Monday, June 4, 2012

The reason why I'm leaving Nigeria after serving...

My heart's been heavy since yesterday evening due to the tragic weekend in Nigeria - starting from the suicide bomber attacks to the plane crash, in which my friends lost their father. My sincere condolences go out to the victims' loved ones who were left behind - may God give them the strength, comfort and fortitude to hold it together during this difficult time. And may those who have left this world rest in peace, in Jesus' name. Amen.

And now I have to ask... WHY?

There are a lot of stories flying back and forth - I don't know which is fact and which is fiction.

Some people are blaming the president - not sure why.

Some people are blaming the Indian management of Dana airways - I'm not sure if the story is true that an Indian manager purposefully sent a faulty plane out with passengers.

Some people are blaming the Aviation Minister - I do agree the aviation industry/ministry in this country leaves a lot to be desired. However...

The whole of Nigeria is like that! Nothing works! Nigeria from the ground up is a corrupt society!

Electricity, Water, Public Transportation, Telecommunications, Police, Military, Aviation, etc. Nothing works. There is NO maintenance culture. Nobody takes responsibility for anything - least especially those who can pay their way out of everything. There is NO transparency in anything. And for everything that doesn't work, there is always a response...

Bad roads - "Berry, you obviously don't know the alternate routes."

Lack of clean tap water - "Berry, just buy bottled water to bathe with"

Telecommunications - "Berry, just carry 3 phones because they can't all be down at the same time"

Everything - "Berry, you'll get used to it. E go better."

I'm sorry to say it but I've lost faith that Nigeria will get better. And if it actually does get better, chances are it will not be in my lifetime. I came to Nigeria full of hope, knowing that Nigeria had sooooooo much potential. For instance, there is absolutely NO REASON why Nigeria shouldn't be a tourist destination! God has blessed this country with SO MUCH... SO VERY MUCH! But does the average Nigerian care? No. Littering all over the place. Public urination in broad daylight. Waste everywhere. Something as simple as taking care of the land, the waters that God gave us - NOTHING.

What exactly is there to look forward to in this country? Apart from the huge incomes (both legal and illegal), what else is there to be appreciative for? Beggars roam the streets - I actually have friends that will say "Come on, get out from here!!! Don't touch my car with your dirty hands." I was stunned the first time I heard someone say it. Stunned and embarrassed... If it's not beggars begging for money, area boys DEMANDING that you give them money or else suffer theft or bodily harm. I vowed never to go out partying or clubbing at night in Nigeria again because of a bad experience I had... Where are the policemen to ensure peace and order when you need them? Oh! This private citizen has paid them off to come and be his personal bodyguards. Soldiers too, wielding guns and driving with sirens because a rich man doesn't want to sit in traffic...

You tell me you can never live outside Nigeria because you don't want to pay taxes. And yet, in those foreign societies, the systems work. There are good roads, hospitals that won't turn you away, law enforcement, education for children, electricity, clean water... If my taxes are going to ensure that I live a better life, then why not? I'm not saying living outside is all gravy, but can we get the basic necessities in Nigeria?

Nigerians scream and cry out about how the western society is wicked, perverse, ungodly, and so forth. And yet, a plane crashes, people are burning alive and majority of the bystanders are busy taking pictures with their cell phones, so they can show off on Facebook, Twitter, and BlackBerry Messenger. Tell me how you're better than anybody else in the world. HOW?

Nigeria. I don't know what to do anymore. How can I pray for a nation that I've lost hope/faith in?

I'm tired.

P.S. Looks like a corper from Lagos was on the flight as well. Remember my post about Traveling during your service year... it's because of tragedies like this that traveling is discouraged.


  1. Very heartfelt! All we have is hope; we can't give up on Nigeria. We can only hope that our generation will stand and take what rightfully belongs to them. We need a revolution just like Egypt. Until the people stand united for change, change aint gon' come.

    1. A lot of people talk about a revolution, but how many people are actually willing to die for it? I can tell you I'm not in any state of mind to die for Nigeria - ain't no way.

      But we do need unity in Nigeria. How can we change anything if every other comment is "those yorubas, those easterners, those niger deltans, those northerners, those those those..." Hello? It's one country!

  2. Have you heard the saying 'be the change you want to happen'. If everyone like you, who has the opportunity to change this country, decides to up and leave because 'they've lost hope and they are tired' It wont even be in the generation after yours that change will come. I'm also sorry to say you have no right to complain, if you don't plan on doing anything about it. That is just my opinion

    1. Ouch and thanks for your opinion.

      What can I do by myself? There's power in numbers, but I don't see the majority of people trying to do anything. Yes, there are the movements here and there (OccupyNigeria, LightUpNigeria, etc) but even those ones have faded away. Activism in Nigeria seems to mostly be a trendy thing, and trends come and go. My grandfather tells me of how in their day, they fought for independence and it marvels me. I wonder if back then, the activists outnumbered the nonchalant (God dey, e go better) people. Or maybe because they fought for the same cause.

      How many in our generation and in our parents generations are willing to discard corruption for integrity? Look at our politicians blindly stealing money every day, and unfortunately my age mates being more materialistic every day. I try to do what I can here and there, but I can't change anything on a large scale. It's a very daunting prospect. I don't want to join a cause because it's the trendy thing to do. I don't want to join a group that gives N1 and pockets N5 for themselves.

      I'm not trying to give excuses but clc's comment below kinda sums up how I feel. The amount of change needed IS beyond comprehension.

  3. I'm so tired thinking about this my head hurts. Nigeria is so broken that the scale of change required to "fix" her is (almost) incomprehensible. At this point, I have no idea what needs to be done to effect the change we all talk about.

    1. There are just SO MANY issues! Poverty, waste management, environmental damage, corruption, lack of clean water, no electricity, health, orphans, security, transportation, and the list goes on and on and on... Where does a girl start?

  4. Wow Anita...this post is eye opening, I'm heading back to the Congo for the first time and to Africa for the first time in 14years....I'm sorry it's so bad...remember how we were so proud of being Africans that first year at UMASS Boston we couldn't shut up about it...:(

  5. Awh, its sad you feel this way. Am just cmin back to Naij to do nysc. rite nw am burstinq with hope and optimism, i sure hope i still feel the same way at the end. Ur blog ha been preparin m for nysc so thanks a lot for that.
    Studying abroad means you've been given a lot- the education n the envirnment- and to whom much is given,much is expected. It is a privilege and a responsibility(my view!)
    The decision is urs to make, am sure its a well-thought out one. hey, u can still effect change from outside the country if u choose to. Wud love for u to stay eh, we can start our own movement eh ;-)
    best of luck with ur next move!

    1. Hi Afrosisi,

      It's been a couple of months since I put up this post. I was just really sad at the time. Now though, I'm kinda in-between secretly hoping things can change and believing that Nigeria will never change.

      I dunno. I still hope, but don't have faith - contradictory, right? We'll see what I end up doing. 10 weeks left and I still have no idea! God help me!!!!!

  6. I have officially stalked your blog all evening! thanks thanks! still having mixed feelings about this whole thing but for the most part, I am excited.