By Tabia Princewill
Believing in Nigeria comes at a terrible cost to one’s sanity. Everywhere one turns one sees injustice, chaos, wrong glorified as right and one wonders, is this it? Is this the best we can do as a country? The best people hardly get the job in Nigeria, which is why our national fortunes have been so poor.
We rationalise mediocrity calling it zoning or federal character, all in the name of sectional interests which represent narrow, elite segments of the country as opposed to the masses they claim to be agitating for. Anyone with an iota of intelligence can only but be frustrated by Nigeria, a country where common sense is turned upside down to excuse and facilitate looting (that’s all it’s ever really about when senseless arguments come into play). Nigerians are fed up with a country where nothing ever seems to go right.
I’m exhausted, often just about when I decide to write, and I need to seriously think about something new to say which doesn’t feel like rehashing the same old issues which have been with us since 1960. Nigerians are Olympic gold medallists when it comes to analysing a problem and equally as talented when it comes to supporting and excusing the perpetrators of the said problem.
There is hardly anything new in Nigeria. The faces in power might change, the looted sums definitely escalate but none of the underlying issues which have plagued our development ever seem to be solved.
The indignities the common man or his middle-class counterpart suffers continues, seemingly endless and outrageous in their repetitiveness. Scandal after scandal, Nigerians are desensitised to injustice and gradually learn to divorce the hideousness of corruption from their own personal suffering, pretending to themselves that there isn’t a direct correlation between graft, a poor economy, bad health care, schools and others, all in hopes of one day either gaining access to someone with power or attaining power itself.
Here is a nation where would-be intelligent people, analysts of all sorts, give the nonsensical, divisive, dangerous ideas and excuses of forgers, paedophiles and thieves the same weight as opposing ideas in favour of truth and justice.
Nigeria can make anyone go mad: every excess and villainy is justifiable if one is able to pay for redemption. Virtually every street corner, every household, every office in this country is full of fraud, to the point that some people no longer recognise it as such. When does it end? When do sane people take control again? When do they get to live their lives with the same comfort as the monsters who have destroyed this country? Who will protest for them?
Baba what is going on? I remember the excitement when President Buhari won the election in 2015. For many of us who keep daring, against all odds, enduring mockery and shame every time we are proven wrong or disappointed by our heroes, we dared to believe that 2015 would usher in something new. Loving Nigeria is like crying into the darkness, asking God to show himself and praying to feel something comforting. There are so many questions about this Presidency which remain unanswered, namely, how a cabal could have allegedly taken over the man who “belongs to everyone and to no one”. Or are we to believe that phrase applied only to influencers in the South-West?
I am totally against parochialism, ethnic bigotry or singling any one group as more capable, but of all the “cabals” to possibly take over, Nigerians might have preferred it if the group rumoured to influence the Presidency had any experience in public policy or running a state to begin with.
What was so dangerous about Bola Tinubu, what is so dangerous, now, about Yemi Osinbajo if not again, the propensity to put ethno-religious fears, preferences and rivalries above the national good?
What happened to the Buhari idea? Very powerful forces are fighting back, Nigerians expected this but what they didn’t expect was that those employed by their President to fight the rot would fight each other instead.
Nigeria needs a strong leader. Not a military dictator but a man (or woman) of character. Baba, no one has abandoned you. But somehow, you must give Nigerians the strength to keep believing that change is possible in this country and moreover, the strength to keep going against the grain.
“Will you be the mouse, the fox, or the tiger?” says an Arab proverb. It is time for the President to decide.