(By Butu Hemenseter)
“Why else would we be paying so heavily for this cabaret to go on? We would rather hail PHCN or DISCO or whoever is in charge of our electricity and whatever name they go by these days when they provide more hours of electricity than we are accustomed to than outrightly demand for improved electricity. It is this “dem dey try” attitude that makes building roads a publicity worthy project in Africa’s largest economy, not minding that the year is 2014 and General Abacha (the great inhibitor, whose death was a requisite for development) died well over a decade ago“.
It is no news that Nigeria is one of the world’s most underachieving states considering the resources accrued to it. Leaves one wondering if the mythical meeting where God placed the worst of humanity in this part of Africa is actually a myth. Not once, not twice, not one thousand times has some truly disgusting act been brazenly undertaken by a public officer that we mutter inwardly this certainly isn’t happening. However, acts of indiscipline, corruption and simple theft as my president once described it are not limited to public office holders. Every single one of us has that inner Nigerian that is capable of amazing levels of inglorious behaviour (again I’m using a larger sample size of the population to assume).
Such instances occur and I’m so happy that something has happened that will spur Nigerians into action. Then I go out into the street hoping to see people mad with placards, and petitions ready to be signed and the likes, only to be disappointed…not once, not twice not one thousand times.
After several attempts to write about Nigeria, I find myself coming back to make this same point. And, instead of worrying about being overly repetitive, I have resolved to hoover around this point for as long as is needed to elicit some sort of reaction from my fellow Nigerians.
Our body language more often than not, oozes of satisfaction to mediocrity. If we are not leaving a thief who stole billions of our commonwealth to God, we are vindicating Linda Ikeji; a well documented plagiariser, and it doesn’t matter whatever reason we choose to perform such acts of “heroic” pardon. It is what truly makes us the worst nation to live in.
Permit me to digress a little. Those close to me know this is one of my favourite theories and I will again call on it, with the hope that being repetitive will stamp its message in our brains. Barack Obama might be such a charismatic leader, who smacks of discipline, competence and whatever adjectives we choose to qualify him with. But there is no proof he is necessarily an incorruptible person. Just because he will not tamper with the rights of the average American or their public funds is not proof enough. The system and the people will make him pay for the rest of his life if he dares. In other words actions beget consequences. Flip over to the other side of the Atlantic and viola, you have a system where acts of indiscipline or disregard for the law will get you promoted. It truly is magical and you can’t convince me otherwise. It is almost as if we want to be this way. Oh, I’m certain, this is what we want. What we deserve really. How else do you explain this comprehensive mix of corruption after corruption after corruption that has thrived in our society unpunished? Nigerian governments are known to push corruption to new heights. Save the consistent abolishment of policies enacted by preceding governments, nothing is more synonymous with governance in Nigeria. As citizens, we are in turn known for is pushing the “na so the country dey” attitude to even greater heights.
At this point, permit me to share in no particular order my personal top ten acts that were simply award winning. We have after all accepted that some magical force is at play, so don’t be shocked if your personal favourites don’t make the cut, not to mention the fact that I’m choosing ten from a pool of one thousand precedents:
- John Yusuf stole several billions of naira 27 of them actually. The slam dunk however came when he was slammed with a N750,000 fine.
- Abdulrasheed Maina used a shovel to literally shove our money down his throat and we “left him to God”. Not minding that God has already left everything on earth under our dominion.
- Government Tompolo and Asari Dokubo got multi-billion naira contracts as a reward for terrorising or is not terrorising the Niger Delta.
- Protesters took to the street and demanded that Diezani Madueke shouldn’t be “disturbed”. Ha! Na wao! Paid or not, nothing proved poverty is a disease as much as this.
- We are yet to massively protest the senseless killing of our brothers and sisters in Maiduguri. But we protested against the profanity embodied in a cartoon in faraway Europe, and protested more vigorously the increase in prices of PMS. In other words, religion and fuel price is waaaay more important than the sanctity of human life.
- Doctors going on strike often to protest poor wages, but seldom to protest detestable hospital conditions and the law (if there is any) which prevents a suspected armed robber in critical condition from receiving treatment, unless after obtaining a police report.
- Blatant cheating by gsm service providers, who either “erroneously” over-bill, but never under-bill, or fail to provide data coverage even when one has subscribed.
- President Jonathan urged Nigerians to get used to being terrorised as it was a global occurrence. In another stellar performance sanctioned by his numerous over-paid advisors he told Nigerians living in Borno “it could be worse”
- Arunma Otteh and Stella Oduah had some extremely superb performances between themselves. Choose freely from any one.
- Mbu Joseph Mbu the controversial Lion of Aso drive and then commissioner of the Nigeria Police used every means necessary to tame the Leopard of Port Harcourt Governor Rotimi Amaechi. He was promoted for his “good character and dedication to serving Nigerians”.
These and many more we suffer in Nigeria, but make no mistake, we like it. Why else would we be paying so heavily for this cabaret to go on? We would rather hail PHCN or DISCO or whoever is in charge of our electricity and whatever name they go by these days when they provide more hours of electricity than we are accustomed to than outrightly demand for improved electricity. It is this “dem dey try” attitude that makes building roads a publicity worthy project in Africa’s largest economy, not minding that the year is 2014 and General Abacha (the great inhibitor, whose death was a requisite for development) died well over a decade ago.
I like night clubs, shows and events. Albeit in Nigeria we hardly have cabarets in our clubs, to entirely miss the entertainment would’ve been too great a loss. Hence our beloved politicians out of the magnanimity of their hearts have supplemented. Nicely at that, Nigeria is one huge night club and our daily national lives a cabaret.
My earnest prayer as always is that may our children not be treated to the same round of performances. But how will we prevent that? By our usual siddon look attitude? Again if this is not magical, then I don’t know what is.
Follow Hemenseter Butu on twitter @HemButs
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