There is a man who lives somewhere around, he is perhaps the sickest man I have come across. There was so much joy and celebration prior and sequel to his birth. The parents had been looking for a child for so many years they were becoming the ridicule of the city. They watched helplessly as new neighbouring couples were having children without much effort while they continue to sweat. The day the wife got pregnant, the whole World heard about it and the day the baby was born, the invitation cards went to all the corners of the world. There were faces from all over to witness the christening. There was plenty to eat and plenty to drink. Infact there was no need to cry foul of people who came to the party uninvited. The parent had prepared more than enough to go round all the guests three times. Soon, the party guests began to leave one after the other. Until all that was left in the house was the man, his wife and their new born child. It was at this stage, that the Centre came apart. The veil was torn and the secret problem of the couple began to surface. They were two different set of people, with totally different dreams and aspirations, but they were forced to marry each other; thanks to their parents.
They hid their differences all this while so they could together remove a shame, their childlessness. The moment the shame was removed, the differences’ ugly head reared up itself and this time with full venom. They argued loudly, fought very hard. They wouldn’t agree on what type of cloth their baby should wear, what school the baby should attend. They puffed and huffed while the baby’s life was been snuffed. The man claimed superiority, the woman claim superiority, the baby claimed neglect and became sickly. Despite the fragile state of the baby, they still refused to pay attention being more concerned about stamping their feet. They kept fighting for the next few years until death came and sent them to their early graves. However, the deed had been done. They had left a child who was seriously fixated, whose growth was stunted and whose future looked more than bleak. Today, their child is a man of 53 but deep within remains the child who was never allowed to grow up in spite of every attempt to rise after his parent’s death.
1914 is often derided as the year that we were made to enter into an unholy alliance and while the Earth remain, October 1st will continually be celebrated as the day freedom from colonial rule was achieved. It also serve as the reminder of the huge differences that exists between the component parts of the Nigerian state. Hope was the watchword, greatness was an understatement, ruling the black world was not a pipe dream; none of this has yet to happen in the real sense though. We are almost still at the stage we were on October 1st 1960 even after 53 donkey years. The above fictional story may not be the perfect illustration but it’s very close. The present problem called Nigeria was a creation of the original fathers further exacerbated by Military juntas and visionless leaders and a dumb ethnic sentimental followership.
The only difference between 1960 and 2013 is perhaps that the fathers were actually very brilliant and had a near perfect vision of what they wanted the land to look like but they were under the cloud of ‘self’, they were held back by the claws of selfishness. Today’s leaders on the contrary seem (emphasis on seem) to have no idea of what they are doing but do it with all confidence anyway. The Presidential chat on Sunday is baffling, Mr. President was more than non-challant and one could only wonder if he is bothered about the solving the nation’s problems in the same manner he is bothered about dissolving his political enemies. While it is difficult to say with all assurance that the President is on track, I will also not agree with the opposition that the President is not ‘doing anything’, ‘he is clueless’, ‘is he even a Ph.D. holder? etc. I am not denying the obvious, we have a big problem. However, the opposition in Nigeria have a funny way of expanding our woes, making us look like a nation without hope. When the opposition takes over, they become the oppressors and the vicious cycle of oppositional stupidity begins all over again.
In reality, this really is not about President Jonathan, it’s about us as a People. We are stuck, we are fixated, and we have refused to grow up as a people. We have never known how to rally round ourselves: the rule in every nook and cranny of Nigeria is ‘every man for himself’. This fixated mentality is planted in the heart of every Nigerian child such that when he grows, he passes it down the line as well. It’s the difference we cannot believe politicians cannot but steal, it’s the reason we want to grab all we can when the chance is present. Every cadre of leadership in Nigerian is affected by this problem; from the wards to the local government, from the state to the federal government, it’s a national mountain of selfishness and utter hypocrisy. So let no one deceive us by insisting that President is our only problem. My local government Chairman is as much a part of the problem as Rotimi Amaechi, Babatunde Fashola and Godswill Akpabio.
Another people problem we have is our sublime belief in any person or group who speaks out against the ruling government, many of these people while fighting their own personal battles, battles to save their head, we ‘saintify’ them. It does not matter what their past records shows, we discard their history simply because they added the tag ‘progressives’ to their names. This is Nigeria, where we corrupt the saint and ‘saintify’ the corrupt
Are we making progress as a country? Maybe yes; only that a snail can even do better. Can we run at a faster pace? Yes but only if we will solve this people problem, re-orientate ourselves and teach our children the right virtues. The future survival of Nigeria depends on them, not even on my generation for we have bought into the ‘Nigerian ailment’ and not so much can be expected from us. We can contribute if we try but that we are the ones to take this land to our destined Canaan is hard to chew or swallow. Forget about General Buhari; forget about Ashiwaju Tinubu; forget about Goodluck Jonathan; forget about Rotimi Amaechi and the rest of the present political dictators and clowns. There isn’t much hope with them. All we can do is get the best they can offer out of them. Make them as sincere as possible, get them to do the little they can do, cope with them, enjoy their ‘once in a while’ wisdom and goodness then watch them as they return to the grave for we all must die one day.
ff on twitter @tosinfat