The Challenge Of Being A Nigerian Today, An Article By Afeso Albert Akanbi

The Challenge Of Being A Nigerian Today

September 14, 2016 – The Challenge Of Being A Nigerian Today, An Article By Afeso Albert Akanbi 

Technology is good yes. Even though it has its own demerits like every other human endeavour, no one can deny that it has enhanced human life and also has the capacity to make nations who put it to good use powerful.

Sometimes in 2013 a British newspaper broke some piece of interesting news about how some classified documents of the United State National Security Agency was leaked, and how among the leaked documents was a court ruling ordering Verizon to hand over telephone data in their possession.

It became clear from that news that the phone calls of millions of Americans as well as countless people around the world, through the use of technology, were being monitored. As a matter of fact, America was and could still today listen in on phone conversation in the entire planet. Emails, phone calls, credit cards, passwords, chats, nothing is hidden anymore.

Even though I am not here trying to excuse this ultimate breach of privacy, I believe this is proof that with technology, a nation can actually become a giant, rendering another nation an ant. China, Japan, Israel and even India recognize this fact, reason they are daily ‘borrowing’ America’s technological recipes and turning them into their own.

However, at a time when serious nations are utilizing technology to meet their communication needs, up to the extent they are now even capable of breaking into people’s privacy, we have revealed how pathetic our own situation has become.

One does not have to look far or need a soothsayer to get confirmation of our technological backwardness. Even the future is being mortgaged too! Just take a look at the results coming to light of the subject of Science and Technology in our secondary schools and you will see what I mean. As if that is not depressing enough, we cannot even utilize technology to manage basic communication needs. Today, one cannot place a call and get the lines to connect at one dial. As a matter of fact, it is when you are in an emergency situation that MTN will refuse to connect your calls.

Every day, simple task- like making a call, using the internet or an ATM- is continually proving a difficult challenge in this country. Last week I had an experience that underscores how difficult it is today to be a Nigerian living in Nigeria in this challenging world. It is not as if this was the first time I would face a challenge trying to withdraw money but it would be the first all the negatives in this country would be at play and affect so many people at the same time too.

As a research centre, the office where I work is situated in the premises of one of Nigeria’s premier Federal Universities. Despite this, I could not use my Access bank online platform because for over a month, the networks of all the major service providers have been really appalling. Internet services was at a lock down, calls were either not connecting or services were epileptic. You could be on a call and all you get to hear would be half the conversation of the person on the other end. Then there was this massive congestion on the university INTECU internet platform so that buying their scratch card became a waste of time and money.

I took my slot behind a smallish girl in the long almost endless, crowded line of students that stretched into the scotching sun. After almost an hour wait, when it reached the turn of the girl, after like three trials, the machine debited her but didn’t remit the cash. The palpable look of frustration on her face blended with her tearful sigh. I didn’t need a soothsayer to tell me to seek another machine. It was then I realized surprisingly that all the other ATMs were not working. From GTB to Zenith the crowd of customers waiting to use ATMs was frightening, and yet the machines were not working all at the same time.

The crowd inside the banking hall was almost double the one outside. In front of the POS, the cashier ordered me to insert my card into the device. I punched in some digits. The word ‘receiving’ displayed on the screen for about five minutes and then changed to ‘received’. In a bid to vomit the receipt of the transaction, the machine jammed. I asked the cashier the way forward since the transaction had been concluded. She told me because I was a known face at the branch, she would pay me but not before putting down some info about myself like my phone number and stuff. I said to myself, you can take my birth certificate if you want just give me my money.

The point of this narrative is simple; why are basic things so difficult to get in this country? And why does it appear Buhari and his APC, recession or not, are making life even worse with the current hardship? Even though we live in a time and world that is beset with all manner of problems, instead of keying into the technology bandwagon and see how we can benefit from it, every day we take one technological step forward, two sideways and three backwards. Every day we inflict punishment on ourselves that stems from the fact that we always put politics first and play shameless dangerous politics with everything. If not, what will it take for government to demand real service from those who should render such to make life easy for citizens?

Insecurity, terrorism, food shortages, crime and natural disasters are just a few of the issues that have made it axiomatic that being a human being in this epoch is a challenge and a form of suffering. Then reality has dawn on us today that living in Nigeria under President Buhari’s APC government is torture.
The debate about human suffering has been around for as long as man has been able to form words into questions. And suffering can come as pain, mental distress, emotional unhappiness caused by unwanted experiences happening to an individual. As a matter of fact, many atheists have used the tragedies of human suffering as an excuse for rejecting God and spiking the theistic goons by putting forth the issue-especially of innocent people suffering- at debates. Yet, this is what many people in Nigeria today face day in day out.

