WANTED IN NIGERIA - THE EGYPTIAN EXAMPLE.
As the whole world was glued to their TV sets, watching as events unfolded in Egypt, the only thought on my mind was about my nation, Nigeria and her long-suffering but docile people. Somebody asked what was wrong with the Egyptians and my answer was that nothing was wrong with them. The Egyptians are a determined people who would not settle for less. They know where they are headed and they will stop at nothing to get there. They have a destination, their own brand of democracy and no obstinate Morsi would stand in their way. They have not cared, nor listened to those who opined that the obstinate Morsi was democratically elected. In their own thinking, if he fouled the terms of his mandate, the Egyptians were not going to keep their own part of the bargain. Simple.
Would the world ever have the opportunity to see a re-enactment of the Egyptian saga in Nigeria? My candid opinion would be, "Never". And there are many reasons why I have hastily come to that conclusion. Chief among those reasons is the resilient nature of Nigerians. We are known to adjust quickly to any unsavoury condition.
When our roads become dilapidated, rather than hold the government to invest some of the taxes we pay, and a bit from our nature-given oil revenue to repair the roads, we pay mechanics to adapt our vehicles, or altogether, buy four runners to ease our navigation through bad roads. Adapting to situations is a good thing but adapting to bad and unsavoury conditions that can easily be reversed and should be reversed is a crime. Many Nigerians are guilty of this singular offence. We are too quick to adjust to unnecessary sufferings. We are in a rush to move on to the next stage and we do so by sweeping issues under the carpet. That is not a good habit. It is better to confront issues rather than pretending they are not happening by burying our heads in the sand. Such issues do not go away, they grow progressively worse and will continue to haunt us until we confront them.
In addition, Nigerians are said to have the longest stretch of elasticity when it comes to accommodating nonsense. I am not sure who conducted the research though. When shove comes to the push, the average Nigerian would "leave it for God". We are not trouble makers by nature. Nigerians are peace lovers. The most popular slogan in Nigeria after "God bless you", is "Let peace reign". We do not understand that peace is not the absence of conflict. Rather than stand up to a collection of imbeciles who masquerade as leaders, we provide for ourselves, services that are provided by the government in other nations and which are clearly the prerogatives of our useless government as provided for in our constitution. I have said many times before that God is not a democrat but a dictator. He does not understand what we mean by democracy. He is not an electorate in our nation so what is the point of leaving democratic issues in the hands of a being that is clearly undemocratic? He just laughs at us and wonders why we have not executed those who rig themselves into power and attribute it to a God that is undemocratic!
Another reason is that most Nigerians are not aware that they have rights to question those they voted in to serve them. They therefore, do not know that those in power are their servants. They are not aware of the fact that they, as citizens of a nation, have power. They do not know that ultimate power belongs to ordinary people of Nigeria. How could they? They were raised not to ask questions. They were taught to respect their elders and were not even allowed as children to look adults in the eyes. Now as adults, they are still showing the signs of a respectful upbringing, but taking it too far to the point of docility. We roll out the drums to praise a leader who completes a budgeted project as if he used his personal money to build such a project which in many cases are over priced and poorly executed. We allow these clowns and their religions counterparts to litter our nation with billboards of their shameless portraits.
Again, Nigerians have known nothing but bad leadership in the last fourteen years. They have watched as a few people who parade themselves as their leaders, connive with their personal friends and families to take from them, wealth, massive wealth that belongs to the nation. They have been stripped of all dignity and respect. They have looked up to the hands of those with the yam and knife and have received nothing. They have seen and experienced poverty in the land of plenty. They have watched as hoodlums and touts hijack the political landscape of their nation. They stare and watch helplessly while men with no hearts and their women, live in opulence at their expense.
Nigerians have been traumatised in their own nation and those in the medical profession can adequately articulate for us the signs of trauma which in my uneducated medical guess, can include the feeling of numbness.
