by Rita Chidinma
Do you ever just sit down and wonder what present-day Nigeria has to offer children? As a mother of 3 young kids, these thoughts keep me awake at night. Growing up, we were told that we were the leaders of tomorrow, but we still have the same leaders to date.
Nigeria still has the same issues it had when we were kids: there’s still no stable electricity; the majority of the rural areas still don’t have regular water supply; majority of the roads in the country are bad; democracy is still not the government for the people; corruption and nepotism are still deeply entrenched in our institutions; the insecurity in the country is even much worse now than when we were kids; tribal and ethnic divides are deeper and more evident than ever.
What is the future of the Nigerian child whose parents are not politicians, well-known or ‘connected’? The Nigerian child who actually depends on the systems to work for him/her to have any kind of great future. The Nigerian child who cannot be relocated to a better country to pursue his dreams.
Currently, almost everything in Nigeria is designed to work against the average citizen. The ones who work in government establishments get owed salaries for months. The entrepreneur gets outrageously taxed, while the ones who are ruining the country get rewarded with government appointments.
What can we do to ensure Nigeria works for our kids? Everyone cannot relocate abroad. In fact, I believe that a time will come when all the countries we quickly run to for education and life advancement opportunities will close their borders to us. Is that what it is going to take for us to sit up and realise we cannot continue like this? Is that what it will take for the ruling class to sit up and do the jobs they were elected to do?
Honestly, the future is bleak, but what do we have if not hope? And it is this same hope that we will pass down to our children. The hope that one day, things will be better. That one day, the institutions will work in their favour, whether or not they know anybody and as long as they merit it.
Our own work is cut out for us as parents. We need to inculcate value into our children. We need to teach our kids good leadership skills. We need to teach them to be accommodating of people from other tribes. We need to teach them that it is a thing of honour to be elected into office, and it is an even greater honour to do the job you were elected for.
We need to teach them to be ready for the Nigeria of their dreams. I still believe in this nation and the promise she holds.