The following is a comment made by Nigeria's Foreign Affairs Minister, Ojo Madueke in January 2009.
"This is the home of the devil himself. Nothing is right about this country. Neither the politicians or even the media, the church leaders, nobody is doing it right here. We must keep learning from them everywhere. I am sick and tired of that. This is a beautiful country of wonderful people, of great possibilities and great traditions. All we have to do is for all of us to feel that we have a stake here and organise ourselves as stakeholders and hold the people we have elected accountable," [sic]I commend the Minister for being so frank. It is rare to see those in the Nigerian government share their opinions so blatantly, regardless of whether they are right or wrong. While I can only imagine the pressure he and others are under to perform to expectation, Nigerians have a right to be impatient and thus question, comment or criticize those they feel are expected to produce. After all they are only human. Some would even argue that such discourse, which can be heated at times, is an indicator of a strengthening democracy, but that is not an issue I will delve into today.
"We are [a] work in progress. We are correcting our faults. We have one great virtue which sometimes can be a vice. We are very self-critical. Nobody can criticise Nigeria like Nigerians themselves. That is a good thing but when we overdo it, it becomes self destructive, and at the end of the day outsiders will use the very thing we are saying to undermine us. So, for goodness sake, we wish Ghana well. We congratulate them we need not draw any lessons from Ghana all the lessons we need are here in Nigeria and we are making use of those lessons." [sic]
Madueke's frankness forces some questions to be considered. Some of these are -
- Is he correct when he sarcastically suggests that Nigerians do not believe there is anything good in Nigeria?
- At what point do discussions about Nigeria become detrimental criticism?
- Can Nigeria learn anything from other countries, or is Madueke correct that "all the lessons we need are here in Nigeria"?
- And, what about his point that "outsiders will use the very thing we are saying to undermine us"?
Related Articles of Interest:
- Keeping It Real
- Why I Blog About Africa
- I think Nigeria Needs A Revolution
- The Nigerian Psyche
- Persistent Psychological Paralysis
- The Significance of Persistent Psychological Paralysis