Nigeria 20-2020–I Had A Dream

Posted: April 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

By Prince Charles Dickson
One should keep one’s eyes on where one is going, not where one stumbled. (The best course of action is not to dwell on setbacks, but to resolutely face the future.)

For three days on the trot there has been electricity, before these three days of electricity, the electricity company had called to say there was going to be routine maintenance and there would be no light for some thirty minutes. Before that there was light non-stop for two months…

My mother-in-law was discharged from the state specialist hospital–She had just done an eye surgery that otherwise would be done in Israel, and while picking her up, I spent barely 30 minutes and I was done with the dentist. The doctors were all at their best, patients all smiles. I went to the accounts and reconciled the stipend that was due. It was so small as a result of the National Health Insurance Scheme, it was functional and no fraud involved. It was a Nigerian hospital!

Earlier in the day, the kids had gone to the local park to play basketball and watch the Maths competition which was in its final round; it was being sponsored by Jamatu Nasril Islam and the Christian Association of Nigeria.

A day before we hosted our Senator, although his job is almost part-time, it is as serious as you can expect. He had come to the Town Hall Meeting, a month back it was the Member representing us in the House, before him was the governor. We are expecting the Local government chairman next week.

The Senator had presented his quarterly report, and we had a robust question and answer session and he went away, all those that had issues saw them handled. It was Nigeria…

The local water distribution company that was privatized years back was doing well, after initial hiccups; water was flowing even in the remotest part of our city. The billings were still a problem for now but we believe that it would be okay soon because the regulatory body was putting pressure on them to get it right. It was Nigeria!

Electricity was there, health services were fantastic, and water was running from the taps…It was Nigeria.

My younger brother’s daughter had just finished all his school registration online, I recall, the Nigerian Post Office had brought her letter of admission into Federal Government Unity College Gusau. We knew no one, bribed no one, all she needed to do was know her studies, and the rest was so easy. After registration, all we needed to do was put her on the Nigerian Railway train from the Owerri station. It was one of the recently commissioned speed trains across the Niger.

In case you were not aware, the Federal University in Otueke, Bayelsa had 600 international students and was in 47th place in the World University Rankings. This was Nigeria…

My friend and I were sharing a meal and shared an experience, he was stopped by the police on a routine patrol, and they asked for his papers, checked it, politely greeted him, wished him well and drove up. The key word was politely, one of the cops jokingly told him, to get an extra screw for his not too balanced front bumper. It was the Nigerian police without force and N20 accidental discharges.

EFCC had been merged with a now efficient fraud unit of the Nigerian Police…I did not tell us, that the dollar was nor selling at just N30.00, and the last time some us wet to Dubai was because we had to attend professionally related programs.

I was supposed to be going to Borno for a wedding, but was stuck in two minds; to go by air or train…air flights were relatively cheap as most people now do the train and travel by road just for sight-seeing and the need to make more stops. This was Nigeria…

Over the next weekend I am going to go see the second public execution in the capital, two local government chairmen and one governor. They had systematically and deliberated defrauded and looted public treasury. A contractor was six months ago sentenced to 24 years in imprisonment and it was Nigeria, no injunctions, conjunctions, at any junction, and no British law or police. …these days’ stealing from public coffers was neither fashionable nor attractive. It was Nigeria…

Places like Nike Lake resort, Yankari Games Reserve, Olumo Rock were indeed tourist’s havens for foreign nationals—Jos had become small London, peaceful, only slightly expensive. The world was watching NIN—Short for New Improved Nollwood.

Nigeria was fourth in FIFA soccer rankings, progressively we had moved from a miserable 60th up, and was best in Africa, we had earlier in the year won the U-17 world tournament, with 16 year old boys and added it to the U-21 which was already in our cabinet and Nations Cup.

There was a functional social security system, though still in its infancy; government was minimally in providing utilities. The National Assembly had five years earlier finished a successful expanded national dialogue-this was Nigeria, relative peace, social justice, fair play, and independent self-sustaining component states

Indeed Nigeria was moving forward, our president was neither Christian nor Muslim to us. He was just a good man; bold and was ready for the task. He was charismatic, democratic yet firm. The leadership ethos and value had gone through a lot…but now we had only one consensus and that is…at no point would we allow shoeless people govern us again.

“Prince, Prince, Prince—wake up, wake up”. It was all a dream—nothing but a dream, I woke up sweating, there was no light, it had been like that for five days now, no water, unemployment was on the rise. The only development was on paper and government officials’ lips, reflecting on my dream—would we see a better Nigeria—Time will tell.


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