INSIDE NIGERIA: A House for Many but Home for Few

Posted: January 26, 2014 in Articles, INSIDE NIGERIA

by Okoye Chukwudi Charles Ezeamalukwuo

Wearing fragrance of myrrh
Sits Decay herself before her broken mirror
Powdering her putrid face

Sheep, goats, rams, sacrificial
We wait at her feet.
Pastors, Politicians, Princes, the poor
Silently awaiting the rot to eat us away

—The Music of the Flute

Have you seen a brothel; a building that houses whores and welcomes man of equal standard? A distinct building in an obscured part of town, with this defined flavour and feeling of decay. A fun house where a man can go to alleviate his stress, the tension within…and once relieved the man must hurriedly leave, in hidden steps and covered face, avoiding as many eyes as possible. Yes a Brothel, -a house for many but home for few…Nigeria sometimes reminds me of a Brothel.

Growing up in the lands of the Niger, running around the finger-like distributaries of its delta, I have stumbled upon these unproven facts-

“Nigeria is a country flowing with milk and honey, blessed with so many mineral resources, with crude oil, with tin, with columbite, with groundnut, with bushmeat etc”

“Nigeria is the giant of Africa, the most populous black country in the world, blessed with diverse cultures and traditions, and with vast human resources.”

“Nigeria is the most religious nation in the world, filled with so many anointed men of God, with virtuous pastors, saintly imans, upright traditionalists, a country filled with people who pray more than they work.”

All these are stories that every Nigerian must have heard, read or seen one time or the other on the Church Pulpit, the Local Newspaper Stand, NTA network news etc,

But the Truth is that Nigeria is a country disloyal to its citizens. A country whose citizens are working hard to escape from. A country where rich pregnant women are daily departing from. A country where sick well-to-do people are being flown away from. A country where intelligent youths are shipped out from. Nigeria is a country that houses many but where few calls home.

It is a fact that Nigeria is the giant of Africa only on paper, the average nigerian still feels like a dwarf when compared to his South African brother, or to a comrade from any nation in North Africa. Nigerians have spent more than 40 years (53 years and counting) wandering the wilderness in search of the promised land, in search of milk and honey and still our religious fathers and folks are farther away from God than were the Babylonians.

Some had argued (and still do argue) that most of our problems are from our leaders. This I do agree with, but I also believe that our leaders are part and parcel of us. Our leaders are a reflection of the collective citizenry. The collective manifestation of the people. As we reason and act, so do our leaders reason and act towards us and our commonwealth.

The leadership position of Nigeria has always been marred with Nepotism and Tribalism, a case of “which tribe are you from” rather than “what can you offer”. The masses keep crying for a messiah but with a clause attached; “the messiah must be from our side or he rather not come.” Hence the present status quo.

The Nigeria society is a society that is skewed against itself. A society that kills the dreams of its members. A society that has neither respect for its own laws nor for the lives of its members. Ours is a society that worships wealth not minding where it comes from, while showing contempt for honesty and hardwork…intelligence and talent are shunned while corruption and violence are faithfully embraced…and we all are to be blamed for this.

Yes we all are the architects of our own misfortunes. We all are ardent contributors to the very cancer that is eating deep into the consciousness of our dear nation.
We sit down and blame the police for their callousness in safeguarding lives and properties but we forget to ask how they are recruited and trained, how much they are paid, whether they are psychologically evaluated, and how they must feel not having housing, vehicle, medical and educational insurance/allowance for themselves and their family.
We sit down and complain about our educational system but have made no effort to encourage the bright students in our school, in our street or in our church. We don’t even know who came first in JAMB last year or where he schools. We don’t care if our schools have the required equipment, all we want is to do quick and graduate. And those of us who teach or have taught (NYSC and co) do so with such callousness, that is far more harmful than helpful.
We complain about being snubbed for promotion, or for recognition..yet we are biased towards others, we are quick to criticise, to condemn, to castigate others…we are but First Class Fault-Finders.
We write and then we complain that Nigerians don’t read but we have seen a lot of Nigerian books, internet writeups, blogs, and overlooked them…or when we do read them (internet writeups), we always fail to encourage good writeups or send a feedback..and we expect writing to magical grow.
We keep patronising pirated books, songs and works and expect that ours will be miraculously spared…please.
We give out bribe when it suits us and jump queues at will. And we believe that being crooked is the same as being astute…hence we prefer to work (dishonestly) smart than to work (honestly) hard.

