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January 2019
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And Belinda Wept For Nigeria

There Is Only One Green-White-Green

There Is Only One Green-White-Green

Where do I begin? 1979 will be a good place to start. It is the year I was born in Benin City, Edo State.  Then it was Bendel State, Nigeria. Fingers crossed, my mum does not change her mind and tell me it was still the Mid-Western Region. I spent the early part of my childhood in Benin City.  It was an exciting place, very rich in culture and tradition. Some I liked and some I didn’t. Today, it is as quiet as a grave yard because those who belong to my generation are looking for a way out and they move to the big cities like Lagos, Abuja or Port Harcourt. And for those who dare to take on the winter of the West, they head to any country willing to take them in. Benin girls have become famous internationally for Ashewo (prostitution) in Italy and Belgium. While I’m ashamed to say this, it is the truth.

I moved to Lagos at the age of 13. Lagos was the first place I saw a bridge like Third Mainland Bridge. Lagos gave me a lot of firsts and to me that was heaven. But in the midst of this transition in my life as a teenager going through her rites of passage, Nigeria was also going through its own issues as a nation. It was one military coup after the other. The one I’ll never forget is that of Ibrahim Badamosi Babaginda in 1985. I remember it so well because that’s the year my brother was born and when it was announced, the first thing my mum did was call us into the house out of fear. Turns out she had experienced one before and sometimes, things would get a little out of hand.

However, through all of her changes as a nation, I have stayed hopeful and optimistic about Nigeria. I refuse to give up but when I read an article today on the website of NEXT newspaper, I was angry and ashamed. The bible says, ‘And Jesus wept.’ While I am in no way God or Jesus and don’t even come close, I Belinda Otas, wept for Nigeria. I wept for the pain so many people endure and I was angry at the leaders who have down nothing but squander the wealth of a great nation, yet they have the nerve to stand up and ask for more. Even if they did not ask, they don’t know what shame is and that when offered N2billion naira from the nation’s coffers, they should say no with dignity.  Those who stand to benefit from the scandalous plan are, Yakubu Gowon, Olusegun Obasanjo, Shehu Shagari, Muhammadu Buhari and Ibrahim Babangida, Ernest Shonekan and Abdulsalam Abubakar.

Chop Chop Men - Former Nigerian Presidents

Chop Chop Men - Former Nigerian Presidents

These men (thieving bastards – do excuse me, I am working on my anger language) have done nothing but take Nigeria through hell and if I go one step further, the dark ages. I mean, we are in the 21st century, yet people have become ingenious at providing water resources department in their homes, they create and generate their own source of electricity and have their own man-made military defence system built around their houses. Still, it does not stop the armed robbers coming in; killing innocent men, fathers and sons, raping mothers, daughters, sisters and everything that has a whole in-between its legs. My generation are on the streets looking for work and there are those who cannot feed their families. Yet, these men, I know you must give honour to whom, honour is due but none of them deserves honour and most certainly do not have the right or privilege to the financial resources of Nigeria. They deserve nothing, not even a rickshaw or wheelbarrow from the nation let alone a state car that is changed after a few years.

According to the story, written by Festus Owete of NEXT, “The money is meant to take care of the former leaders’ pension, medicare, yearly vacation abroad, offices and general maintenance. This is besides the N500,000 each of the former leaders is reportedly paid whenever they attend the Council of State meeting, which is held periodically.” This part of the story made me ‘kolomental’ as in; my mental state was experiencing a surge of high blood pressure that cannot be explained. How in hell do these jokers get all of these when ordinary Nigerians cannot afford basic healthcare or going abroad for life threatening medical conditions? How in hell do these jokers get all of these when the layman on the street does not have a job and his shoes have got more holes than he count because he is walking about searching for a job but cannot get one? How in hell do they deserve a holiday when all they did was turn the nation on its head while they were in position and now can afford to jet out of the country on holiday?


There Has Been No Water For Days, So, We Have To Draw Water from The Well

Who came up with this fri**ing plan? And to hear the Chairman of the House of Representatives committee on appropriation, Ayo Adeseun, defending their intentions to take this to the executive arm of the budget defence sessions and convince them to approve it. I wish I had magical powers to turn into an eagle, fly to Nigeria, give him three ‘gbosa’ slaps on the face and I mean the type that will condemn him to a life time of incurable migraine. The kind, no pain killer or morphine can help him with and then come back home and sleep on my bed.

As far as I am concerned, this is a classic case of money-miss-road. It is not their fault, I blame us because we have become so passive and keep saying God will deal with them. I believe its time we start dealing with them and when we get to heaven, God will do his part. Hence, I get so infuriated when those in the kidnapping business, while I don’t say its right, kidnap innocent folks. Why not take these jokers, make sure they give up everything they stole from the country, strip them naked and then send them on their way. But first take a picture for keepsake purpose.

Imagine there is no basic healthcare and these men get on a plane to the West when they see a pimple on their face. The system of education is in chaos, they send their children abroad for private education. People have no jobs and what do they do, use their connections to sort out their families, the big boys network. And the same Adesuen had the nerve to say the reason they had come up with the new package was because they felt the current arrangement is inadequate and please allow me to get verbatim on this. He said, “These are people who have served this nation and they should be properly taken care of.” Excuse me but what did they do for Nigeria? Keep us in a state of perpetual backwardness? Okay, maybe individually, one or two of them did make an effort but for crying out loud, Babaginda does not deserve a cup of water or a penny from Nigerians. After all the people who died, went missing and those who suffered while he was president, he should be facing trail for human rights abuses. And that trail should take place in Nigeria.

