(1) This week, we have been celebrating Holocaust Memorial Day. I chose not to write about it on the day but sit back and take stock of what has gone on. We now have this regional power in the Middle East. Alas, we need a similar one in sub-Saharan Africa. I find it perplexing that Nigerians are not embarrassed about the fact that the world’s largest black nation is not a global super power
(2) In all fairness, the gross domestic products (GDP) of Nigeria and Israel are about the same size but alas, they are 20m people, while we are 200m. I keep on making the point that our number one problem in Nigeria is that we are not productive enough. If our unit-per-head output matched that of Israel, we would have a GDP of about $2trn, which make us a G-7 economy
(3) What strikes me about Israel is that as a people they stopped feeling sorry for themselves long ago ago and just got on with the process of nation building. They never blame their woes on the Holocaust or the Nazis. They look to resolve problems
(4) As much as we must condemn Zionism for colonising the Arabs and grabbing Palestinian land, you have to admire the resilience of the Israelis. Their can-do spirit, surviving in a hostile environment surrounded by nations they are at war with takes guts. They hate Africans too but we brought such derision on ourselves. Would they treat us so if we had say the world’s fourth largest economy?
(5) Nigerians like to blame the slave trade, colonialism and imperialism for their plethora of socio-economic woes but that is just looking for excuses in my opinion. We have had 60 years to turn round our fortunes
(6) Israel was created in 1948 and by 1967 had firmly established herself as a regional power. I still recollect how they recruited some of the retired World War Two pilots during the Seven Day War. Her Arab neighbours were fast asleep while Israel was drawing up plans to attack them. That is the kind of imagination we lack in Nigeria
(7) Israel lost 6m Jews during the Holocaust, which is more than Nigeria lost during the trans-Atlantic Slave trade. If they could bounce back from it, we really have no excuse
(8) Yes, Israel is America’s aircraft carrier in the Middle East and half of its budget gets counter-funded by Washington but hey, they have a 2021 annual budget of $129bn compared with Nigeria’s paltry and embarrassing $33bn. How can a nation of 200m people have a budget of less than $200bn for heaven’s sake?
(9) Between 1960 and now, Nigeria has made more money from the sale of crude oil than Israel has got in US subsidies. Yet, they have managed to find a way to irrigate the desert while we are still debating nomadic cattle rearing
(10) I have said again and again, that the only problem with Nigeria is Nigerians. There is no civic responsibility, everyone is so obsessed with accumulating personal wealth, our vanity makes us obsessed with needless titles, we embrace religion fanatically without question, we are easily misled along ethnic lines and are intellectually lazy like the Arabs, who were still herding camels when Israel was building rockets. While we lament our shortfalls, can I use this opportunity to pay tribute to one Nigerian who tried to turn this around. Do you know that Michael Okpara spent 45% of his budget on education. RIP MI Power!