Nigeria is a country with so many underdeveloped sectors. A country with so many unfilled jobs but with no vacancy, because one man is doing the job of ten men. A house-building-contractor is the architect, the geologist, the civil engineer, the urban development planner etc. The driver is also the conductor, and pastors are now doctors and psychologists. Printers are now editors, cover page designers and publishers. People go to school but afterwards can’t find a job because someone who isn’t qualified is doing their jobs. I wonder what this world would look like if Shell and all the other IOCs were owned by Nigerians…definitely the world economy would have crashed a thousand times over. Baker Huges, Slumberger, Haliburton and co would have all gone under by now because there would be no outsourcing allowed, everything will be done by the parent company. And the pay will surely be very very low.

Today, a lot of Nigerians are busy looking for a way to escape this prison that we have worked so hard to fortify. A lot of Nigerians are braving the desert heat, the atlantic storm and so many other things unimaginable just to leave this place. We have become the demons and Nigeria the hell. Yes we are now demons, and this is very evident in the way we treat one another, in the salary we pay those working under us…$1000 (N170,000) or less for bankers who work more than 260 hours a month, this is slavery. $100 (N17000) or less for janitors, waiters and sales girls who work for 3000 hours per month. Zero pay for househelps who live, breathe and sleep everytime working for the madam of the house, and is still expected to be grateful to the madam for the pseudo-kindness.

It is now a norm, a tradition, a part of our culture. We grow up seeing injustice as normal. We walk about believing that politics which is the act of influencing or organised control of people is a dirty game. We wake up each day to the horrific news of Boko Haram attacks and we hardly blink, we hold no memorial, no national day of mourning, no protest…human life for us have become worth less than Basket Mouth Jokes.

I believe that there is something intrinsically wrong, mentally disfunctional, and behaviourally faulty with the average Nigerian. I believe that we Nigerians need a mental revolution. I believe that there is a need for a catastrophic change in the psyche of the Nigerian society. We are a people chained by our mental incapability to dream, to think, to appreciate life. We are stuck in the past where suffering is seen as a regalia of pride, and we can never get it right until you and I start changing the way we reason, the way we do things. We can never be the giant of west africa, talk of Africa until you and I start becoming civilised Nigerians.
Individually, changing the society seems far fetch, but we should never fail to try…and try we must.

May God help us.

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

Lyriversity — Liberty of Creativity

  1. christian says:

    A wonderful write up,I hope you have patented this work because I’m taking it to the politicians on my twitter handle.

    Please keep writing its your calling and the sky is your starting point

  2. Dowell Oba says:

    I totally agree that us Nigerians need re-orientation in the way we think. And you’re no doubt doing a good job educating to that regard. But your views do need a larger audience, say via Vanguard or the Guardian for instance. Please do try them out. They’ll definitely give you a column. My Professor Tony Afejuku has a column in Vanguard for his brave views that re-write the wrongs in our country which he calls “thought terrorism.” You can send some of these your wonderful fresh articles to their email.

  3. Moses opara says:

    We shall never relent in doing our best to affect lives in our society. Even though we can’t change all.

  4. Chidiebere U. Udeagbala says:

    where can i leave an opinion? Here? Yes. If you get this, alert me, as i am not sure if this message went across.

    A beautiful observation. But in summary, ”A nation gets the type of leaders it deserves”

    I urge writers, analysts, content developers to cast the beam away from the LEADERSHIP once and beam the searchlight on the FOLLOWERSHIP of the country.

