After Migrants Tragedy -The Nigerian Agenda must birth change

Every story has an end. But in life every ending is just a new beginning. These are distressing times. I was returning from a reverie on a failed bid to cross the border for greener pastures on the other side, when I was ship wrecked. In that ship wreck, I lost almost everything I owned. Tragedy was imminent. But I did not loose the most important thing- my life. Fire broke out in the ship’s kitchen.

The fire spread and so did panic among the passengers. Women were fainting, children were crying and men were screaming threats in every direction, but to no one in particular. Everyone at the same time ran to the lifeboats on each side of the deck.

However, there were few lifejackets. I had no lifejacket and the flames were rising, the only reasonable thing to do,was,jump into the
sea – a novice in swimming. What a day! As soon as I found myself in the cold water,the sea became rougher and the fight to stay afloat tougher. I became tired,dazed and fagged out,and being gradually dragged to a watery grave.

The above narrative of
yet another treatise was playing solitaire in my mind at the wake of the breaking news of the 26 Nigerians
that died and were unilaterally buried at sea by the Italian authorities. Let me quickly add in parenthesis, that this is ominous, disgraceful as it is to Nigerians as a people, embarrassing to the nation even as it leaves a sour taste in the mouth. Bad publicity it is.

One is galled. Sad still,that even those of our compatriots,who struggled to make it to North Africa and other fringes and borders of Europe, paid high prices,lost their homes, homeland, their jobs,their freedom and their self-respect, ended up living as slaves- captivity that has no expiration date,unlike the milk in the supermarket that has expiry date,after which it can’t be used. One can’t blame them,when the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.

The sun shone in the clear blue sky,signalling the birth of a new dawn, and a new day, and a new beginning for the living. The air filled with a soft,sweet fragrance of the countryside. One’s hearts sends condolences to the departed 26,and the numerous others unaccounted for, whose relations believed were in one European city or the other.


The nation,no doubt,is crippled by distraction and disabled by insincerity, it would therefore, be worthwhile for her youths to stand,stretch and be able to reach for the sky,but then, they must be patient,not this hurry-to-arrive-senses.

Patience. Yes, patience; of course, it is a difficult skill to practice in life’s enterprise. This is particularly so when you feel lonely, empty and incomplete. When this is the case,you can jump the gun, and make a choice based on your limited perspective rather than the large picture that would emerge if only you had sought and source for more information and waited patiently.

To keep you from making a mistake that can negatively impact the rest of your life, make you die unsung and buried like an ordinary dog,you must always ask the right questions, always ask! Find answers to those questions and act only when the time is right,and know that you are acting on the best and most comprehensive information available. If it doesn’t work out, you can relax in the knowledge that you did everything possible to make a wise decision.

But, the problem with our youths is that we want microwave maturity to exchange wisdom for information and depth for breadth-but it doesn’t work. Depth comes slowly. Therefore, waiting patiently is what life and success demand. Even when we’ve done the right things. But, often, our problem with waiting is not knowing when it would end. Farmers do this all the time, waiting for their crops to mature, patiently letting the rain do its slow but sure work. Be patient like that, you’ll stay steady and strong.

To avoid situations in which you might make mistakes, disastrous mistakes, may be the biggest and last mistake of all, trying to succeed on their own,but wired in a dead-end situations. Would like to further education, but can’t afford it. No jobs for the graduates, some are trapped by low income due to circumstances you cannot change. They sometimes fail,and fall and die trying to persistently in trying to change what can’t be altered.

Why not stop banging your head against a wall,and practice realistic thinking. You have certain talents, not your body parts; when you discover,develop and deploy them correctly, you’ll have success in the face of seemingly impossible odds. Ignore what you can’t change, focus on what you can,and opportunities will reveal themselves.

You’ll have to address your emotions, while they can be a gauge of how you feel,and a clue to what needs to be changed in your life for you to make progress in your life’s journey, never let emotion alone dictate your decisions. Ask anyone who has to perform at the top of their game, and you’ll find that much of their time is spent overriding their emotions.
However, listening to your emotions to get to the core of what’s bothering you that may lead you astray or to migrate can be a very revealing indicator.

