The Trouble with Nigeria


An average Nigerian is a crook, but he expects a saint to be his leader. I love him, he is ingenious, he thrives under pressure, he is hugely talented. Within his bounds, he is excellent – but only within the bounds of his weakness.

Occasionally, he shines as a moral exemplar, but only very very occasionally.

When Chinua Achebe refused money from 50 cents over the usage of his book title – Things Fall Apart – for a music video, he is a moral exemplar.

When former Nigerian President, Umaru Musa Yar'adua, openly declared that the 2007 election which brought him to power is not free and fair, he is a moral exemplar.

But these refreshing oases are to be found only after trekking vast distances –far spaced out – in the desert of our national life.

For those seeking but an ideal environment conducive to creativity, conducive to nurturing talents, conducive to justice and fair play, protective of the weak; Nigeria is closed and remains closed until the earth has lost some of its deadly fertility and until the people learn to expect nothing where they sowed nothing.

For those who are morally bankrupt, who are ruthless and can do anything for money, those who are talented and have chosen to serve the devil with their talent; for those who can manipulate people and ride on the crest of the wave of others' misfortune – Nigeria holds out her hands.

When people say “The trouble with Nigeria is poor leadership”, I always retort – “what of poor followership!”

An average Nigerian suffers from schizophrenia:He laments when his leaders embezzle public funds but will be quick to demand the fulfillment of myriad obligations from this same set of leaders during festivities in the village,  during launching (of which there are several) etc, etc

He complains of poor leadership; yet where he can make a difference, he is just as impotent. He laments the vulgar extravagance of his leaders; but himself will not refrain from oppressing his neighbors when the slightest opportunity presents itself according to his capacity.

This oppression comes in various forms. It can be in form of spraying money during parties (for one whose capacity is up to that level).

Organizing lavish parties, burial ceremonies and the likes in an environment where people can barely feed; mind you, it does not matter if the money for the party is borrowed. And for the less privileged Nigerian, he oppresses still lesser human beings through unions which they use to extort money and-on and on it goes.

His grouse therefore is not with the ills perpetrated by his leaders per se; but the somber fact that life has been so unfair that it did not present him with the opportunity to do same.

The trouble with Nigeria simply put is Nigerians. Our leaders simply reflect our values, our strengths, our failings – like a mirror.

NB: This article is simply meant to inspire us to good deeds. Before castigating our leaders, we might have to be good exemplars at the little thing the almighty has placed in our care.

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