Sunday, September 27, 2009

Open Letter to Prof. Dora Akunyili

Firstly, let me seize this opportunity to congratulate you on the recent wedding of your daughter Ndijeka Akunyili Crosby. Madam, as the "champion" of the nation’s re-branding programme, there is no better way to kick off the campaign than to subject 140 million television viewers to your grand display of opulence and lavishness. As they say, "charity begins at home".

Hon Minister, I used to be a critic of your current re-branding project. However, after deep thought I have to come to realise that Nigeria is a “Great Nation” with “Good People” after all. And instead of sitting back and criticising our leaders, we need to start celebrating our greatness.

So, why the sudden change of mind you may ask. For me, one of the things that makes us a great nation is the ability of the government to carry on with its business as usual, while the nation's universities remain shut due to lecturers strike. I can’t seem to think of any other nation that can afford to keep its institution of higher learning shut for over three months, without a massive public backlash. Our docility and reluctance to challenge the ruling elite is perhaps what you will consider makes us a nation of “good people”. As you will agree, respect for elders and people in authority are deeply entrenched in our culture and tradition. University students are so “respectful” that they are happy to sit at home for three months, watching Nollywood movies, without rising up in protest.

I also couldn’t agree less with the recent comments credited to the Education Minister Sam Egwu that “all the university lecturers in Ghana will not be adequate for a single university in Nigeria”. Even though our lecturers might have cultivated the habit of embarking on industrial action, we need to be thankful that we have one of the highest number of universities in the world. It is also worth noting that university education is free. Even western nations like the United Kingdom and the United States cannot afford to provide free education at University level, so what else do we want as a nation?

Madam, power generation has been one of the Achilles heel of our great nation. However, in the midst of this challenge, there is a lot to celebrate. We can boast of having the highest number of portable generators in the world per capita. We are so rich that most people can even afford own more than one “I big pass my neighbour” generators. I have suggested in the past that we should seriously consider encouraging the Chinese to start manufacturing “disposable” generators, as this could help to drive down the cost of generators. The initiative could also be the key to the President Umar Yar’Adua seven-point agenda and his "Illusion 2020". With disposable generators, the government need not to worry about meeting its power generation targets.

Hon Minister, I also read your recent letter to Sony Inc demanding an apology for portraying Nigeria as nation of scam artists in a TV commercial. You also banned local cinemas from showing the District 9 movie. Although the movie and TV commercial might have denigrated the people of this great nation, there are still some positives we can take out of it. As they say “any publicity is good publicity”. How many countries have been fortunate to be subject of a Hollywood movie? How many countries have been fortunate to be mentioned in a TV commercial sponsored a multi-national company like Sony?

The western world also sees us as a chronically corrupt nation. Even the latest index rating by Transparency International indicates that Nigeria is one of the most “politically corrupt” nation in the world. But Madam, what these anti-corruption activists fail to realise is that corruption is not just synonymous with Nigeria. We heard recently how British MPs have been manipulating their expenses claims, in a country that prides itself on probity and accountability. This shows that we are no that bad after all. The survival of our economy in the face of uninterrupted looting of the nation’s treasury has been a true test of our greatness. Although research shows that N850bn has been lost to corruption since independence, I’m yet to find a nation whose economy can survive losing such colossal amount of money. To put it in context, the bailout announced by the US government to save its economy from total collapse, as a result of the sub-prime mortgage lending, was only $750bn.

Hon. Minister, I have therefore decided to become one of the mouth-piece for your re-branding campaign here in my base in Australia. God willing, my intention is to compliment your efforts in the Asia-Pacific region in moving our nation forward.

I look forward to working with you on this noble initiative.

Yours sincerely

Patriotic Citizen


Esiarp Elegbede said...

Food For Thought Madam Minister. Nigeria REBRANDS

Isioma said...

Nice one, i hope she gets to read it and also read between the lines.

Abdul Botha said...

To add to your perception, this quote was credited to a nationalist;
"it will, i believe, be generally agreed that eradication of corruption from any society is not just a difficult task: it is without dispute, an impossible objective".
I am not sure if Obafemi Awolowo actually said that. But the task of positioning our country Nigeria in the path of progress and prosperity is up to all of us.