Having had the privilege of watching Nigeria up close for three unbroken decades, I can say with no fear of contradiction that she is in a league of her own. So you don’t misconstrue that euphemism, please be reminded that the ensuing oxymora serve to define nothing but the country and her people: cursedly blessed, abundantly poor and notoriously brilliant. Whether in terms of her land or human size, Nigeria is a study in how not to be a country. Nigeria has all the potentialities to sit in the front row in the community of nations but prefers to wallow as backbencher.
It is not too hard to explain away the foregoing reality. A century and counting since British colonial overseers welded them, the southern and northern protectorates have not only failed abysmally to blend into one nation that Nigeria may have been expected to be -that is, if she was not programmed to fail ab initio- but it would seem both regions have also further unbundled. With the south now better known by its south-south, southeast and southwest splinters, ditto the north (north-central, northwest and northeast), this country has been running without the lubricant called cohesion or synergy, a fundamental ingredient in nation building. In fact, things are much worse: Nigerians prefer their individual smithereens (village, Local Government Area or state) to the country!
The result is the dastardly politics, the monstrous corruption and the silly ethno-religiosity that connive to impede the country. Show me one sector of our national life not ravaged by politics.
Show me one Nigerian leader today -just one, please- whose family or cronies have not had their lips oiled by lucre. And, while you are at that needle-in-a-haystack search, show me one follower in this country who at some point didn’t and indeed won’t in 2019 put such internecine sentiments as political party, ethnicity and religion above capacity, patriotism and truth.
Talking about followers, Nigeria may well be in deeper or chronic trouble. The jury may not be out on which between the chick and the egg came first, but we should know that the quality of one affects the other, exactly as happens in the leader-follower procreation. The triangle of failure, of mediocre followers producing horrific leaders who in turn influence the followers horrendously, cannot but be the eternal anathema it has been to Nigeria. Or, is there even one Nigerian leader -just one, please- known, seen and unanimously accepted to have made followership any less burdensome?
Indeed, in Nigeria not to be a leader is a burden or a cross or both. The Nigerian follower is in an abusive relationship: despised, exploited, ridiculed, and unappreciated. There’s so much high-handedness, so much hypocrisy, so much shamelessness in the corridors of power that one wonders whether this privileged tiny minority of them think the alarming majority of us are fools. These opportunists in government (please don’t call them leaders) erroneously believe that God referred to them when the bible says, ‘ye are gods.’
They only remember and sweet-tongue us when they need us. After the votes, they ignore or look and talk down on us all the way. They steal from our commonwealth and hide it in the open but have the audacity to claim that there’s no money for our basic needs of food, shelter, clothing, education, healthcare, etc. These men and women must really think we are blind.
Their sheer arrogance, buccaneerism and Neanderthal feudal mannerisms stink to high heavens. They demand worship, but they only deserve a slap. They pose as mighty beings that fear nobody but truth to tell, they are small people who inwardly dread us. They are an ungrateful bunch suffering from self-entitlementiasis.
I am tempted to offer excerpts of their roll call here and now. Look at them: asking for so much but giving too little. Their second nature of pretence is so palpable it has become their entourage. Soon, very soon, they may come to either the end of their tethers having exhausted their tricks or the realisation that we are ready for them!
These inhumanities which have been going on forever have affected citizens’ self-esteem. The Nigerian masses are now nonchalant, weak, uncreative, afraid and overly dependent. How can we aim higher when our so-called leaders, who should understand how motivation works, tag our boldness disrespect, our brilliance ‘over-sabi,’ and show naked preference for mediocrity over excellence? How can we become the best when those who think they are better than us continue to condemn our every step?
But, there’s hope because bad cannot reign in perpetuity. Followers must learn to provide ourselves leadership and to appreciate the few good leaders available. This dual carriageway is the way to go to exit this leadership valley fast. God bless Nigeria!
If I were a Super Eagle in Russia …
I would focus on the expectation of my compatriots back at home, not their reaction. That is one. Two, I would also stay away from especially the social media and telephone calls from home.
Nigerians are horrible losers. We don’t know how to stand together or encourage each other in defeat. We badmouth even helpers the moment things don’t go well.
That accounts for all the cross-carpeting and crisscross-carpeting by our politicians. Nigerians prefer people who win always, even if unscrupulously. Or, have we ever condemned those political scoundrels?
If I were part of our team at the ongoing World Cup, I would forget the Croatia slip; train my all on Iceland and Argentina with a mission to proceed beyond group stage. I would do it for me, not necessarily for country. I would do it to shame my compatriots!