INSIDE NIGERIA: Nigerian Revolution Unripe

Posted: July 12, 2013 in Articles, INSIDE NIGERIA
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

by Okoye Chukwudi Charles Ezeamalukwuo

When people are sad, they do nothing but complain
But when they are angry, they effect change

Malcolm X

In 2011, some of my friends had a problem with our academic adviser, a man well known for his rigidity. As a result of this problem, they all had an F in his course (a final year course for that matter) and were potentially facing an extra semester. During this trying period, I had a chat with one of them, a female friend. In that chat, we discussed the Nigerian academic decadence and many other problems besieging the nation. She lamented on her own poor state of affair, and I in trying to console a beautiful girl, told her that Nigeria’s situation will soon be better and that a messiah will soon come to deliver Nigeria from its abyss. To my greatest surprise, the lady quickly rejected my consolation and in turn told me that she prays that Nigeria doesn’t get better soon because she “in her own words”is yet to “chop” her own share of the National cake.” Her own cake while the community starve.

The Nigerian situation and indeed most of sub-saharan Africa is very different from the rest of the world. Factors that facilitate revolution in many countries will hardly make it pass the NTA 9 pm news. The Nigerian populace are sad, yes very sad, and are complaining bitterly, Alas! Many inhibitors exist to prevent them from reaching the activation energy required for them to make serious change.

First of these inhibitors is the “Divide and Rule mechanism” which has effectively (and I pray that it has not permanently) demarcated the Nation into “the Them and the Us”, “the Christians and the Muslims”, “The North and the South”, yet none of these divides bear the title of “The Good and the Bad” or “The Corrupt and the Incorruptible.” Hence the masses are continually being manipulated to maintain the status quo. As an Easterner (an igbo man to be precise) I have heard and still hear people complaining about the nation and saying that it is better Nigeria divides so that every tribe will know where it stands, as if the South eastern woes are a conspiracy completely orchestrated by the North. As if in the 14 years of democracy, the Igbos have not been the governors and controllers of the five Igbo states of the federation. We are quick to forget that the leaders from our part of the divide are major beneficiaries in the looting of the nation and thus we quickly point fingers to people from other divide and are easily summon to pick up arms, to maim and to kill each other while the corrupt leaders sit in their negotiating tables with a bottle of very expensive wine in hand and our finest of women in arm, and decide our fate and that of our resources.
The same must be said of the Niger Deltans. They are being marginalised, yes but not just by other nigerians alone but also by themselves. River state is one of the most expensive state in the federation, so is Bayelsa and I do not know why. A lot of folks there are poor. Their schools are almost devoid of teachers, and have now turned to special centres for both JAMB, WAEC and GCE malpractices. As for the North, hmmm…I don’t even know how they can dream of blaming anyone beside their leaders.
We can never get it right till we stop looking outside for the causes of our problems, and start looking inwards, and start demanding that our brothers heading various institutions and departments in the nation contribute their fair share before we go out and demand the same of others. We should stop being tools in the hands of our leaders, and learn not to be moved by their constant cries of “it’s our turn”, because that “our turn” always means that of the leader and his immediate friends and family only. We should also understand that before our religious status, our tribal origins, our regional affiliation etc we are first and foremost Nigerians.

Furthermore, the availability of apparent escapes from our problems has helped to inhibit our responses to catastrophic stimuli. Apparent, because they are not really solutions or real escapes but a very strong pain-reliever. An opium to make us happy and forget.
Religion is the opium of the masses says Karl Marx, and in Nigeria this quote is being proved right over and over again. I remember an incident with my cousin. This incident happened in what I like to call the period of “Kidnapping for Rituals” (in Nigeria we have periods, we are currently in Boko-haram/Kidnapping for Ransom period). My cousin was a notorious womaniser, who also hardly went to church, yet at the peak of this period, he abandoned his lifestyle and became a born again christian. Hoping, I must say, that his newly found faith will protect him from kidnappers. This very funny idea is very much rampant in Nigeria today. Infact, I am beginning to believe that most Kidnap for Ritual stories are been fermented by pastors to keep their congregation fear-stricken and in line.
This is very pathetic, instead of the masses to rise up in the face of insecurity and demand that our security operatives be better equipped and compensated in order to do their jobs accordingly, they chose to rise up in one resounding Amen. As if Jesus, or Allah will come down from heaven to fix our self-induced problems.
Many pray each day that God will send a messiah to save us from ourselves, and I have asked if this messiah is immune to good living, to beautiful women/men, to bullets, to premature death? Is the messiah going to be a foreigner, or is he/she going to be without feelings, without desires, without family to worry about their safety from enemies? I just can’t help asking why the messiah can not be one of us that are praying, or at most all of us…where is my rosary, let’s keep praying.