Memembers Of the Nigerian American Medical Foundation At Work During A Mission Trip To Nigeria. Image: The Nigerian American Medical Foundation

Memembers Of the Nigerian American Medical Foundation At Work During A Mission Trip To Nigeria. Image: The Nigerian American Medical Foundation

While reading I was angry but when I got to the readers comment section, something in me was hopeful again. No more will we sit back and watch these lawless men and the other hoodlums in government, I mean from Federal to Local government, waste the future of our children. No more will we be enslaved to greedy men. I saw my people fighting back in words but I think we also need to take action and when its time to vote, make sure these punks do not get a seat in the House of Senate or House of Representatives ever again. The comment that did it for me was the one by Lanre, who signed off saying, “IMAGINE THIS ASS-HOLE. MY SPIRIT BOILS WITH ANGER AT THE SIGHT AND IMAGINATION OF THIS NONSENSE, WHEN WE ARE SUFFERING OIL SHORTAGE, POWER SUPPLY, HEALTH FACILITIES, E.T.C AND THIS SON OF A GUN IS BUSY THINKING OF PAST MEMBERS. UMARU ABDUL FAROUK MUTTALLAB, WHERE ARE THOU, YOUR URGENT ATTENTION IS NEEDED. ASAP!!!”

Okay, we should not encourage suicide bombers or terrorists but we do need to take on these jokers in a fierce and militant way that does not lead to death. I mean, there is civil disobedience and I believe we, Nigerians can come up with new and tougher forms of civil disobedience than any other country on the face of the earth. We need to find a way to get rid of these men before they finish us at the drycleaners and spend the future of our children on themselves. Shikina!

Images from Google, Iconspedia, Vanguard Newspaper, Nigeria, Nigeria Trade Centre Dubia, Nigerian American Medical Foundation and Istock Images.


3 Responses to “And Belinda Wept For Nigeria”

  1. Jide Alakija says:

    Hi Belinda,

    Whilst I can feel your frustration about the state of the country I cannot but disagree with your stance on pointing fingers at our leaders for the current state of the country. I think the issue now has spread like a disease to its people. I think everyone in Nigeria is somewhat corrupt including yourself. It’s the way we live now. We have no governance, we’ve not had one for ages. These guys only did what anyone who takes their position would do from Nigeria. I bet you if you were elected president you’d be on the same road to do the same. (ok if you were elected president, as it turns out only the corrupt get elected, much the same way only the mad drivers in Lagos actually get to their destination faster).

    I don’t know the solution to the problems in Nigeria but maybe it could be something along the lines of a good dictatorship like what you had in Ghana or Singapore, that I think will be very difficult given the fact that no one I can think of is strong enough to do it.


  2. Belinda Otas says:

    @ Jide, I am pointing at our leaders because they are supposed to lead us well but when have we ever really had good leadership in that country? Which you actually noted. I am taking the stance I take because I am living with the consequences of their lack of good leadership and providing for the people, basic needs owed them. Is that not what leadership is about? You would not know what it means to have your life and time taken away because of the breeakdown in government which filters down to ordinary people and so it becomes a cancer going around. No, I am not included in the people responsible for this. I left Nigeria at 15/16 due to a life threatning situation which could have been resolved if the doctors that were looking after me for a year knew what they were doing. If the state hospitals which were the best when I was a child had doctors around when I was taken to LUTH while at death’s door, maybe I won’t be resigned to a lifetime of dealing with the consequences. While I don’t blame anyone for what happened to me, as millions face the same fate, I do believe if Nigeria had been what it was in its glory days (which I am hopeful will return) and infrastructures were sustained in a good way, a lot of people will not go through the pain they go through. You are right when you say everyone is somewhat corrupt, so we all need to check ourselves and start doing our little bit to make things right. If the leaders are innocent and should not be pointed at, then who should take responsibility for the systemic failure and perpertual state of bad governance? And no disrespect but saying these guys only did what anyone in their position would do is a sorry ass of an excuse, we need to change that kind of talk…there are people who will do right. We need to raise that generation of people. And while I am not God, I have a soul and compassion for humanity. I don’t know these men individually, I am sure they are kind in their own way but no way in hell will I sit back and watch millions of people suffer the way a lot of Nigerians suffer. No way in hell will I be the uncle of a 15 year old boy, full of life and because he, the uncle could not afford medical care, sat at home in the room next to the boy while that young man died slowly and in pain. The young lad I speak off, I knew him, we played together and he had been struck down with renal failure. So allow me say what needs to be said without sugar coating it. Maybe there is another way of speaking the truth but right now, this is my truth and this is the way I am going to say it. Thanks for your comments though…and Jide, no more fr***ing dictators. There is no such thing as good dictators. Despite the good intentions, people suffer like hell under dictators. So, do you think they deserve the money being proposed?

  3. Jibo! says:

    @Jide, it takes a leader to change a situation. So why not blame the “SO CALLED” leaders who have overtime selected themselves for this position. Who else should we blame?. We are still suffering from the mistakes of Awolowo and co. So why not blame leaders. Even though Awolowo and co were legends in their own capacity, the mistakes made by them is still in effect today.

    What surprises me is the effrontery at which these people have so much destroyed our sense of responsibility. PEOPLE WAKE UP… WHERE IS YOUR PRESIDENT? are we so irrelevant that our leaders cannot answer to us??

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