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.


Nigerians 4 change said...

I personally do not think charities can do much. Yes, they can contribute to the lives of children who do not have anything. But I think something that Nigerians need to think about is to focus on our natural resources.

We keep thinking we're a powerful Nation because we have oil. What will happen when we can no longer export this oil? What will happen when America and other Countries change their focus to renewable energy? Where are our other natural resources? Focusing on other resources in our country will also help to create more jobs, which will in turn diminish poverty.

Or are our other resources depleted?

For N4C.

Believer said...

I like the way you said that change should come from the bottom up. Change always begins with us as individuals. Although a lot of our issues come from bad, dare I say terrible leadership, at the end of the day it is up to us to make the best of a bad situation. I don't think poverty problems are solved by more money but by education. A nation is only as strong as it's nationals. On a personal level what can I do to create the change I want to see in my nation. I am looking at wealth creation not to have money in itself but to contribute to the education of others. Lovely post, lovely blog.

Thompson Oyonmi said...

Well written. Anyone that reads this already knows the sermon. We need start acting NOW. Thanx 4 Sharin'.