The 2022 version of the national honours award may have come and gone but it is difficult to avoid another morsel of reflection on an occasion that left many with a sour taste in the mouth.
Coming before an election year, of course, it can only be strategic that the government finds it important to do this. Coming just months away from pivotal elections, the political gains that can come from doling out such awards to a few deserving individuals, many underserving individuals, and even some dead Nigerians, are bountiful.
The government may argue that with the administration of President Muhammmadu Buhari about to come to an end, now is the most auspicious time to give out the national awards. But those who know how these things work in Nigeria would know better.
A country left behind
As far as globalization goes, Nigeria`s place as a country left behind is assured. Indeed, when count is to be taken of the largest countries that have been left behind in terms of growth and development, Nigeria may just take home the gong.
Within the country, the conditions of living are startlingly low. With Nigeria`s population projected to reach 216 million by November, it makes especially grim reading that about 91 million Nigerians remain poor. Nigeria`s delisting some years ago as the poverty capital of the world did not mean that the country was off the hooks of poverty. It only meant that the country had lost its top spot to another country that does not mind competing for honours in such miserable company.
Nigeria is not just a poor country with poverty-stricken and miserable citizens, it is also a country heavily terrorized. In the last few decades, there are countries that have become synonymous with terrorism and terrorists. In such countries terrorist attacks that cost lives and property have become commonplace. Such countries would include Iraq and Syria. That Nigeria has now landed on the same list as those countries is enough to induce a heart attack in those who care about Nigeria.
There is a general consensus that at the core of the many crushing challenges confronting Nigeria is the failure of those tasked with managing the countries resources to maximize those resources for some time now. The difficulties Nigeria is experiencing today has a lot to do with the fact that the country has always been poorly planned and poorly run.
It is usually the president that chooses those who will mount the podium for national honours. While a committee may be set up to select those supposedly deserving of the honours, the final selection usually lies within the province of the president.
Experience has shown that those who usually make the cut are the usual suspects. While a few rubies may be thrown in to sweeten the potty, many of those who usually make the list are those whose connections run to the highest places in Nigeria many of whom ordinarily should have questions to answer about why Nigeria is where it is at the moment.
Nigeria is a country obsessed with titles and awards. It explains why they are sometimes allowed to deflect attention from the things that really call for attention. It also explains the reason, many of those who are well-heeled because they have been deeply involved in ripping the flesh off the country, always feel the need to work themselves into the list of such honourees.
A lot may be happening in the country at the moment, but Nigerians know those who the true heroes are. Nigerians also know who the hellions are. They also knew who the honourees should be.