I possess an above-average knowledge of psychology and have been fascinated with what is termed Nigerian psychology. That psychology has many branches and stages, from the ethnic to the religious, from the political to the apolitical, it has different shades but, of all the phases and typologies of it, one that never ceases to amaze me is the psychology of the poor in Nigeria. We just watch and expect miracles, forgetting that such do not happen out of the ordinary. We are stranded but ask, are we stranded?
1. left without the means to move from somewhere.
2. to live in a strange or an unfavorable place especially without funds or means to depart.
high and dry
It is 2021, local elections in Jos, Plateau State, require a state public holiday one day before the polls, and finally a no-movement order on the day of the polls proper. People are stranded, ordinary citizens who earn their livelihood on a daily basis are as usual left helpless. It is the situation all over the country. We practice democracy in an authoritarian manner.
We hate consensus and cherish force, a nation whose people have grounded empathy and sympathy. Thus we are left in an unfavourable place where lecturers are perpetually threatening politicians, whereas, as a matter of policy, students studying to be teachers would earn more than teachers and are still not obliged to teach. Indeed people left high and dry.
Reported in The Guardian newspaper: The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) said that it generated N1.13 billion in revenue in the last year. But has requested N61.5 billion as a proposal for 2022 procurement activities, which cuts across 22 budget lines. These will include procurement of spares (including lubricants) for the locomotives, coaches and wagons; insurance of locomotives and rolling stocks; rehabilitation of track from Port Harcourt to Makurdi; maintenance of roads into stators, rest houses, workshop, chalets end operational residential quarters, among others.
He said NRC’s current personnel strength was 10,672, with the current personnel cost of N9.14 billion for 2021. Do the stranded economics and leave the rest!
In the oil sector, PIB or no PIB, we are helpless: refineries and their staff have kept the motto, ‘aloota’ continue, with yearly loss. We are helpless as we depend on ‘oyel’ in a world that is moving. We refuse to look at production with our heavy-duty population. We are without help/assistance and really without resources and in difficulties. We are hoping against hope that the nation does not run aground.
Stranded is when you get to the airport late and your flight has departed, you figure it out either by changing dates, paying the additional, you could still travel by rerouting flights as long as there are flights—what becomes a problem is like Air Nigeria or Nigeria Air, there’s a logo, a brand name but the planes and the real airline is in the lurch. How many such projects of both elephant and hippopotamus magnitude are stranded?
In our state of helplessness, judicial workers went on strike, doctors, too, teachers, nurses, labourers, everyone that can strike has struck at one point or the other…at some point even the police threatened to strike. Early in this our democracy made in Nigeria, one of the two houses of the National Assembly threatened to strike over their allowances.
Nigerians are living a very mean life. Cooking oil, popularly referred to as kerosene, is more expensive than car spirit. We are all living a life of promise, politicians riding us as camels, promising to build bridges where there are no rivers and taking our bald fathers to the saloon for a haircut.
Our failed leaders do not owe us an apology because they literally own us. We have no say; they treat us at their whims and caprices, and even through their actions and inaction provide us with comic relief. In many parts, civil servants are being owed months in salaries, private firms treating their workers in styles reminiscent of the abolished slave trade.
On a scale of happy and sad: Nigerians are on a permanent frustrate, living a life of bare survival, subsistent living, less than a dollar a day and living expenses stand at about $8 a day. How we cope with transport, feeding, contingencies are nothing short of magic, but for how long?
Universities, apart from the half and unbaked graduates, now produce robbers, prostitutes; churches and mosques are manned by con-men called men of god, sorry god of men, while we the children of god have become vulnerable elements.
Take a sample survey and you will be shocked at the results, Nigerians may be naive, docile but, interestingly, they are not ignorant, they know the thieves, they know those men and, these days, women that have crippled and stranded them economically.
They know that neighbour that was riding an old battered Volvo that went to the State House of Assembly that has six cars now. This is why a lot of us have advocated that the bandits, rather than the rubbish they are doing now, should start kidnapping government officials and leaders that have left them stranded mentally, economically and otherwise.
A lot of commentators are out there taking stands. Of course, no one can be totally neutral, but how many have thought of the people, the real people, who are stranded?
Any project meant for the masses is treated as a no-money matter but when it has to do with the insatiable ego of our toy leaders, money comes out. If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.
In Nigeria today, injustice has become justice, crime a virtue, roguery a skill.
Painfully, all that this government has done it says that it was done for our good, yet we do not see the good and this makes the words of C.S. Lewis most apt, he said, “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies.”
The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
Our leaders have the approval of their conscience when they kill the public school system and allow for the growth of all sorts of nonsense in the name of private schools. They have the approval of their hearts when they go from Germany to Saudi for treatment, and we watch as India, Singapore, Malaysia turn their health system into state-of-the-art tourists attractions.
They have approval to treat us anyhow, most times with our permission, but those days will soon be over. The poor will soon take revenge. We pray that it is done in a palace manner, if not, anarchy looms that day, because the poor know where they live, how they live, and will strike without sympathy.
It is better to die for an idea that will live, than to live for an idea that will die. The day of reckoning we hope may come. Nigerians will seek out revenge, and there will be something worth dying for sooner than expected. A storm is brewing. Those stranded will rise, and time will tell.