You cannot afford to live life based on your emotions. The truth here is about what are seen are not made of things which are visible. Don Wood quipped, “Stupid is forever, ignorance can be fixed.” Do not fail to seek out the information and expertise you need. Band-Aid remedies never last.

No matter how hard you try,in order to open a locked door, you must use the right key. Stop acting and rushing on loneliness, frustration and on poor advice. So make yourself a hard jury, one that’s not easily convinced, one that requires concrete evidence before reaching a verdict. And remember that it’s better to lengthen the deliberation process and ensure the decision you make is right, than to reach a hasty conclusion and end up with a broken life, hearts and death.

To the Nigeria estate’s one of the best ways to bounce back from this grief and loss of potential leaders is for the nation to do a
one-eighty, and reach out to others,several millions of them who are hurting and lonely often with an attack of collywobbles and helped them through the most tragic experience of their lives.

It is become imperative and incumbent upon the government and political leaders to help the youths to stop shopping for lightning bolts. The air around the earth turns in huge circles, counterclockwise in the northern hemisphere and clockwise in the southern hemisphere. As a result, local meteorologist can tell with a high degree of accuracy what the weather would be like,so you can dress accordingly. But as regard matters concerning migration and living and working abroad nothing is sacrosanct, nothing is given.

Every great thing in life has been built in exactly the same way since creation: bit by bit,step by step, little by little. When a people think they can “muscle” their way to success,it backfires on them. Let the nation examine its belief system, about who we are,what we have and what we can do. This’ll help the nation keep its perspective right, even as it respect and value everyone on a daily basis regardless of their social status, tribe, gender or other distinguishing factors.

Sure, there are troubles youths must carry,responsibility to shoulder, and paths their soul must tread alone. The government cannot smooth the road,nor its benevolence lift the heavy load. But just to know you have a compassionate government and a nation who will ‘stand by’ until the end, one where sympathy through all endures, whose large, big and warm handclasp is always
out- it helps somewhat to pull one through, although there’s nothing it can do,but the nation can make do with its inspiration, protection, counseling and provision of other safety nets rather than leaving the citizenry stagnated and marinating in the gall of bitterness and wandering like clouds – aimless and ruder less in the milky way.

The government through its several bloated, on the brink and patently inefficient MDA’s should embark on massive campaigns, workshops, colloquiums,seminars, training etc letting the youths know that: i)success usually comes at the end of struggle,ii) that when it comes to success there are no shortcuts,reduced prices or “special deals”,and iii)that as they stay up on the wall and keep laying the bricks, death should not be an option.

The nation must teach its youths to learn to respond the right way to difficult living conditions its politicians foisted on them. That means teaching and mentoring them to discover ideas, strategies and resources in the most unexpected places and also dealing with frustrations.

This may be a wee bit difficult as a policy and programme,because the nation has lost its moral compass and its political leaders the moral obligations and authority,due to their greed,avarice and profligate lifestyles. The leadership itself needs a new orientation.

Having said that,its economy needs new character and strategies to rectify the underlying flaws which were aggravated by the out gone administration’s policies of 1999- 2015, when it laboriously pretended the economy was fundamentally sound, but life had by now been shaken out of the lies, by the repercussions of a global oil fluctuating fortunes. That,account for the nation’s inability to meet its most basic and ordinary day- to- day obligations.

The situation was so bad and aggravated,to the extent that the states governors were been forced to go cap in hand to Abuja, to solicit for a bailout, in order to be able to pay workers salaries.
This slapdash approach faulty from conception,does not appear to be a lasting solution. Nigerians would have expected PMB’s APC to depend largely on natural processes of recovery and PMB’s authority for bolder experimental remedies as the nation enter a new era of economic and sociopolitical change.

The Challenges of leadership in the nation today, and on PMB’s APC is not to ”window dress”, but to allay the fear of recession and also to bring an air of confidence and optimism as he introduces economic and sociopolitical reforms, bring about their fruition, and accomplish what previously had taken generations, before the global door of endless possibilities for growth and development swings shut.