In order to numb their pains, many Nigerians have chosen to become oblivious to the happenings in their nation. If they can provide for their immediate families, by hook or crook, they do not care if everyone else gets hit by a moving train. They are not even aware of the colossal fraud that the government is perpetuating on them. They live an independent sort of life. But who can blame them? They are their own local government; they provide electricity, water, health care and private education for their children. It does not matter that they pay taxes and levies as well. They have numerous task forces, set up by their governments to extort money from them, yet they do nothing. The government wakes up and condemns their drivers licence and plate numbers, forcing them to pay for new ones and they happily join the queue to pay the exorbitant fee prescribed by the head serpent! Trauma!
In addition, many of our youths have not known a corrupt-free life. They were born and bred at a time when corruption and evil have overthrown community spirit and contentment in a nation where people once frowned at, and punished corruption. They are in a rush to 'make it'. My heart goes out to them because they have never known a different way of life. The police demands bribes from them to give them help, the lecturer asks for sexual favours from them before they can pass a course of study; if they are accused falsely, they are required by the Judge to buy justice. Wherever they turn, injustice, corruption, mediocrity, bribery, nepotism, quick-fix, tribalism, religious intolerance, etc stare them in the face. How much can a generation of young people take? How can they live above board with all these poor examples and negative role models as members of their families and friends.
No wonder the Nigerian youth have found solace in sports. Nigerians are sports-mad. It is not uncommon to find a Nigerian family bickering over Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and other top football leagues in the UK and across Europe. They had something to smile about when the Nigerian Eagles managed a victory at the last African cup of nations. It rekindled their hope for a National sports team they can be proud of. Their focus on football has somehow, dwarfed their desire to recover their nation. As they watched the Egyptian example, We could only hope that they would begin again, to think of their nation and the task before them. The task of recovering their nation is in their hands. After all, Egypt is a footballing nation too. But while they had football under their feet, they reached out to dismantle their selfish and unprogressive successive governments. And they are poised to do it until they get it right.
In spite of these drawbacks, Nigeria and Nigerians have a few things going for them. Nigerians are known to have leaders who shamelessly use the divide and rule tactics to hold unto the reins of power. At no time, however, in the history of our nation have we had a leader like President Jonathan, who has shown contempt for all tribes of our nation including his Ijaw nation. In spite of this concerted effort by the current government in Nigeria to use religious and tribal sentiments to divide us, we stand solidly together. June 12 elections proved that Nigerians were one and the #OccupyNigeria protests of 2012 has proved in recent times that we are still one. Why not? We are united in poverty, lack and want against the greed of our leaders who have connived with their friends and families to rape the whole nation. As it is in the north of Nigeria, so it is in the south of Nigeria.
Many may argue that President Jonathan is essentially an Ijaw president given the vigour with which a few Ijaw ex-militants are threatening to execute the rest of us, should we dare to think about a change of leadership baton come 2015. I beg to differ. Ijaw people are some of the poorest people in our nation with living conditions, worse than your worst imagination. That the government of Nigeria, under President Jonathan's hopeless leadership, would sit back and watch while Shell and other Oil and gas multinationals commit some of the most heinous environmental crimes against his own people, is evidence that President Goodluck Jonathan belongs to no one but the PDP cabal.
Whether the Nigerian people, led by her youths would rise up against those who have enslaved them for far too long, remains to be seen. One thing is certain, the President Jonathan administration has succeeded in refocusing Nigerians on 2015 rather than a revolution that would unseat them before they are willing to go. Having said that, I cannot rule out the possibility of a mass action in our nation. This is because we as Nigerians are generally not leaders by nature, we are followers. If someone of note decides that he has had enough and steps out to lead a mass protest, that would be the end of this useless government because Nigerians are fed up and have had enough of the excesses of the current collection of mediocre, irresponsible and incompetent leadership.
Follow me on Twitter @Laurestar
Follow me on Twitter @Laurestar