Of course we all must have come across the mystic of the three apes – Mikaru, Kikazaru and Iwazaru in Japanese folklore. One sees no evil and covers its eyes; the other hears no evil and blocks its ears while the third speaks no evil with mouth sealed. When it comes to building our nation, there are elders who want Diasporas to imbibe the three apes principle.
One such an elder is Kogi State’s pioneer administrator, General Danladi M. Zakari. He never fails to challenge Diasporas to stick to our heaven abroad and close our eyes, ears and mouth to events in our motherland. General Zakari is not a sibling of Lai Mohammed nor is he related to the new chap at the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), who wants to censor every guest to a live broadcast before they go on air. General Zakari is like many of our elders who are eternally embarrassed by the demystification of unqualified soldiers meddling in politics far from their calling or capacitation.
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The gulf between campaign promises and delivery encourages us never to celebrate anyone who raised notoriety by using the catchphrase – fellow Nigerians!
General Zakari is well travelled as an officer and father of diaspora children. So he is not like the boy who thinks his father’s farm is the biggest because he has never seen the farm of another. He was one of those lucky enough to get into the army when it still had a vestige of national pride, prestige and relevance. The general never misses an opportunity to celebrate his children on his social media feed and when time permits, to visit them and splash happy pictures for his followers.
Most of our elders would rather bury their heads in the sand than accept a dissection of unconscionable leadership in Nigeria today. Bandits have forced entire states to close schools and businesses. Entire communities have been abandoned to incessant raids and life is short and brutish where it exists. While General Zakari was publishing his admonition on social media, his alma mater, the Nigerian Defence Academy was raising a search party for an abducted major whose two other colleagues were gunned down at their duty posts in Jaji. That major’s corpse was later retrieved but not his assailants.
These events have lost their shock factor in Nigeria. Our president, Muhammadu Buhari, a retired general’s reaction to that tragedy is his hope that the incursion into the NDA might spur the army to do something about banditry and the poor state of security in the nation!
Few issues need clarification for advocates of the three apes rule. First, is the assumption that every Nigerian living abroad relocated all his family members? It hardly happens in an extended family system. It is becoming obvious that people in government and their lackeys have no idea that our constitution endorses dual citizenship. Not shocking when your president is unaware of the import of the Land Use Act and wants to re-enact a pre-colonial cattle route.
The only way to reverse dual citizenship is not to gag those bold enough to critique evil. It is to sponsor a bill to the National Assembly now dominated by regime lackeys and watch the backlash.
Dual citizenship is the highway to development. Unfortunately, Nigeria as currently stands would not convince any outsider to embrace its citizenship. Dual citizenship has enriched many developed nations including some of the fastest growing economies of the world that have realised that an island never cries. Insular regimes would poach and hire experts where it sees the need but it takes appreciation, peace and sanity to make them stay.
Dual citizens buoy developed nations into greatness. Talent scouts find genius; open opportunities to them with full citizenship thereby enriching their talent pool and expertise. In Nigeria, a man born somewhere cannot claim the citizenship of that area or find work there. There are bona-fide citizens of many states who are on contractual employment where they should be claiming one by right. Federalism here is a joke!
Some remind us that developed nations passed through our phase. Boko Haram and the Taliban subscribe to that logic too, the theo-fascist thugs want a state of bygone era, but they do not fight for it with swords on horses – they use bombs and terror tactics.
Those who use android and iPhones to tweet and post want us to complete the metamorphic journey through medieval times to reach Eldorado. They are playing smart without being clever. They never miss an opportunity to celebrate something good on the social media they did not create. They leverage on existing technology to sell, buy or advertise their products and expertise but want to build a nation based on bloodshed and arcane practices. Why the nation’s political growth must wait for another 300 years to compete with a fast-changing world beats rational imagination.
One very important reason why people in the diaspora cannot close their eyes, ears and mouths to the morass at home is that the worst among us would embarrass the best among us abroad. Innocent Nigerians bore the brunt of the shame brought by drug traffickers. Diplomats were not spared the sub-human search of every orifice at international airports. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who attempted to blow up an aircraft over American airspace, subjected other Nigerians with legitimate reasons to travel to extra scrutiny. By this logic, Buhari the ultimate patriot should treat his ailment at home and not go abroad to treat incessant earaches.
Our shameless leaders never fail to leverage on the success of good Nigerians abroad. Buhari was happy for the photo-op with Anthony Joshua even though Nigeria contributed nothing to his emergence as a global star. Nigerian born doctor Oluyinka Olutoye, who successfully performed an operation on an unborn foetus, was celebrated as a Nigerian even though he is American. Buhari poached Jelani Aliyu from America and rendered him redundant at home.
A hilarious idiocy is the claim that these icons were trained by Nigeria when it is true that Nigeria’s education of the past four decades is not enough to make a genius of anyone. Our elders are right – a delicious stew costs money. Those who have crossed the rubicon of a dilapidated education system into international prominence broke arms and limbs to get there. ASUU strikes do not produce geniuses and ASUU only strikes because people with no education rule us, they attach no value to what they lack.
But above all, Nigerians in the diaspora sustain the economy of motherland with their remittances. Unlike the politicians who keep their ill-gotten wealth in coded vaults abroad, a drop in the remittances of Nigerians abroad to $17.2 billion last year, could have led to the devaluation of the naira this year.
In an article titled The Economic Power of Nigeria’s Diaspora, pwc.com, confirms that 83 per cent of the 2018 federal budget was financed from remittances, a whopping 11 times the foreign direct investment that Buhari’s junkets brought in all his years as president.
We all know that the rigging machine would exclude diaspora votes for as long as it could get away with it, but no, it would not make diasporas play the three apes game. Nigeria belongs to all those who claim it whether they live there or out. We have stakes in motherland. We won’t be silenced.