer what we suffer. Galeilio was killed for saying the truth. Bill Gates was impugned. But today the whole world knows him. We wont stop working with God to put Nigeria where it belongs even if all God allows us to do in it is spread the knowledge that leads to emancipation.

    @Joel Junior, Nation building isn't tied to subserviency. I admit Dangote's kids are your friend. But we will analyse the economy for you.

    I respect Dangote and his efforts to be a great man. His companies also provide employment for thousands of Nigerians where government has failed.

    Be that as it may, you'd reckon with me he benefitted unduly from the military anomaly. Everyone else was barred by fiat from importing flour and sugar and rice.......the staple of over a 100 million people. That is hardly free economy. In the process, he made billions while in our prosperity of those days, we were forced to hand so much over to him.

    Other honest Nigerians were deprived of their legitimate opportunity. That wasn't the way Bill Gates made his money. That wasn't how Warren Buffet did it. Even Simon Cowell and P Diddy were creative and were fair.

    I certainly wouldn't want my kid to look up to such people as their hero. No way. I would rather they invent or provide servicesor produce something of value within a fair play environment. Lolu Akinwunmi of Prima Garnett is one man who did that.

    The only thing i liked about him was that he heeds advice. Brand Consultants told him he doesn't have a future as a trader. They told him he had to produce brands and become a household name. That's why you see him going into production. That effort is less than 15 years.

    We need people who are industrious and honest and did it fairly. While i appreciate his boldness and risk taking, I won't celebrate him as a true winner.

    But he can redeem himself if he turns to the defender of the poor and use his influence to make governments to do what is right. He has that power. But so are others.

    cheers

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  10. Adekunle TheophiliusThursday, February 19, 2009

    Incisive piece, but in totality, we too need to buckle up and i beleive a concerted effort is essential!, but are nigerians getting less tribalised, i dont think so. See the needless turmoil in jos and our leaders at both arms, levels and tiers,the hydraheaded monster of ethnicity stands unchallenged. You can speak only for urself and few people. Look at yaradua didnt he surrround himself with katsina people, abba rumi, tanimu yakubu,md yussuf, Mamman nasir, manga etc. look at others? even the so-called learned ones are equally culpable

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  11. Ohimai Godwin AmaizeThursday, February 19, 2009

    Qudus and Kupelala, let me first congratulate you guys on your nomination for the TFAs! Hard work pays, abi now?...lol!

    I share your sentiments on the woes and throes of our country Nigeria. As a matter of fact, you have understated the gravity of the rot that has permeated the system. Our collapsed values are collapsing further, but in such a dangerously attractive way that only a few can really read in between the lines to see how far we are derailing. You see, one of the worst things that can happen to any society is when it fails to recognize its problems. Nigeria has failed to recognize its problems, and that has made the possibility of proferring solutions almost impossible. When we talk about Nuhu Ribadu today, the popular arguments are about how Obasanjo used him. Very few talk about the institutional weaknesses that made his job almost impossible for him to execute. Hence I won't be surprised if in the near future, Prof. Maurice Iwu bags a National Honour for serving Nigeria very well! It was George Santayana who said, "Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it." I am afraid that our generation - the so-called future of Nigeria is merely repeating history in another way, perhaps in a more attractive, entertaining and interesting way. I pray and hope that the future proves me wrong!

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  12. Qudus O !
    You cannot answer emails but you can write novels on Facebook…
    Well more people benefit from you writing notes than answering personnal emails so it’s ok, this is democracy in a way. The interest of the majortity prevails. Nothing dey happen
    Anyway, so much has been said already about your article, it won’t be easy to add something valuable to it.
    I have to say though, i really like your distinction between Nigeria and Nigerians…
    I think it makes so much sense. What happened in Jos last week is Nigeria while you, Emeka, 9ice, Asa, Obi Mikel…(the list goes on) are Nigerians…
    I guess The question now is who is going to take over ? Nigeria or Nigerians ?
    Or maybe there will not even be a clash between the two, hopefully the two will merge one day.
    I strongly believe that Nigerians have what it takes to better and/or uplift Nigeria so that Nigeria and Nigerians can live in peace.

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  13. incisive distinction between Nigeria and Nigerians. truth is Nigeria is changing and it isnt planned , tells u it is more spiritual than organised. there will be greater manifestations. emeka is rite in a lot of ways.

    most of these commentators are not even based in our country, how do u stay in touch? patroitism?

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  14. @Ereku, expand your mind. This is a global village. We keep in touch and i can tell you, you don't know about Naija as much as these people overseas your taunt is about.