The nation’s leaders must be wary that the reforms the nation crave for were about the stark realities of the Nigerian life. In drawing the reforms,public crticisms and debate must neither be dis countenanced nor interrupted or suspended. The APC must thus acknowledge that only it does not have the knowledge and understanding and intelligence of the nation’s development and strategies flaws, therefore, the National reforms,should not only be broadbased and national in outlook and colour, but must also not be hastily drawn nor weakly administered.

The difference between the reforms being proposed here must be a wee bit different in approach from that of the outgone administration’s circus show, aptly tagged ” committee of Jonathan’s friends”.The proposed changes and reforms must bring to the individual citizen a sharp revival of interest in government, and must be free of any pecuniary considerations. Congruent to this is, formulating a new orientation, and begin to imagine life without crude oil and gas.

This thus call for a revisit of the Land Use laws of the federation, with a view to settling once and for all the lingering confusion over who owns farmland, as this is hindering agricultural production and perpetuating poverty, because agricultural productivity is at about 8% of its potential,as lands acquisition skewed rather unequally to a class in the society and who go on to turn land speculation to a goldmine.

PMB must in good conscience arrest this tide of hundreds of thousands roaming the streets in search of food, work and shelter. As a first step in this direction PMB should forward an executive bill to the 8th National Assembly, wherein, a proposal for the army of the unemployed using an extended format of the current NYSC scheme, call it ‘the Youths Vanguard’ or whatever names he chose or fancy to call it. But the concept should be based on work relief rather than welfare. To bring relief to young men between 23 and 30 years of age, but ran in semi- military style to add the necessary discipline, toughness and spirit to leadership training and development.

The’ Youth Vanguard’ is to enrol jobless young men in work camps across the length and breadth of the nation for about 10000k per month. Without prejudice to those constitutionally assigned to some of those roles, they could help in a number of ways,some of which are:- street, rural and urban sanitation, peace corps, local policing and intelligence gathering,local health workers, providing regimented and organised emergency services, planting and maintaining trees to combat soil erosion and so on.
Be it noted that some of them are presently in traps and vocation that is self limiting.

The nation’s leaders must setup an agency that could generate more jobs, if the nation wants to foster industrial and commercial and economic growth. The APC government must also sponsor a remarkable series of legislative initiatives to fast track Nigeria’s economic recovery and ease the sense of the immediate crises. The president must be wary of dreamers, schemers and politicians alike, that are likely to emerge with economic panaceas that are likely to affect the pace of recovery.

To the rest of us,we cannot condemn the dead. We should see them the way we see a blind man walking to a cliff’s edge. Our reactions should not be deadpan but to have compassion and the love to show the rest a safer route.
Any organised,
purpose-driven,make-it-happen kind of person would get upset with the incompetence and low productivity in our public service system. A system tending towards obeying the second law of thermodynamic,that in all physical processes every ordered system over time tends to become disordered.

Therefore, when you have the opportunity to encourage someone, do it. You never know what a person is going
through- that’s true,whether they live in a mansion or a mud hut. Let us endeavor to be kind. The rich and petty bourgeoisie in the land are so much committed to their business and busyness that they come across sounding harsh to the downtrodden and end up turning people off.In The Lion and the Muse,Aesop said,”No act of kindness, no matter how small, ever is wasted.” It cost to be unkind, but it pays to be kind. How many people outside of your biological children and extended relatives are you mentoring. Today, take every opportunity to be kind to others.

Leaving our youths to their own devices while trying to make things happen on their own terms has had to increase arms bearing, kidnapping for ransom Yahoo plus, killing, migration and now deaths.

PMB’s approval rating must have dipped badly, if pollsters were to measure his popularity. He should prove to Nigerians that he has assessed and experienced most of the ordinary sensations of life and the hunger to conquer more even with guile, passion and audacity.#

Jimi Bickersteth

Jimi Bickersteth is a blogger and writer.
He can be reached on Twitter

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