Do Nigerians ever ask themselves if their government can turn to them in its hour of need?

By Ayo Akinfe

(1) If you want to know what is wrong with Nigeria as a nation, look no further than this jet fighter, the Grumman F6F, popularly known as the Hellcat. It was what won the Battle of the Pacific for the US during World War Two

(2) After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour in 1941, they dominated the skies in the battle of the Far East as their jet fighter, the Mitsubishi A6M known as the Zero, shot Americans planes out of the sky in a turkey shoot

(3) In 1941, the US was using a jet fighter called Grumman F4F or Wildcat. This plane was no match for the Japanese Zero, as it was constantly out-manouvered, out-run, out-gunned and out-dived by the Japanese fighters

(4) After only two years of operation, it was quickly realised by the US that the Wildcat was not fit for purpose. Within one year, the Americans decided that the Wildcat had to go, so in 1941, they took a decision to replace it with a quicker, more manoeuvrable and more powerful jet fighter

(5) What shocks me is that Grumman managed to replace the Wildcat with the Hellcat in just over a year. How on earth did they get a jet fighter from prototype to operation within 18 months?

(6) Come early 1943, the Japanese could not believe what hit them when they faced the Hellcat. As few as 75 Hellcats would take out a squadron of 300 Zeros. After the first air duel, the tide of the war changed irreversibly. There was only going to be one winner

(7) Japan began World War Two way back in 1937 when she invaded China. Some nine years later in 1945 when the war ended, Japan was still using the same fighters, bombers, combat ships, submarines, battle tanks, etc that she started the conflict with. Mitsubishi acted in a very Nigerian manner, failing to improve their aircraft in nine long years

(8) Nigeria of today is a mirror imagine of Japan of World War Two. We have been producing the same austerity budgets since 1960, have not come up with any battle tank to combat Boko Haram despite being at war with them since 2009 and have not produced one military aircraft despite 60 years of independence

(9) Only this week, it was revealed that about 13 Nigerian airlines had their registrations withdrawn because they did not operate on 2019. The main reason why our airlines are in crisis and why we have no national carrier is because we do not manufacture any aircraft. Our airlines cannot afford to replace their planes and that will not change until we start producing aircraft locally

(10) I want all Nigerians to look themselves in the mirror and ask if they are not part of the problem with our beloved nation. In 1941, the US military could turn to Grumman and ask it to produce a better jet fighter and they came up with the Hellcat. If the Nigerian military wants a special helicopter gunship to take out Boko Haram, who do they turn to? We have only excelled at owambes, churches, mosques, Nollywood and entertainment. Until we extend that excellence to all other areas of our national life, we will remain a poor under-achieving nation. When we become as passionate as manufacturing as we are about religious faith and parties, we will turn the corner