Thursday, October 16, 2008

Poverty in Nigeria: Blog Action Day (by Onyeka Aghanenu)

(Editor’s Note:) As part of the Blog Action Day 2008, I want us to focus on the issue of poverty in Nigeria. I can’t throw any contest, or a donation, and while what I’m going to say is not news, it’s good we, as Nigerians took time to reflect upon the one thing that has continuously plagued our continent. I’m making this up as I go along, so bear with me.

Over the past few days, even before I signed up, I’d observed things that have quite literally broken my heart. On Saturday evening, I was walking home from the shops and as I entered my street, I saw a little boy, not more than 4 or 5, squatting by the entrance, a tray of groundnuts on his head. He put the tray down, and looked at it, rearranging the little piles. I realized he was resting, and I felt bad. And angry. On a day, when most people did not even leave their homes, why would a parent or guardian send out a kid that was so young too hawk items? My first thought was that such parents should be rid of their right to raise that child. But as I walked down the street, I knew it was just a matter of condition…

Really, who wants to see their child zooming in between moving vehicles selling items? I’m not justifying child labor in any way, but one must ask what would cause someone to engage their child in it to start with. It’s not a mystery. It’s something we see everyday, from the high-rises of the Island to the slums of the mainland, they’re always there, trying to make a living anyway possible. It’s almost considered normal.

But it shouldn’t be normal. There shouldn’t be anything ‘usual’ about seeing women old enough to be my mother on the sides of the street, begging or doing some other menial, barely paying job to make ends meet. I’ll be the first to admit that whenever I see such things, I instantly picture my mother in that place, and it almost always brings tears to my eyes. There shouldn’t be anything ignorable in seeing children out on the road selling items when they should be in school. It’s a shame that we live in such a rich country, that is continuously being ravaged by greed and selfishness.

It irritates me to no end the extent to which the rich get richer, stealing, lying, decaying our already fragile society because they want more. Our leaders? Please don’t get me started on those empty vessels. I blame them for our problems. In Africa, that is our problem. All the wrong people are at the top.

Which is why change needs to come from the bottom. At this point in time, is it still wise to sit and wait for those in charge to do something about the lower class’s situation? We, the people need to start taking responsibility for ourselves. Sure, we all have our own responsibilities, we all have our goals, but we should find time, at least, once a month to go out and do something. I know I’m guilty.

I’m dedicating this post to the dependents out there that were born into a life of lack and have continued to lack because of the raging disparity between the rich and poor here.

And I’ll drop this question out there for the commenter. What can we, as Nigerians, do to help the poverty situation? Any charities, causes you’re partial to?

The original post can be found HERE.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Real Independence: The hope

Nigerians are no longer sitting on couches
They no longer look desolate
They no longer sit back, recline, and relax
They no longer wait for the day to come
For the sun has already arisen, and the day is nigh

Nigeria is growing greater each day
With the investments of strong youth
With the increments of new intelligence and creativity
With the contribution of passion and integrity
A new day is slowly unfolding

Nigerians are making things work
Minds are inventing
Businesses are booming
The stock market is growing
The Nation is being rebuilt

Still some areas are deficient
The Niger Delta people are suffering
The schools lack true education
The hospitals are inundated with filth
Yet, this is the plight of our independence

October 1st is still significant
But now with different reasons
No longer because it is merely a day of jubilee
But now because it is a day of change
A day where we can hope for REAL independence
Independence that comes without chains to corruption

May you live to see change...

Miss Independence
Happy birthday
God bless Nigeria
Nigeria, on the Verge of Independence
Tablet doodles: Happy Independence Day, Nigeria
Happy Independence Day Nigerians
Take me to Your Leader- I am 48