By Debbie Olujobi
Exasperation is at best the word that comes to mind when I am faced with ineptitude; especially amongst leaders who lack the ability to lead. I will freely admit that patience as a virtue is something I am lacking, that all the self help books and psychoanalysis have achieved is just rage control and and a leash on my sometimes acerbic tongue.
I have not acquired or been blessed with the gift of patience, as a fruit of the spirit I am working on achieving the dual goal of patience and long suffering and if I were to grade myself I would probably at most score a D+. The greatest lesson I have learnt is to make allowance for other people’s insights and opinions; not doing so is just plain stupid as we all have wisdom even in our very foolishness! I would dare say my greatest strength is my intuitiveness and lightning fast mental and physical responses.
That intuition is warning me of a rumbling that transcends even the physical unto the spiritual and it concerns us all. We are all seating on a powder keg of resentment and what emerges will either make or break us. The sea of resentment is fuelled by a legacy of ineptitude that has made us a joke among the nations, as we watch while innocent blood is shed, and a succession of governments plunder all of our resources.
By now you all must be wondering what is behind the obvious angst I am not hiding very well and you can rightly guess it has to do with the state of the nation.
At this point I can say without being partisan that it doesn’t look good for us all. While I am not a fan of the government of the day, I am even less a fan of all the politicking, name calling and accusations being bantered much like the dance of the macabre! I seem to be living in a time warp, my children are about to have the same course in social studies I did over 3 decades ago as one of the major contestants was Head of state back then. Is that a turn off for me? No, not really, all I want is the actualisation of the great nation that Nigeria ought to be.
I actually find it offensive that religion has become an issue in Nigerian politics so I wont even descend to the level of religious bigotry. What offends me is the assumption that the Nigerian populace is so daft we don’t deserve to be convinced of the intentions of all those vying for public office.
Career politicians in my view are a public menace and I would hope contestants would be able to show us something they did successfully before throwing their cap in the ring. What on earth qualifies you to lead a country if you have not led your household, or even business successfully? I would actually take a man of zero popularity and modest means over most of our celebrity politicians! What Nigeria needs now are men with a conscience, that certainly cancels out all the buccaneers in the senate and the house of reps!
How does one equate a conscience with elected representatives whose allowances in a 3rd world country are more than the American president’s? About 5 years ago, I had an eye opening conversation with a member of our political elite and his views on Nigeria as a nation is actually sobering. I affirmed that Nigeria was a failed state given terrorism and the general lack of infrastructure and he disagreed, he felt we had to wait till we became a pariah state like Somalia, with open wars and loss of territories, where even education was impossible and people ate off dunghills before we could qualify to be called a pariah state.
I remember that conversation 5 years on and we have over qualified for that inglorious status. We have an open war/insurgence that has cost Nigeria some states, the Chibok girls are a graphic illustration of the of the impossibility of education in parts of the country, the ongoing insurgence has created refugee camps in neighbouring camps where Nigerians do eat off the dunghills!!
Given the insecurity of the nation I wasn’t initially convinced that this was the time for an election. I was born in Lagos to parents of Yoruba origin but that pales insignificance to my place as a Nigerian. I love this country, I like my Nigerianess!! I once walked into a store in Johannesburg and was a bit surprised when the manager took one look at me and said “Nigerian!” I hadn’t even spoken a word so it couldn’t have been my accent.
I was in the city for a few weeks and it happened on a daily basis, I found out why when I had confronted a medical personnel in the hospital that was treating a family member ( it was a medical evacuation). When I demanded premium service for the more than premium fees we were paying; I was stunned to hear the venom and resentment reserved for Nigerians. The typical South African finds Nigerians, cocky, too exuberant, over confident and a show off. They think we talk too much,spend too much and are loud and overbearing. Are they wrong? No, not at all.
The typical Nigerian is very confident, we tend to be loud, we are exuberant and when we have the money, we love to spend it. I am a typical Nigerian and who and what I am is a special breed, I walk like I own the world and who is to say I don’t? Its a very confident way to live and from the palm wine tapper to the stockbroker, we are the same; I am not willing to lose a square foot of Nigeria to religion or politics.
For all of our confidence and intelligence we have been foolish in our choice of leaders. We disappointed Mandela, we have disappointed our ancestors and we have disappointed ourselves but no more. We were greatness aborted by failure of leadership but no more! Change is coming but it’s in an even greater dimension than the politicians are thinking, very soon those raping the nation will find themselves at the people’s mercy. You see, lately Nigerians have decided to take back Nigeria and the old time politicians don’t represent us!
It’s not too much to ask that politicians defend their policies and give reasonable and precise manifestoes! If you want to give us uninterrupted electricity, please tell us how and when, then sign that you be thrown out if you fail! I have been careful not to disclose my political persuasion as I don’t want to sway anyone. A New Nigeria will emerge and it is emerging, none of the present players will play a part and it will be because of the conscious effort of Nigerians, it will rise like a phoenix from the ashes of failed and corrupt politicians. They all should be afraid, most Nigerians are armed and dangerous, they cary a PVC card and it will bring change.