Or how else do I explain the fact that just to use an ATM I had to suffer for a whole three hours! In a Federal University environment that prides itself as one of the best in Nigeria, for close to two months, there was no electricity, internet connection, mobile connection was epileptic and then banks too! This is added to the fact that infrastructure is at zero, laboratories equipment are outdated, lecturers are lazy and students lack focus. And this is not unique to this school alone. What sort of people punishes themselves the way we do? It is one thing to suffer; it is even a worse thing when this suffering is self-inflicted.

Today we hear talks of this current recession lasting till 2020. Inflation is at a biting peak and no commodity in the market is spared. Then the naira is at a perpetual downward slide against the dollar. Do we need any more evidence that this is a form of mental, physical and material suffering for Nigerians? Are even the billionaires among us spared? At least mentally?

We know we cannot change this government, but we also know we can vote them out in the next election come 2019, but can we trust this government to give us a free and fair election? As sordid as former president Jonathan’s government was, at least he gave us a free and fair election. Can we trust President Buhari? Isn’t the recent postponement in Edo State election for the laughable reason by the same government that prides itself in putting down the insurgency in the North East a disquieting hint what to expect?

For me, and I stand to be corrected, President Buhari and APC’s Nigeria today displays all the symptoms of a man going into coma and we are increasingly becoming as stagnant as a pond. The frustrating aspect is the deafening silence of the intellectual class who should either be speaking up or offering suggestions to salvage the situation. I begin to wonder what APC government officials dream of when they rest their heads on the pillows at night.

Nigerians are hardworking, resilient people yes, yet we are cursed with bad leaders who can’t think outside the box. Our problem as the late literary icon Chinua Achebe rightly observed is that of leadership. The government and the intellectual class who should provide leadership have failed us.
In a country with countless so called intellectuals, premier universities, countless dissertation papers, we cannot even invent the technology to purify our water or make water and electricity available to everyone.

We still rely on foreign countries to manufacture drugs to treat illnesses. We cannot even grow our agricultural sector to self-sustenance level and still import even tooth pick.
After accumulating countless Ph.Ds. which they hang on walls, after forcing everyone around them to call them professor this or that, our intellectuals will either prefer to work as government mouth piece spewing lies or stay in government offices from 8am to 5pm and in the evening go and cool off at some beer parlour or Suya joint when their mates in developed countries are toiling and spending sleepless nights trying to discover one more new solution to one problem or other.

One truth is certain though; there is a limit to the blows a people can take, and one day, someday soon, respite will come from an angle neither the government nor the intellectual class least expect…
God bless Nigeria…

[By Afeso Albert Akanbi]

14 thoughts on “The Challenge Of Being A Nigerian Today, An Article By Afeso Albert Akanbi

  1. Hello Afeso.
    Lemme first say thank you very much for such a beautiful well ironed write up. Everything is in black and white that even a 10 year old sees and know the truth.
    I don’t think the government in power know how to operate Nigeria. Is like asking a secondary school tutor to head a university. They will become confuse and mess up the system & turn around to hook it somewhere.
    Lots of blame been fed to the people instead of working on the issues. Pointing fingers & blame can’t solve problems.

    I think they’re out for bottled up revenge. I’ve not been around that much to know which govt moved Nigeria, but I know that Buhari’s govt is not the best from what I know today. (Is a pity I once used this sentence on the past govt) but this one is complete madness!

    I sometimes laugh with pain when I see people painting everything a different colour coated with sentiments .
    Are we for real ?
    How can one be suffering and smiling?
    Why blame someone for your failure ?
    When the said corrupted govt was in power, life was luxurious to what is being dished out now.

    This is 2016, I get where you’re coming from Afeso,we need action. We need the change physically not oral change.
    Let’s tell ourselves the truth, I don’t belong to any political party in Nigeria or support any, but I don’t like the way things are being run there. That’s why I don’t comment when this issue is raised.
    This particular government is the WORST SO FAR ! TAKE IT TO THE MOUNTAINS, YES, I SAID SO !

    Things are moving from bad to worst,my beautiful country is rolling down the hills and our leaders are standing by the side pointing fingers, while the damages keep adding speed to the monstrous speed at hand.

    Will Nigeria survive this ? Honestly I don’t know, I don’t see a better Nigeria at the end of the tunnel.
    Am afraid of the future and our unborn children. Am afraid of tomorrow.
    Of course, we can’t vote them out till they’re done with the mission they came for which is still a mystery.

    We’re in a maze my people and the sun is setting.
    WHICH WAY !!!

  2. The nation’s downward and prostrate economy today is the direct product of incompetency,lack of good economic team,advisers to the Buhari led government.

