(By Yusuf Mamman)
“Whatever the level of comfort in which one finds himself, deservedly or undeservedly as is the case with our thieving leaders, one must at one point or the other come face to face with those grim conditions of living in our society that has turned the average Nigerian into an extraordinary human being, with almost supernatural powers evidenced by his ability to adapt to constantly evolving wickedness, and strength laced with courage to defy all the man-made conditions that threaten to make him extinct.“
‘Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love – Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The brothers Karamazov
I cannot be the only only one who is daily incensed by the apparent total disconnect of our leaders with the glaring realities of living in Nigeria. These realities are so obvious that I refuse to believe that anyone at all can be totally ignorant of them no matter the level of thiefery on which he or she operates. It doesn’t matter if they own standby generators,or if they spend all their travelling hours airborne rather than on our roads. It doesnt matter if their children are studying(?) In the finest schools around the globe nor if they are treated for flu on exotic carribean islands. It doesn’t matter if they are continously sorrounded by guards from one security apparatus or the other to ensure that they do not dash their feet on the floors of their smoothly-tiled mansions, nor if the cost of their nourishment is covered by state resources.
Whatever the level of comfort in which one finds himself, deservedly or undeservedly as is the case with our thieving leaders, one must at one point or the other come face to face with those grim conditions of living in our society that has turned the average Nigerian into an extraordinary human being, with almost supernatural powers evidenced by his ability to adapt to constantly evolving wickedness, and strength laced with courage to defy all the man-made conditions that threaten to make him extinct.
I am more convinced that our leaders, rather than live with the guilt, choose instead to lie to themselves that all is well. How else do you explain a rebased economy in the face of growing unemployment and poverty? Or so many megawatts of electricity in very expensive power outages. How do you reconcile the mounting insecurity with the fantastic amounts seemingly expended on our safety? How else can you rationalize our president’s submission that stealing is not corruption or the inaction of a disbelieving government when our children are snatched from us by gun-toting babarians who traverse our borders at will. I have even been told that the number of private jets that abound in a nation has suddenly become an index of measuring the prosperity of the masses. Government in Nigeria is so anti-people that those in the corridors of power conveniently shut their eyes and ears to the mess that surrounds the opulence they have set up for themselves. In the face of these appalling realities, they choose to lie to themselves that all is well, and they seem to believe these lies to the extent that they try to sell same to us. That is why 20 billion dollars is not missing. It is also why the opposition party with far less resources available to it than the ruling party, is the real enemy of the Nigerian allowing all manner of evil to befall us. Someone once made a statement which I considered quite silly really, that if you tell a lie and stick to it and repeat it over time, it begins to resemble the truth. Yes it does because you become deluded loosing complete touch with reality instead believing only that which you choose to believe.
This is the type of leadership we find ourselves saddled with today, a delusional leadership. How else can you explain a campaign advert for GEJ which I recently came across on television where our very own presido’s “so called” developmental strides are compared with world greats like Martin Luther King (Jr), Lee Kwan Yew, Barrack Obama and…….wait for it: Nelson Mandela. The advert tells us all these greats DID IT for their countries and urges GEJ to KEEP DOING IT. This indeed is delusional or rather, downright comical. How can people lie so blatantly to themselves that they actually believe these lies and go ahead to embarrass Ebele by putting him up there along with such great names in the face of all the unpalatable things this government and the PDP in particular has brought upon the hapless masses-the strikes in the public sector, the increasing insecurity, the mass unemployment, the power which we continuously finance to keep it unavailable, the corruption (or rather, stealing) that has become the norm in goverment, and so on. No. I think the catch phrase of the advert does not match these realities. That is why I’d rather say; Mr President, STOP DOING IT.
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