Nigeria should have sent a team of technocrats to France to learn how the allies managed to put together the logistics of the D-Day operation in 1944

Ayo Akinfe

[1] I spent yesterday June 6 celebrating the D-Day 80th anniversary. In an unprecedented act of bravery, courage, valour, creativity, audacity and initiative, some 150,000 men were landed on an 80km stretch of land off the Normandy coast of France within 24 hours in 1944

[2] By far the biggest amphibious military landing ever, this opening of the Western front during the war, showed what man can do when he sets his mind to it. Having to move all the necessary tanks, lorries, humans, equipment, supplies, food, fuel etc required precision logistics, competence, efficiency and organisational capability

[3] Do you know that two mobile ports were even build and shipped across the English Channel? An oil pipeline was also laid within 24 hours

[4] For me, D-Day is a testament to the human can-do spirit. No matter the odds we face, we can overcome them with the willpower. France was heavily fortified by the Germans with what was known as an Atlantic Wall that involved the laying out of military pillar boxes and machine gun posts, yet the allies got through

[5] Some 10,000 allied troops died on D-Day, cut down by machine gunfire from the German defenders of Normandy. Despite this, they just pressed on. They poured out across the five beaches named Juno, Sword, Omaha, Gold and Utah

[6] Can I also pay special tribute to the Red Army of the Soviet Union for making D-Day possible. Their sweeping victories at the Battle of Stalingrad and the Battle of Kursk meant that two thirds of the German military were in the Eastern Front, weakening manpower availability on the Western Front

[7] At Kursk alone, the Red Army lost about 250,000 men. They paid for the liberation of Europe in blood and men. Kursk was the greatest tank battle ever seen and to be honest, we will never witness anything like it again. Both sides lined up about 1,000 tanks each and for about a week, they stood toe-to-toe, wiping out each other. At the end of it, World War Two was practically over for Germany

[8] When I look at Naija and her relatively minor problems, I just despair at our lack of spirit. Boko Haram or Fulani herdsmen do not pose one tenth of the risks the Germans did in World War Two but alas, rather than confront our problems, we just complain

[9] Where there is a will, there is a way. D-Day just proves that the main reason why countries like Nigeria remain under-developed is because their people hide behind real and imaginary excuses when confronted with problems rather than face them. If we do not blame bad leadership, we will blame the devil, other ethnic groups, our colonial masters who left some 60 years ago or the angels of Lucifer. Everybody but ourselves

[10] After World War Two, the infrastructural challenges Europe faced are also 10 times greater than what we face in Nigeria today. They had less power, all their bridges were blown up, cities lay in rubble, ports were in ruins and the masses starved. Yet, they did not complain but just got on with it. Within 10 years, Europe was back to herself. Let today be a cold reminder to us that our biggest challenge remains ourselves!

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