My previous article “The Nigerians we know and think of” inspired this article, What is the Nigerian Dream?
From our National Anthem and Pledge, one would think the dream is to be patriotic.
From the reality, it is to be successful – the measure of success being riches. To be better than their neighbour. I don’t think this is wrong, but when you have to achieve your goal at the expense of the progress of the country, it becomes vain and selfish.
I respect everyone’s opinion on the subject but I’ll want to point out that all human beings have one dream and that is to survive every day as best as we can.
Some people ‘survive’every day better than others. Those are the people that own expensive things, have the money to visit fancy places, drive fast cars, have fat bank account balances, deal with hard currencies, can afford to live and work in better economies than others etc.
The Nigerian Dream is to attain a financial status that will comfortably afford you all the things that government, under normal circumstances suppose to provide for you and the things that even middle-income people can easily afford elsewhere; security, good education, excellent healthcare, consistent power and water supply, good shelter, decent living, etc.
Let me try to summarize it though:
- To be able to put on the gen whenever you want to.
- To relocate to a foreign country, preferably the United States or Canada
- Learn how to speak with an American accent
- Work and earn in dollars
- Buy nice and expensive things
- Create a social media presence where you can show off your acquisitions
- Become an armchair critic of the government, having very strong opinions about everything they do but no solution
- Send money back to Nigeria to build a couple of houses that you might never live in
- Make sure you visit during Christmas with dollars to ‘show yourself’
- Along the line, acquire a good education, personal development, skill sets, etc (depending on the individual, but not a necessity)
- And finally, to do all of this while eating Nigerian jollof rice
And it’s a wrap, Mission accomplished. Plays out differently but usually the same difference.
There is no ‘Nigerian Dream’
What about a better question:
What should the Nigerian Dream be?
Our Nigerian dream someday in the future should be:
- Nigeria will have stable electricity: I don’t even want electricity every single day- a system like two days ON, two days OFF will be very satisfying! The day “Up NEPA!!!” actually becomes a #ThrowbackThursday Meme
- The day Nonso from the Nnewi doesn’t have to come down to Lagos to fulfil his/her Nigerian dream because Anambra, Awka, Owerri, Delta and Bayelsa are no different from Lagos.
- The day our nephews and nieces stop learning from the same outdated University syllabus that we had no choice but to learn from.
- The day University undergraduates can actually discover & create stuff that is either exportable or corporations can buy rights to or fund.
- The day parents don’t have to tell their kids that their grandparents also begged the government for good roads, stable power, great healthcare and security.
- The day “State-of-Origin” becomes irrelevant on the Curriculum Vitae because “qualification by merit” trumps being a Musa or a Yakubu to be placed in lofty position at a government agency and that applies to being the President too.
- The day some men finally agree that we can do better than have Amina(s) and Feesah(s) as underage brides.
- The day that the Nigerian passport becomes a powerful document.
- The day it really becomes possible to plan your grocery and fueling purchases for the next 4years without the fear that prices will double next month.
- Nigeria will have a Police force that actually polices: the security system in Nigeria is disappointing. If you can’t trust the police to protect you and dish out justice on your behalf, who can you trust? Quick Read – The Nigerian Police We Think About & The Citizens And The Army [an Abusive Relationship]
- Nigeria will have a judicial arm that gets stuff done: I am tired of politicians stealing money meant for Nigerians and keeping it for themselves. And when they get caught, they don’t go to jail or get used as scapegoats, in fact when they do go to jail, they come out as dignitaries- yup, I am talking of the former Bayelsa state Governor who just got out of prison to pop and pageantry.
- Nigeria super eagles will become highly ranked again: this can happen in my lifetime, common we have so much talent in Nigeria and around the world. We can build an amazing world cup winning team.
- Nigeria will have a government of the people that are for the people: I am tired of electing politicians that say things they don’t mean and mean things they don’t say. It is time to stop saying we are giant of Africa and Be giants of Africa – to do that, we have to have a system of governance that prioritizes Nigerians and our wellbeing as a nation, not one individual’s bank account.
- The day corrupt rulers realize that stashing away stolen funds outside the country and having the government borrow is suicidal and an endless cycle of foolishness.
The list goes on… let’s stop here.
Every rhetoric that has been offered about we Nigerians and how we feel about the economy (some are actually spot on) is because we want better for ourselves.
The ‘Nigerian Dream’ like every other *insert country*’s Dream is to live a comfortable life.