    We deserve what is happening because we let it happen. Nigeria is one country that doesn’t obey the laws of nature.

    Push a Nigerian to the wall, he won’t react, rather, he will bore a hole inside the wall and escape, probably into a greater contempt and misery. Albeit, sometime, into affluence.

    We have education. We have quality education. The average Nigerian is not educated, qualitatively. For if we are, we wouldn’t be in this state.

    Who are the leaders? How many are they? Are they not still part of us?

    I like your write up. Keep it up. Keep sensitizing in your own little way.

    I summarise that given the Nigerian condition, Good followership is the only thing that can make good leadership.
    Chidi Ugo Chiugo.

    • Ezeamalukwuo says:

      You get my point very well…we should overlook the leadership of this country for once, and focus on we the followers. It is us that do 90% of all the wrongs in Nigeria. It is still us that will produce the leaders come tommorow. We need to change ourselves before we can change anybody

  5. echebi says:

    This is a passionate,heart-felt and a thought-through write up. You have found a way to literally put down what most Nigerians know but can not put into words. A question though, how do we go about this psycho-social revolution cum re-orientation?

    • Ezeamalukwuo says:

      By doing what is right…I believe that any mentally sound adult in Nigeria knows to a large extent what the difference is between right and wrong.

  6. 6gozi says:

    Nigeria needs God.

  7. Nigeria we hail thee,we can mak it a home wen we ve a paradigm piece solar

  8. When emotions meet reality, the truths are said forcefully, without mincing words.
    I feel the torch and touch of your arousal article.
    Yes we all need a change, but who would start the change first?
    Is it you and I, who would be so quick to relish in and invoke our rather spurrous self-righteousness to bear (mostly before people who may see us BETTER NIGERIANS).
    We need to start seeing ourselves as no better beings than our pig-dirty leaders. We all are dirty, and thus need a thorough self-bathe (pastors and necromancers are not needed in this).

    Lastly, I join Dowell Oba to opine that you take this to a wider audience via a column on a national daily.

  9. Anene Francis says:

    I feel your pain bro. Situation of things that should move us to lament, yet we are less concerned. A lot of wrongs in the Nigerian society you discussed here. Much of them revolve around the patriotism issue you discussed in your earlier article. This article will surely ginger me and us all to rise to our responsibility to ourselves and the society for its betterment.
    * This “everyone on your own’ or ‘ severe survival of the fittest ” mentality will take us no way. If the government is failing in its duty of making us walk orderly, can’t we as Individuals do so without being compelled to? The progress may be slow, but we will getting there
    (Note: My beloved country is not that terrible o)

    What you termed as unproven facts are actually facts with some subjective statements attached.
    >Nigerian is richly blessed. The milk and honey is here and flowing, but whether it is reaching every Nigerians is most likely no.
    >“Nigeria is the most populous black nation…” is a fact. As to whether Nigeria is the giant of Africa, I will say it depends. Nigeria is not a giant. but a gaint in relation to other African countries. That status we are losing fast but we still are.
    >“Nigeria is the most religious nation in the world” is a fact as far as I know. As to the other statements to it, well your opinion sha.

    That part you said many persons overlook write ups, or read them without commenting, got me smiling. I was imagining the extra frown on your face when you wrote that part lol.

    Beautiful write up. Conscience pricking, instructive and encouraging. Keep it up. I agree with Dowell. This article and its likes need a larger audience.

    • Ezeamalukwuo says:

      Mr Anene, the analyst specialist…yes, this is a matter that should really seriously trouble us but nay, we are already aclamatized to the suitation. And yes, the part of not reading or reading without commenting got me all worked up, I really was wearing an extra 50Kobo
      Thanks for the analysis, you really are very good at know.

  10. Anyanya says:

    You make candid observations! We need necessary reorientation. Yes, I, then you! Thanks for the prompt.

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