Failing Country

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The situation of this country is such a joke.

I see people who tried all their possible best to finish school with distinction, and they did it.

They suffered many things but they pulled through. They got the first class and clinched the 2-1.

But where are they now?

Still struggling to live a good life despite their initial sacrifices in school.

Many people are offered jobs that pay like slaves and their self esteem cannot even allow them accept such employments, except if they want to sell themselves so cheap.

And they tell them, ‘You better thank God you are even considered’.

But in his heart, he knows he just cannot bring himself so low.

They call him proud and say he has not known hunger, but he remembers the sacrifices he made and the things he had to forgo just to be able to finish top of his class.

I see all these situations and all I do is shake my head in pity.
And as someone who has been preparing students for university for the past five years, it is becoming increasingly difficult to even convince these young students to strive to gain admission or pursue excellence.

There are very few persons you can point to as examples of people who paid the sacrifice of hardwork in school and are reaping the reward today, doing very well presently.

You find yourself only encouraging the young minds with the promise that education still barely offers a chance to succeed in a society of failed dreams and mediocre achievements.
And with the growing list of social media ‘celebrities’ who did frivolous deeds that even trample upon the societal values now making waves and getting rewarded, you begin to wonder if ours is a society that was cut out for excellence in the first place. 

I mean, this is a country where millions of Naira is earmarked as reward for show of youthful exuberance without talent while the lady who had the highest score in a Medical course in one of our universities was given 250 naira.

No, I didn’t make a mistake with the zeros. I mean, two hundred and fifty naira.

Yeah, my mouth was agape with disbelief when I read the news too.
Social media celebrities get endorsement deals, cover magazines and are rewarded by the government while we do not even know where the guy who made 5.0 from UNILAG is presently.

Let’s just hope he is doing well too.
The people who made first class are working in a bank while our colleagues who read Banking are doing their Masters.

And we can’t really talk lest they accuse us of sitting behind our phones and complaining to the world about our ‘predicament’.

It should not come as a surprise anyway. We should have seen it coming.

The last convocation I attended, the best graduating students were only called by name, they were not called to shake hands with any of the distinguished guests.

Someone even told me they skipped the names entirely in the most recent one.
They said and advised we become entrepreneurs, many seminars and talks were organized to encourage us to pursue our dreams and use it to contribute to the society.

But I see a lot of dreams sold quickly for salaries.
The man buys a pen, spends his last dime to purchase a pack of A4 paper. He starts to write; he has the talent.

He has now finished two books but they told him publishing in about 500,000 naira.

He thinks about building a website but that costs about 100,000 naira.

He wonders how he would raise such amount when even his internet subscription is exhausted and he doesn’t know what is next.
She sings wonderfully. About 100 songs are already recorded in her small phone. She enquires about production and how much she needs to make an album.

When they told her, she had to return home and get her academic certificates.

She considers the musical contest with the winner promised a sponsorship but the form is sold for 10,000 naira.

She wonders where she would see the money.
The singer and the writer left their dreams and talents in the corner of their rooms and held their certificates under their arms.

Job-hunting is activated.

Talent, skill and dreams is paused.

When the job is secured, all is soon forgotten.
A man that should discover solutions to problems is now sitting behind the computer in a cubicle, typing broadsheets and adding figures.

Some look on at him in pity and wag their heads, saying he lost his chance to be great.

I am not among those ones.

Can a man without a home make any dream come true?

Can a body without food think of solutions?

Won’t he abandon his plans and vision just to he able to make ends meet? 

And when the system is designed to frustrate your plans and make you seem a failure, won’t you jettison your hopes and talents for daily food and drink?

Won’t he be forced to apply for the job he swore never to do?

In a bid to get a sure source of income, it will get to a time when he will have a rethink and accept whatever comes his way.

And there goes another gift.

Buried with the appointment letter is a talent and skill.
But such a man, sometimes, will wonder and ponder how he got there.

When he looks back at the time he was filled with zeal and dreams, thinking his talents and skills will make a way for him, he will become sad and unfulfilled.

But I assure you, such feeling will only last for a moment before he moves on with his life.

When he remembers that at least, he can sufficiently feed his belly, he will appreciate his maker for his little achievements. 
And if he is a good man who knows his happiness lies in his own hands, he will find contentment in any job he finds himself doing.

Then, it will only be on the pages of his diary that the tales of his once promising talent and future lie.
Mark Zuckerberg was right when he said, in the commencement speech at Harvard last month,

‘I know lots of people who haven’t pursued dreams because they didn’t have a cushion to fall back on if they failed.

We all know we don’t succeed just by having a good idea or working hard. We succeed by being lucky too.

If I had to support my family growing up instead of having time to code, if I didn’t know I’d be fine if Facebook didn’t work out, I wouldn’t be standing here today. If we’re honest, we all know how much luck we’ve had’
So many wait for their luck to come.

And for so many in our society, the luck never comes.

But oh well…

Time will tell.

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-#VJW

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