The availability of commodities to help make us relax and forget our sorry state is dangerously epileptic. PHCN is a joke but who cares, -only the man without generator or money to fuel it. Last year’s Fuel Subsidy march is a memory that should haunt us and make us understand that we have got our priorities wrong. Kerosene subsidy was removed and no one blinked. Who uses kerosene, -the poor voiceless man. Fuel subsidy was removed, everyone noticed, including the rich, hence the poor came out and protested or so we were told. For what I saw were opportunists taking advantage of the situation to showcase themselves. I wonder what might happen if generators only come in very expensive Milcano Models, maybe we will finally protest the poor state of power generation in the nation.
The same could be said of our water supply system, where richer individuals have become water providers and now sell this uncertified-sometimes taste-laden water to the poorer ones at a small fee. Thank God for drilling technology, else we all would have dug wells or rechannel the River Niger to our vicinity…or better still protest.
These and many escapes have fixed us permanently in this pathetic situation, that we now feel so comfortable in the most uncomfortable of situations…while we pray, start our generators, inhale the poisonous gases and drink our uncertified-sometimes taste-laden borehole water.

In addition to our inhibitors is our chronic amnesia, we tend to forget a lot. Men who rode on us and our dreams in the past are today called elder statesmen or heroes. We have no sense of history, and hence are prone to repeat the same mistakes over again. Our corrupt leaders know this, so they loot us indiscriminately and when they fell out of favour, they quickly decamp to the vocal opposition, and we will help them to secure a comeback. All Progressive Congress (APC) party is a perfect icon of our collective amnesia. It is this amnesia that have made some people to idolise the corrupt leaders of the first republic. It is this very amnesia that has granted men like IBB, Atiku, Buhari (who disposed a civilian government), Oji Uzor Kalu, Ngige (who rigged himself into office), Tinubu, Asari Dokubo a chance at power. Even the great Ojukwu, a man who fought for the dissolution of Nigeria had a shot at leading a unified Nigeria (his is funny because it was evident from the start that only the igbos would vote for him).
Our poor retentive memory has been our undoing, because if we were to remember each and every wrong done to us like it is obtainable in civilised countries, those corrupt leaders will be more discreet in looting us blind…but they know we will forgive and forget, how christian of us.

The last and not the least is our selfishness/our ever present hope that magic (not miracles) can happen. The selfishness of man is very much epitomised by the average and ever complaining Nigerian. Nigeria is the way it is because our leaders are utterly self-centred and majority of the masses think of nothing else but their well-being and that of their immediate family (and are very very myopic at that). Hence, we are all too ready to destroy any and everything we come in contact with, just so we can be comfortable.
The Nigerian political system is like this because every man, every tribe, every region, every religion is thinking only of their own and their share and never about Nigeria. The Nigerian Educational system is like this because the government does not care, their children are not here, the staffs/ASUU/ASUP/NUT/NUC et al care only for their salaries (that is why they can afford to go on strike anytime they so desire with no regard to the students whose academic progression are been disrupted), the parents (who are in a position to know better and act to protect their wards and children) do not care except the fact that their children are graduates.
I remember during Mbadinuju’s tenure as governor of Anambra state, that there was a riot involving secondary school students of the state opposing the increment in school fees. A senior member of my family told me how happy she was that students are rioting but that under no circumstance should I be a part of the riot. Hmmm..other’s children are cut out to protest for my cause, while I, the privileged child will be safe at home…I stayed at home though.

Our callousness is very alarming, and bordering on insanity. Nigerians hardly care as long as they are not the only ones suffering. You can easily hear people telling you or someone else to be calm, that you are not the only one affected, as if that will magically lessen the magnitude of the problem.
Further more, our hope is infinite. An okadaman who lives in one room with his wife will go on bearing children like dogs, hoping that magically one of them will one day succeed, forgetting that if this fairytale is to become true, it will be true with a considerable scars and suffering on the child, and that the child will end up shouldering the responsibility of an enormous and demanding extended family. This is sad, but it is happening today.
People are been affected by the state of the nation but instead of speaking up, they sit back and hope that the cause will go away with time. Hope upon hope…or will I say faith, blind faith. Faith without good work is dead wrote Saint James. Hope without a corresponding work to show for it…Pathetic. I don’t know if I should call us cowards, for a typical average Nigerian is quick to condemn and complain, yet slow to contribute to the improvement of the situation..