    The governor of Bornu,Shettima by name identified this dangerous flaws with the current administration. This is a governor belonging to APC party but whom at the same time has come up with heavy criticism of the way the current administration is running the country even pledging an alternative to buhari in 2019 presidential election.

    Many,many noble minded members of APC party have come up with one blame or the other over how the current government is running our economy. The undisputed fact and truth is that the buhari led government has further messed up our economy.

    When a leader begins to have problem is when the kitchen and the pot of soup of the poor man is affected. And that is exactly what the current government has done to the masses.

    The two biggest and major blunders made by the buhari led government is the increment in the price of petroleum product and the deliberate devaluation of our currency. This two economy policy has not help both the masses and the foreign/local investors in nigeria at all. Are we going to say the embezzlement of the past administration is what has led to the devaluation of our naira today? This simply is a direct product of bad economic policy. What about the aspect of increment in the price of petroleum product that has further impoverished the masses in the country. Are we still going to say jonathan’s administration is the one that did that? Absolutely not! Again that is the hand work of administration that lack true vision for reviving our economy.

    Of course no sane person will ever support corruption in government at any time in life. And that is why nigerians are very much enthusiastic for having a leader that is fighting corrupt officials of the formal government.

    But to delve into disrupting a very sensitive economy like the one in nigeria where oil account for 80% of our national revenue and where our currency determines the boom in both foreign/local businesses is where the administration has caused the total collapsed of the economy.

    And that is why the chairman,senate committee of media and publicity,trade union congress,labour congress,formal federal lawmakers,security expert,right activist warned Buhari last week never to try and embark on increasing the fuel price from N145 per liter which he attempted recently in doing all in the name of trying to fix our poor economy.

    But the question is, is this the best way of fixing our economy?adding to the plight and suffering of the masses?

    Obviously,the administration has indeed further messed up what the corrupt PDP government led by jonathan have left behind. The outcry of many nigerians will not cease and that is surely what is going to take them to the next election in 2019.

    Thank you very much mr Albert Akanbi for your observation about the state of the country in your article.

  3. LET ME FIRST start by giving kudos to the author of this write up well done @albert for a write up that is as fleshful as this.
    TECHNOLOGY IS NOT WE CAN just start in a day in a day and finish in a day it is something we have to really invest into if we want the better part of it. Africa countries in general are suffering from this so called underdevelopment when it comes to technology. We CANT PUT THE BLAMES of lacking behind on a single man but we can do on our leaders generally..many leaders as come and go and we don’t see their impact when it comes to technology so putting on a man is biased.
    @ALBERT I APPRECIATE THE FACT THAT YOU are proposing that the government should invest in technology but the way you put made you sound like an antagonist to the present government because even the immediate past president was sitting for about 6yrs and he could not do anything in terms of technology. Am not an APC member neither am i in support of PMB administration all i want is a better Nigeria but not being objective won’t solve any issue at this point
    THE ELECTION aspect that you mentioned was quite ok.. i as a person knows that PMB is #clueless unlike the Jonathan administration were there was free and fear election.. the Edo poll is on the verge to be postponed and also in Ondo were a political party as more than one candidate after a primaries you can say it is the fault of the political party but i will say no because it was not like this during the administration of the past president.
    ON YOUR FINAL NOTE let just continue to endure and believe that a better Nigeria is possible and when our we have been pushed to the wall then the words of karl marx will come to pass about revolution
    (“Let the ruling classes tremble at a communist revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Workingmen of all countries, unite!” – karl marx (source: brainyquote).. it seems this set of bourgeois thinks we can’t do nothing but a time will come when we will actually do something.


  4. THANK YOU@HUCHENNAR. I LOST interest the moment Buhari was brought into this. That man should not be blamed for every fish that disappears in out soup pot for goodness sake. I am not Buhari’s fan, neither am I his—what is the opposite of fan? He has his load of imperfections, as politicians are. But whether or not we like it, he is our president until 2019, and the best we could do is not to unduly flay his government, except we are members of PDP.

  5. @bimbo and others who thinks other people’s opinion are not what taking i pray you don’t miss the road one day.
    NOBODY IS AN ISLAND OF knowledge you just have to learn how to respect other people’s opinion.
    When you are less busy go through my other comments i am the no1 anti-buhari commentator on this forum you can confirm from @omokehinde (loool ????)
    But will not make me speak things that i know are through the writer was trying to state the fact that we should invest in technology but later shifted our attention to another direction entirely… why would you blame technology on buhari for God sake YOU PEOPLE should fear GOD oo.
    My life as an undergraduate have experienced so many disappointment when it comes to ATM dispensing cash even before PMB came on board so i can i think out my right senses that buhari caused it…
    The write up would have been my best on this forum If it had not posses Any element of being bias.. (the writer clearly state his point with relevant examples) but couldn’t finish it up like a proposal which he had been doing right from the 1st paragraph.
    i don’t know why i gave so much attention to this… but i will say that till JESUS comes some people will always fall in the category of
    #clueless human but

  6. Buhari is not the cause of the incompetency displayed by the bank. There are a lot of incompetent and lazy people in Nigeria. It all start from home. parent looking for loopholes for kids to pass exams, lecturer not doing their job but sleeping with student before passing them, cultist and hooliganism in schools. All this will not produce brilliant brains in the society. The change start from me and you.