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  15. Serge lol, no be so o, you didn't ask for any reply, so i saw it and i read and its actually one of the things that prompted this article, you know i don't write from the blues, our people used to say if there is no reason, a lady never bears "KUMOLU", lol, and mind you i'm still nursing my anger with you and Emeka that decided to go on with your party on a friday when you guys knew i can't make it to Paris on Friday, well thats for another day and another venue not here on FB, so Serge, whats new, i shall be in Paris this weekend Insha Allah, and we'll talk better hopefully.

    @Theo, i don't know about public politics or politics in disguise, but Nigerians care less about tribalism and religious believe when it comes to the issue of being a "NIGEIRAN" which i don't need to go into further analysis of, and look at the list of crooks you named, are they not the ones i refer to as NIGERIA? they are the only ones entitled to the terms compatriot, loyalist and nationalist.

    and to finally give a quick shout out to Emeka, who disagrees that "those who identify as Naijas do so out of just fashion", please let me understand you right, "identify" which is the word you used and "flag wavers" in my term are not actually the same, so don't let us get each other wrong.

    and ok another finally, lol, cos i have really been trying to shy away from responding to Olayiwole that concluded that"I was confused and a little bit sarcastic in magnifying the challenges of Nigeria beyond measures"... cos it makes me laff, can anyone ever magnify the problem of Nigeria above what it is in real time? Ohimai save me o, and yet you want me to research well before i could write about my daily depression, do i need to compare Nigeria with other great nations of today? each nation with their peculiar problem and peculiar solution, that requires a great insight and internal disorder, and to kill the whole thing you say Nigeria is not a cursed nation... ok let me put it this way, do you know that Qudus in cursed with talent?... its a natural mystique my brother.

    Qd dey hail

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  16. Adekunle TheophiliusThursday, February 19, 2009

    MY BROTHER E BI LIKE SAY OLAYIWOLA JUST LAND FROM NEPTUNE!BUT HUMOR ASIDE, THE TRUTH IS THAT THE CHALLENGES OF NIGERIA ARE REALLY IMMEASURABLE!
    TRUE TALK NIGERIA IS NOT THE ONLY NATION WITH CHALLENGES, BUT NIGERIA IS A NATION WITH PECULIAR CHALLENGES! LETS NOT DECEIVE OURSELVES IF WE THINK OUR CHALLENGES CAN BE SURMOUNTED WITH A SLEIGHT OF THE HAND, AS SUBTLY INDICATED BY OLAYIWOLA!, NIGERIA IS THE ONLY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD PAST OR PRESENT THAT HAS EARNED MORE 200BILLION DOLLARS AS REVENUE BETWEEN 1998-2008 AND THERE IS VIRTUALLY LITTLE TO SHOW FOR IT, NIGERIA IS THE ONLY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD THAT SUNK 15BILLION DOLLARS ON POWER AND APART FROM THE FACT THAT THERE IS VIRTUALLY NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT, THE INDICTED CULPRITS ARE GALLIVANTING UNFETTERED OVER THE WHOLE PLACE! THESE ARE INCONTROVERTIBLE ASSERTIONS!, IMAGINE WE DO NOT KNOW HOW MUCH WE EARN FROM DAILY CRUDE OIL SALES AND DO NOT KNOW THE EXACT AMOUNT EXPENDED ON THE POWER SECTOR REHABILITATION AND WE ARE SAYING OUR CHALLENGES ARE MINUTE??? LET ME JUST STOP HERE!

    PERSONALLY, BASED ON OUR ARRAY OF RESOURCES, WE SHOULD BE ON THE SAME PEDESTAL WITH WESTERN EUROPE, NOT EVEN THE EASTERN EUROPEAN NATIONS THAT ARE NOT AS ENDOWED AS WE ARE! BUT WE ARE DOWN ON THE RICHTER SCALE BECAUSE OF THE MIS AND UNDER UTILIZATION OF THESE RESOURCES,AM PROUDLY NIGERIAN TOO, BUT HOME TRUTHS ARE VERY ESSENTIAL!THIS DECEPTION, ILLUSION, LIES, SELF DECEIT IS JUST RESPONSIBLE FOR THE PALPABLE DISCONNECTION BETWEEN THE LED AND THE LEADERS!, THE MORE WE TELL OURSELVES THE HOME TRUTH THE MORE WE WILL GET TO REALIZE THE PRECARIOUSNESS OF OUR POSITION AND THE NEED FOR URGENT ACTION!.

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