Nigeria’s Big Problem With Little…

Posted: June 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

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By Prince Charles Dickson

“It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.” Arthur Conan Doyle, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

There are very little things, but indeed they are the big obstacles that has fought us to a standstill. I called them the little things that accumulate to big little things. In the last two weeks these many little things have engaged us. 

In the next few paragraphs of my admonition this week, I would have us reflect on a few little things.

Start with the LITTLE drama of the governors’ forum; most things in Nigeria are treated as drama, actors playing out both their major and minor roles but largely on little matters. Even when the issues are BIG, the impact is little and soon forgotten. So what’s the effect of the election of the governors’ forum election on Nigerians and Nigeria: big, but of what impact is the forum: little, practically nothing. 

The electricity situation in the country has gone bad in recent times. That’s no big deal; Nigerians know that the chance for light at the end of the tunnel is bleak at least for now. But to the little matter, what is wrong with a LITTLE sms from PHCN. Just a small 100 lettered explanation that cost barely N1.00. So little but big an impact, somebody wake me up.

36 governors, some 300 plus lawmakers at National level, excluding the few hundred at state assemblies and Ministers, my question, in the next week which one of them will go down to his constituency to visit a poor widow, inquire after an orphan or visit a family in a local suburb, leave a N1000 and pray with them or randomly send an sms to his ‘people’, the same he claims called him to serve. I categorically say none standing on the Okija shrine oath, none of our BIG men/women have the heart for these LITTLE acts. 

So much noise about GEJ’s failure and his harped successes. But what about the LITTLE fact that Jonathan is one person, a representation of our collective LITTLE failures. Of Falae, Ekwueme and Obasanjo, Obj was least prepared, of Yar’adua and Buhari, Yardy cared less. Shagari was on his way to the Senate and it changed, Buhari was at the Barracks in Jos. Fact is despite all the billions spent on elections a LITTLE group call the shots. 

We have forgotten the Aluu 4 killings, that Adamawa massacre, soon the baby factories would be forgotten and omabatse murders…the GF elections would go too, likely a court case here and there and like all LITTLE things we move on.

We have since moved from the LITTLE fact of mass failure during the last JAMB exams, who cares when our papers are full of ‘sikkim manipal’ adverts (that’s the name of a university in Ghana) and schools from Caribbean and far isles plus all sorts of illegalities called universities. After all there’s the LITTLE case of a ‘forgiven’ Torontolite in a university board and a Chicagolite leading our see-no-good opposition.

Remember that LITTLE furor of mobile phones for farmers and all the drama of how much the president spends on cassava bread and local rice with kunu. The LITTLE noise has since died off and we have moved on.

How about that LITTLE solo play titled the resurrection of Dame ‘Faka’, Chinua Achebe has been buried, is there a country or we are still trading LITTLE sparing punches.  The LITTLE punches on Islamic banking and all that N5000 note wahala.

Until the LITTLE matter of merit takes over the trash called zoning, we will keep dreaming and waking, until 2015 and 20 whatever stops being about North/South we may as well go our LITTLE ethnic ways .   

The LITTLE matter of a nation enjoying economic boom, investors coming both with goods and arms to one with a surging unemployment market with largely unemployables. It remains a LITTLE matter that our leaders are living large while we stare, and make LITTLE noise. 

 

Let me end with this fable told me by my son, once upon a time, as a lion lay sleeping in his den, a naughty little mouse ran up his tail, and onto his back and up his mane and danced and jumped on his head …

 

…so that the lion woke up.

 

The lion grabbed the mouse and, holding him in his large claws, roared in anger. ‘How dare you wake me up? Don’t you know that I am King of the Beasts? Anyone who disturbs my rest deserves to die! I shall kill you and eat you!’

 

The terrified mouse, shaking and trembling, begged the lion to let him go. ‘Please don’t eat me Your Majesty! I did not mean to wake you, it was a mistake. I was only playing. Please let me go – and I promise I will be your friend forever. Who knows but one day I could save your life?’

 

The lion looked at the tiny mouse and laughed. ‘You save my life? What an absurd idea!’ he said scornfully. ‘But you have made me laugh, and put me into a good mood again, so I shall let you go.’ And the lion opened his claws and let the mouse go free.

 

‘Oh thank you, your majesty,’ squeaked the mouse, and scurried away as fast as he could.

 

A few days later the lion was caught in a hunter’s snare. Struggle as he might, he couldn’t break free and became even more entangled in the net of ropes. He let out a roar of anger that shook the forest. Every animal heard it, including the tiny mouse.

 

‘My friend the lion is in trouble,’ cried the mouse. He ran as fast as he could in the direction of the lion’s roar, and soon found the lion trapped in the hunter’s snare. ‘Hold still, Your Majesty,’ squeaked the mouse. ‘I’ll have you out of there in a jiffy!’ And without further delay, the mouse began nibbling through the ropes with his sharp little teeth. Very soon the lion was free.

 

 ‘I did not believe that you could be of use to me, but today you saved my life,’ said the lion humbly.

 

‘It was my turn to help you, Sire,’ answered the mouse.

 

Nigerians need to brace up beyond our noise, all these pepper-souping and gulder-ing folks need to be held  a LITTLE bit accountable and responsible, before then you and I need to stop those LITTLE habit of narrowing it down to they vs. us, east vs. west, ruling party vs. opposition, Muslims vs. Christians.

The LITTLE things that become big are good roads–toll them by all means, good health facilities–let a feasible health scheme be in place. Quality education is expensive, but it can be provided alongside student loans and more. Even the weak and LITTLE may be of help, only time will tell.

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