  7. Thanks Mr. Akanbi for this excellent write-up. You have really paraphrase the issues boggling this nation. While going through your writing, I realized there are some inconsistency or may be you must hav been misinformed about the situation of this Country. First, you said something about Nigerians future has been mortgaged, you are damn right about that. Unless we want to deceive ourselves. It going to take a lot of years to get ourselves back on track.

    The hardship we are going through in this Country is self inflicted punishment. That is why we don’t need prayer. Our prayer has already been answered. All we need to do is to put this together, be dedicated, honest, perseverance all these play significant role in moving ourselves forward. Let me say this, it is bitter pill but hard to swallow. The western world is now looking at Ghana as the best democracy in Aftica. Gradually Ghana will take all our credits to become best in Africa and surpass us technologically, economically, socially and politically. We always do things by mouth which doesn’t help. We need to get our bott out there and do the right thing.

    It is very absurd that in 2016, some elite Nigerians are still depending on black magic. We are still practicing ritual killing using human being parts as a foundation of money. That is the reason why the Atheist and people in darkness world are using our tragedy to punish us. I’m so surprise that even with the money these politicians are stealing, they still use human being to renew their source of power which doesn’t make sense to me. A lot of Nigerians will kill human being in order to ascend to any political position. In the 21st century, how could we progress as a nation if we are still engaging in this type of barbaric act.

    Mr Akanbi, you mentioned about Buhari is the cause of our present problem. No! Buhari did not cause our problem. The problem emerge when he was trying to fix up the nation’s battered economy. How could imagine the situation if GEJ is still there. Nigeria is a very complex society more than 180 million cannot be fully control by central government. I think it is time to decentralize the government in order to hastening the reparation of our collapsed economy. This is going to be another topic for another day.

    How can we progress as nation when our counterparts around the globe are diverting their interest and energy towards technology development while we cannot generate common electricity. If we fail to start doing something now the effect will manifest in our children. It is very shameful in Nigeria that we are still using the infrastructure provided by our founding fathers even we couldn’t maintain them. Our interests is only to make money, building desolated mansions and start importing every single items that we need even to the common tooth pick. I think we need a thourough overhauling.

  8. First of all, I want to say, God bless Mr. Albert Akanbi for this beautiful piece with salient points. I want to counter some commentators who feels buhari is not to blame for any of the calamities affecting the country.

    As the current president of a great nation like Nigeria, you ought to move on with latest devlopement to be able to pilot the affairs of the country. And by that I mean, politically, economically, and technologically.

    Buhari is still operating with old strategies that are not too good for todays problems. Another thing is this his blame game he‘s indulged in.

    We believe that if Mr. Buhari will develop a better, saner mindset, things can still turn around positively. However, it is high time he stopped playing the blame game and start working instead.

    Excuses are for failures. Move to work and stop lamenting on the past. Let the common man start to feel the impart of your administration. With this kind of new move…

    I take a stroll…

    • @ the Hunter, Nigeria is not just a Country where you can just say lets move on regardless of irreparable damages GEJ has caused this nation let Buhari just fix it because he is now in power. Nigeria is a country of more than 180 million people. We live in complex society that there is no way we can achieve our economy recovery in short time as you have anticipated.

      Nigeria is like a wounded victim bleeding to death and you continue dragging him to reach his destination at all cost. Don’t you think such individual needs a surgeon who can perform operation on him first, relax and recover before he can move on.

      Buhari is not running this Country on his own. Infact he has some educated people around him who know more about economy. They are the ones advising him on what to do especially prior to naira devaluation. Before that time, Buhari addressed the Nation that he was going to adopt a measure which may be too tough for recovery back our economy but in the end we are going benefit greatly. The IMF, International financial institution and our local economists advised Buhari on currency devaluation as a strategy to quickly fix on our damaged economy.

      If the strategy is not working right now does not mean its not going to work in the long run. We just need to exercise a little patient. In the end I’m sure we all going to join hand to re-elect Buhari coming 2019.

  9. Yes jalo another major mind blowing set back in Nigeria is people killing other people for money ritual. it is barbaric and even think politician stealing money, are still killing, to remain stealing. It is out of this world.

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