Many developing nations of the world are aspiring and working hard to move out of being tagged “developing” to “developed. To be considered a developed nation, there are certain criteria they must possess, and some of these attributes are high income per capita, high average income per resident, high standard of living, good health care, low unemployment, good security, a higher level of exports than imports and mastering science and technology.
Despite Nigeria seriously lagging behind in all of these parameters, the government, unlike other developing countries that are striving to get better, has decided to face backward instead of forward. Going that backward direction will, instead of pushing Nigeria out if being developing, will drag the country to being underdeveloped in no time.
The world being a global village now, almost all countries are clinging on technology which is gradually becoming a major developmental dictator of the present time. Just at the time when the world has realized how germane the internet is to modern-day development and are encouraging even the older generation to embrace this change that has come to stay, the Nigerian government, its backward-facing policy, is deducing ways to cut the internet and/or cut down on the use of the social media to avoid being criticized. Did you just say, “who does that?” That is what most people ask when they get a glimpse of what the Nigerian government is trying to do in the 21st century. More disappointing is the fact that the people instigating the government are supposed youth in government who won their elections to power through the same social media.
Criticism is part of a democratic government. In fact, that is one of the reasons why it is democratic. What is for the people in a government if the same people the government is for can have a say in it? They make protest peacefully on the street, they are shot at. They try to be heard on the internet, where they can avoid being shot at, the same government which is supposed to be for the people, is trying to keep the people shut again.
The same leaders want to copy everything that happens abroad, yet they are not ready to be criticized the way leaders in those developed countries are. It is doubtful if there is any leader in Nigeria who has been directly and indirectly criticized like the present US government. Yet, people are not shot at nor are attempted to be kept shut.
The press does not enjoy the freedom to report the news freely, the people are not allowed to complain if they are not happy, and the government has not made a move to go the right direction. So, what is now the plan to get things better?
The supposed giant if Africa is dwindling continuously, wangling its citizens in poverty and recording the worst results across the globe and all the people should do is keep mute? Did anybody know that Nigeria just recently overtook India to become the world capital for under-five deaths? In June 2020, Nigeria as well as overtook that same India in extreme poverty. India’s population is over 1 billion in case you want to compare and the country is one of the few try very hard to change to a better status and results are already showing bypassing the ugly batons to Nigeria which has refused to move.
Rather than monitoring EndSARS accounts, arresting people exercising their civic rights, wasting sitting allowances on unnecessary deliberations to sensor social media, more energy should be channeled towards the development of Nigeria. Should the governors who hoarded pandemic palliatives not be quarried? Rather, people who, out of hunger and poverty, were turned looters are the focus of the government. There must be a change, there must be changes.