There are more private jets in Abuja than there are planes to fly all Nigerians on domestic flight routes. Daddy said as much but I finally confirmed it on our excursion to the Abuja airport. We were allowed into the Private Jets Terminal – I can’t remember the official name but it was used strictly by the private jet owners
anyway. Nigerians are rich o and I told my dad the same but he disagreed with me.

He mentioned that the reality of a few
couldn’t be assumed to reflect the reality
of a whole. I didn’t understand what he
meant, how could anyone say Nigeria is
not rich with all the big houses in Abuja
and private jets? We are rich, daddy! He
insisted I was thinking just the way a child
would, narrowly. Without a care about
who I might be hurting.

“But daddy, the President made the same
statement about this, he said things were
fine because so many Nigerians had
private jets and all that.” Daddy did say
that an adult thinks something is right
doesn’t in anyway make it right if it is
wrong. I rested my case.

The saddest story of all has to be the
abducted Chibok girls. At times, as a child,
I feel guilty as though I could do more. I
was one day left wondering how much
guilt all these adults felt if I, despite my
small body, could feel like I was not doing
enough for the Chibok girls. So, I asked
my father, “Dad, so if I got abducted
today, this is the way Nigeria would move
on as though it were a normal thing?”

“Come on, dad, how can a country be so
care-free about the lives of kids whose
only ‘sin’ was the fact that they came to
this world as Nigerians?” For once, dad
didn’t have an answer to my questions. I
felt it was just the perfect time to ask him
more questions. “What if the kids were
children of ministers or even the president, would our country’s response still be the same?” The mother of a powerful minister was abducted sometime ago, we all saw how the nation deployed all its resources to ensure her rescue.

Thankfully, she was rescued. Is there
anything too much to make available so
these girls would be rescued? Let us even
pretend no other girls have been
abducted since then, but we know better
than to pretend. Have we as a country
subtly accepted the fact that these girls
are gone for good? We didn’t even lift a
finger. We didn’t even try enough. Almost
200 days since their abduction, whatever
is being done for their rescue, is definitely
being done at the speed of a snail. It
hurts.

I keep hearing about education reforms.
Don’t mind me, I am a child but I pay
attention to it all. So, do all adults
consider education development as the
construction of more classroom blocks or
as the process of improving the quality of
education? I am wondering if it is the stuff
of adults to think to do better means to
do more or it is just something unique to
Nigerian governments from the states to
the federal level. One continues to see a
theme around seeing the construction of
classrooms as the primary essence of
improving education. At times, it feels like
a loud joke to even see such
achievements listed in “performance”
brochures. I have been attending school
for about eight years now, never at
anytime have I been allowed to assess
any of my teachers. Shouldn’t pupils be
given a chance to assess the teachers so
that the teachers can improve? If we, the
people they teach, don’t help them to
teach us better, who will?
The toughest country to be a child has to
be Nigeria bar a few war-torn countries.
Child mortality is extremely high,
maternal mortality continues to ball with
corruption tearing up scales in
measurements. This is not to mention the
fact that, if one were born in the
northeastern part of Nigeria, one could
easily end up as child slaves to terrorists.
This is heart-wrenching. It does appear no
one genuinely cares about the Nigerian
child. Now, if I, an obviously privileged
child by Nigerian standards, could feel
this bad about how things are, imagine
what would be going through the minds of
children whose daily existence involves
constant battles with death and the
shades of death? One thing is for one’s
country not to have, another is for that
country not to care or be bothered about
the rest as long as the privileged are in
good hands.

Everybody has been screaming about
terrorism. If you lived in a terrorised
community, no food and no hope for
tomorrow, no means of survival, no sense
of belonging, no identity and no sign of
care from your home government, what
would you do if some men came and
handed you a gun, and got you to
understand that with it, you could do a lot
more with your life? Isn’t that why
terrorists continue to have people,
especially young people to recruit from?
Isn’t the very idea of today’s terrorism set
up to appeal to the abandoned in society?
Look at Al-Shabab, by its very name, ‘the
youth’, already poses as the identity of the
population it needs on its side to
propagate itself. In the midst of this,
children continue to bear the brunt of our
failing society. In the same story, I see
state officials moving on as though all is
well and good.
It is not all bad though, look at how we
dealt with the Ebola virus. Of course, we
must continue to be vigilant as it appears
the Ebola virus is still much on tour but
you could always trust it to think twice
about returning to Nigeria. For once, the
nation genuinely united against the
enemy. Ebola gave us a chance to see that
in our country, people like the late super
heroine, Dr. Ameyo Adadevoh exist. It
was a great sight to see the Lagos State
Governor, Babatunde Fashola, reel out
names of all the people that were
involved in the fight against Ebola.
That was impressive because in a country
where leaders take all the credit and
blame their own shortcomings on others,
it was refreshing to see a leader
remember this was one achievement
ordinary citizens could take credit for as
much as the President. If for nothing, the
defeat of Ebola shows that if this country
ever decides to wake up from its
obsession with mediocrity and all that is
shameful, it would indeed be a country to
be proud of, in truth and indeed. Is
anyone out there listening to the cries of
the Nigerian child for a better country or
does everyone truly believe that our lives
are currently being transformed? Nigeria
can do a lot better; we are not even close
enough to doing a lot more good. It takes
accepting the fact that, this is far from
being a country; this is far from how to
run a country well for the sake and good
of everyone.

By Omojuwa,

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