Letter to Paul Collier, Jeffery Sachs and those intending to comment on #OccupyNigeria

Good day,
I write to Paul Collier and Jeffery Sachs as well many other ’eminent’ professionals that maybe dragged into the present imbroglio between the Nigerian government and its people.
Just read Prof Paul Collier’s write-up about Nigeria and though I respect your achievements in economics and all, I must say you missed the boat. That write-up was YOUR opinion, this is MY opinion.

Nigeria is a country that has a potential to be much greater than many EU countries in world affairs given our population, resilience, human and natural resources etc. Time and time again foreign ‘interests’ have tried as much as possible to undermine that potential, to relegate our greatness and our belief in our potential to the background. Many people like you – distinguished personalities with lofty achievements in their fields – think that they are qualified to decide on what citizens and governments of developing nations ought to do even though it is evident that most of you are not in touch with realities on the ground.

You’re invited by and hosted lavishly by our ailing governments who present one-sided elitist views of the country. You take our money in the name of consultation fees and ‘advise’ the government; you really think they’re going to practise what you’ve advised but never know that it’s all a ploy to get you to be able ‘feel’ that you have to publicly defend them when things go awry (which it always does, eventually).
This is what you have done, as Jeffrey Sachs has too.

You’ve just acted the script they wrote. You’ve added your name to a long list of ’eminent’ personalities who should have kept quiet and simply watched the outcome of things so as to be able to review your long-held (and sometimes outdated, no insult intended) views on economic policies and propound new ground-breaking (and possibly award-winning) researches. Afterall, this is the 21st century, the age of rapid changes in life as we know it.

For your information, this ‘rule from the streets’ as you’ve tagged it is no longer about subsidy removal, it is about refusing the status quo where Nigerians have ‘suffered and smiled’ in silence as the late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti had put it over thirty years ago.
This is what Nigerians are saying: “We the people…” is the new order of the day, no longer “We the government…” If one person (a Nigerian in government) feels he/she knows what Nigeria ought to do, he/she should come out with a blueprint and allow intellectual criticisms from knowledgeable people in the same field (out of the 167 million Nigerian, we have MANY really knowledgeable people at home and in diaspora) until a significant chunk agree that it will improve our nation.

Outsiders should hold their peace. This does not say we don’t want ANYBODY to give their opinions, but if they feel moved to do so, should attempt it knowing that Nigerians are really smart people who can dissect those opinions and see through them. How much of foreign ‘advice’ helped China become such an economic giant? Libya fell, not because of poor economy but because people were tired of dictatorship; how much of foreign ‘advice’ helped their economy?

This #OccupyNigeria protest is our chance at a new life. It is our mandate and we are resolute in our stand. Herein are we resilient; after all we are Nigerians.

Henry Olamiju
Twitter: @holamiju

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