These inhibitors and more have made the idea of a real and honest Revolution in Nigeria anything but realistic. Infact, Revolution in Nigeria with the current status quo is not only near impossible but also dangerous and unpredictable, for nigerians do not know who their real enemies are. Some have argued that the first military coup in Nigeria, by Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu was to rid the first republic of the cancer of nepotism and ten-pencenter and many other vices (vices that appear negligible by today’s standards). We know how that revolution ended up, a bloody civil war and pogrom on the Igbos who are related to Nzeogwu in nothing else but tribe. Infact, any man that dares challenge the present status quo may not only risk similar fate for himself but also for his tribesmen, because we all are tribalist by default.
Until we start purging ourselves of our tribal affiliation, our religious sentiments an co, until we start apportioning blames to ourselves and not just to the other guy, until we leave the heavens to worry about the heavens, and let earthly beings manage the affairs of earth, in other words, until we lessen our spiritual fervour and know that heaven helps only those who help themselves, until we start to understand that a Tiger generator is not the same as Kainji dam generator and that borehole water can cause dyrrheria, until we stop being selfish and stop complaining and start contributing, until we see ourselves, -north, south, east, west, christians, muslims et al as Nigerians, until then Nigerian Revolution is still very much unripe.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not really represent those of Lyriversity.

Lyriversity — Liberty of Creativity

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Comments
  1. oldest says:

    I was just saying exactly these things to a fellow I met in a bus on tuesday. We can’t have a revolution in Nigeria because an average Nigerian still has a degree of comfort, and is also corrupt…yes I am, and so are you.
    N.B Good piece, but needs an improved editting.

  2. Chime221 says:

    What else can i say? This is anatomical of the NIGERIAN SITUATION. You’ve said it all my good man. Revolution is a far-fetched agenda. To think of thinking it is suicidal. I’ll tweet this immediately. How i wish everybody in this country can read this.

  3. Mr. Solar, a day will come when all these your inhibitors will count as nothing, and that dreaded revolution will breath fresh air in this clime called Nigeria. Just watch, wait and see, cos it will come like the biblical thief in the night (unless the ever nosediving negative governance trend we are currently witnessing now is thwarted for good)

  4. Chimezie Chika says:

    Gbam! You hit the nail on the head. It is sad, the Nigerian situation. Sometimes one is so suffocated by it that it is just better to get a breath of fresh air elsewhere. That’s when migration starts. Brain drain, essentially!

  5. EOD says:

    This essay could do with a redraft. That said, I’m in agreement with most of your points, however crudely put. But. your proposed solutions are quixotic, really. Religion, especially, isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

  6. Moses opara says:

    Revolution

  7. Chidiebere U. Udeagbala says:

    hahahahahaha. I am laughing. I thought i’m the only one with that opinion. My sister, a political scientist, will always riddle me with ricochets of reasons why Nigeria will revolt. I agree. We need revolution. But i ask her a single question, revolution against who?

    Hahaahhaa, i laugh again when i use Anambra State, Nigeria, as a case study. I won’t go into details but every lettered individual will appreciate the complexity of the Nigerian scenario and impossibilty of revolution in this country especially now. Revolution……against who precisely? Most of the actors in this grand movie called Nigeria are ‘faceless’. The ones we know are untouchable, and protected even by those who should start the revolution; why? Cos they desperately want crumbs from their table (i won’t blame them, the situation (poverty, the almighty tool used to subdue) is dire.

    Every nation deserves the type of leaders it gets.

    This write up is all encompassing, and i hope……disseminated through every available channel for all and sundry who care to read…..to read. Awarness is the first step anyways.

    Revolution will come, but not with this generation that came dead on arrival.

    In the meanwhile, change in perception, integrity of character is of paramount importance if we must effect any meaningful change at all. I always opine, it begins with you.

  8. christian says:

    We have a long way to go and the solution to our problem is complex so I’m speechless but I know only simple things will solve our issues

  9. Yisarick says:

    All have been said. U have just analyze Nigeria situation with a scientific and philosophical mind. I prayed the inhibitors be inhibited that’s if Nigerians can trigger the inhibition process using co-enzymes.

  10. chetachi says:

    so many situations dat wuld hv given rise to dis revolution bt d question is who is ready to put out his/her head to lead it.God blessd us in dis country wit d ability to absorb anytin.so revolution in dis country i dnt c it happenin.

  11. Sheyzznote says:

    God help Nigeria! But I am always optimistic

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