Saatah Nubari: Little Positives From Nigeria

Saatah Nubari: Little Positives From Nigeria

By Opinions | The Trent on October 14, 2014
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Photo Credit: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Pessimism is not bad, especially when you view Nigeria from somewhere around No 54, Heart Attack Is Not A Bad Way to Die Street, off All Hope Is Lost Road. I’ll talk about pessimism, but that will probably be at the end—first let’s talk about better things.

ON EBOLA

As I dropped my sister off at her school, I noticed transparent plastic buckets, with taps attached, positioned at the entrance of every classroom. You must be asking yourself now, “What’s positive about this?” I’ll tell you. Ours is a country where no one learns from his/her past—history has never been fair to us in this aspect. Nobody expected us to come out of this Ebola pandemic with all parts of our national pride intact—as a matter of fact we came out unscathed. Recording 9 deaths out of a total population of approximately 160 million people was no small feat. The international community has been quick to add that our not being able to eradicate polio somehow helped us combat the Ebola Virus. I won’t argue with this theory, not because there are no holes in it, but because there’re greater things to talk about—plus hey! They think Africa is a country.

I’m of the opinion that we were able to address the Ebola issue because we decided to take things serious as a nation. There was that urgency and need to do it right, and I’m very proud that we handled both excellently. In as much as it turned political at some point—the APC was blaming the PDP, and the PDP using the successful containment of the disease as campaign ammunition. It also turned spiritual—when Prophets claimed to have the divine power to “immunize” against the disease and some even claiming to outrightly “cure” it. I also remember the advice from the village, bath with salt? Or was it drink salt water? Those are not important. What is important is that from the Banking halls, to the barbing saloons, to the market places, public transport and even road side sellers, Nigerians did everything right and that’s why we succeeded.

Lagos and Rivers State who actually recorded cases of Ebola have put in place safety and precautionary measures to ensure that no other case is recorded. This is a very good approach I must say, and the governors of those states deserve to be applauded—why? Because we’re finally learning from our past, and ensuring we don’t get caught off guard again. I also hope states that were lucky enough not to record any case of this disease will still treat this issue with the urgency Lagos and Rivers State treated theirs—if we can, that’s something positive.

OUR MILITARY

We would be deluding ourselves if we think our military is the best in Africa. Forget the stuff we did in Liberia and Sierra Leone, it was brave and I’m proud of that, but hey! We’re fifth. According to the GFP (Global Fire Power) rating, we’re fifth on the continent behind, South Africa, Algeria, Ethiopia and Egypt. I think our military was systematically allowed to rot immediately after the Civil War.

Immediately coup plotting and execution became a military pass time, making the military weak was also included in the scheme of things. As each coup was executed, the military was neglected so as not to be able to pose serious threat to the administration. This trend I feel continued even after we became a democratic country.

The Boko Haram menace I’ve always said is a blessing in disguise. With each defeat, our military will get stronger and more effective. With each mutiny and court marshalling, our soldiers and officers will be committed to duty and with each human rights violation scorned at, our military will be more professional in their handling of this crises and any other which may arise in the future. Taking everything into consideration, when we’ve finally succeeded in destroying the evil called Boko Haram; we’ll all have a military we’ll be proud off.

OUR POLITICS

2014 has been a year of elections (Anambra, Ekiti, Niger and Osun) and “Almost election” in Adamawa, and there was a major noticeable improvement.

The ruling party, the PDP won in Ekiti, the APC won in Osun while APGA won in Anambra. The election in these states was fiercely contested, and apart from some complaints made against the security operatives, the elections went well.

Two states in particular are where I’ll take positives from, and they’re Ekiti and Osun. For the first time, the voters were actually in charge, they were the ones who mattered. This goes against our usual “Do or Die” kind of politics, and it is a welcome development. In Ekiti and Osun, we saw voters being induced with food items and the rest which you can call “stomach infrastructure”. Some of you might disagree with me, but I think it is a good thing for our democracy. We might have started with “stomach infrastructure” today, but in the future it won’t be about that, it’ll be about what the candidates can offer in terms of development and every other yearning of the people—both ways, our votes now seems to count and our politicians will be forced to sit up and work.

The negatives from the two states come from the two political parties; APC and PDP. It is quite saddening that we still harbour the mentality that any election we don’t win must have been rigged— sometimes just calm down, reason, see where you went wrong, accept defeat and re-strategize for next time. When Fayemi conceded defeat and congratulated Fayose, I found it courageous—not because it was actually courageous, but because in our clime, what he did is hardly done. That his party with or without his support has gone to court, is petty I must add.

Omisore lost in Osun, and his loss didn’t come as a surprise to many. Unlike Fayemi, Omisore didn’t concede defeat and like the APC did in Ekiti, the PDP are also in court. We seem to be past the “carry go” and “Do or Die” era, so very soon, we’ll get past this era of not accepting defeat even when it is obvious.

ON FEMMINISM

The issue of feminism has been a reoccurring one on social media for some time now. The topic is actually confusing and most times misunderstood and misrepresented—I know feminists will be thinking

I support their cause. I had serious fight (no blows exchanged) with a female friend who happens to be a staunch feminist (she could have killed me if she had the chance…not actually kill me though.) and in the end, I MIGHT BE WRONG, but I think feminists are just a bunch of women, mad at men for only God knows what.

On pessimism, you can choose to see the positives from everything, or you can choose to be @Cchukudebelu—in-between, he’s a nice bloke.

Saatah Nubari is a public affairs commentator. He tweets from @Saatah.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.

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