By Donu Kogbara
LAST month on this page, I bitterly complained about the way in which disdainful and ill-mannered Buhari Government officials sadistically take delight in crushing the nation’s collective spirit…, as in a) insulting our intelligence by gaslighting us (refusing to acknowledge their broken promises and multiple failures), and b) exacerbating the misery that they’ve inflicted on us by berating us if we dare complain about the misery that they’ve inflicted on us.
Many Vanguard readers got in touch to agree with me. One, a friend called Samson, said that the predicament of the average Nigerian reminded him of an experiment that scientists once conducted.
READ ALSODonu & Nigeria @ 60
Apparently, if you put a frog in cold water and gradually heat the water up, bit by bit over time, the frog will keep quietly adjusting to the increased temperature without realising that it is being gradually murdered. Then, one day, the frog will suddenly burst.
Whereas, if you heat water first before immersing the frog, it will instantly understand that it is in danger and jump out immediately.
Successive Nigerian governments have been training us, small-by-small since Independence, to bovinely accept the unacceptable.
We are stoically managing the water as it gets hotter and hotter.
One day, the water will finally reach boiling point and we will burst into smithereens, too mentally and physically weakened to escape from the heat or to even be aware that destruction is imminent.
Until then, we are doing our best to obediently acclimatize our personal ecosystems to each new heightened phase of discomfort.
A few brave activists regularly go public to protest about the way in which the temperature is being cranked up and to loudly say “hell, no!” to corruption, incompetence, etc. But the majority remains silent or restricts expressions of dissatisfaction to private fora.
Many Nigerians are even eager to slavishly kiss the rings and feet of selfish, thieving, inept fat cat oppressors in the corridors of power, which indicates that many Nigerians are deluded and suffering from Stockholm Syndrome (emotionally identifying with abusive captors).
Samson and I are activists of sorts because we at least openly rage against toxic authorities from time to time; but we are still victims in the sense that appalling leaders who are too forceful to be ditched have ground us down, psychologically, to the point where we are so exhausted and demoralised that though things are getting worse and worse with each passing day, we complain less and less.
Often, nowadays, Samson and I feel as if we and all citizens who yearn for change and justice have been completely defeated.
I recently quoted Mike Williams, a friend who used to be a pilot…and said that a country is like an aircraft and it doesn’t make sense to nitpick about the ethnic origins of presidents and governors because all that matters is the skill of the person who is flying a plane.
Maazi Chinedu Nzeribe (email@example.com), a Vanguard fan from Anambra, begged to differ and sent me the following email:
I just finished going through your write up on “the aircraft of state” and I just couldn’t help laughing.
Yeah, of course it’s a beautiful write up, as usual coming from you.
Of course, Mike Williams, who happens to be a patriotic Nigerian like myself, is/was right when he told you that he didn’t care less who took over from Barrister Nyesom Wike, the incumbent Rivers State Governor, as long as the individual in question was competent and principled.
Williams went further to tell you how leadership in Nigeria is like boarding a plane, that “if you are boarding a plane, do you care where the pilot come from? Must he be a pilot from your village or ethnic group? Or will you be more interested in the pilot’s credentials?”
Donu my senior sister, ordinarily Captain Mike’s position should be ideal and generally acceptable; but you and I know that things are not ideal in Nigeria. Of course the decision to board or not to board a plane should not be governed by the religion or ethnicity of the pilot; but Donu oooo, if you hear that a plane crashed last 2 weeks and that the pilot came from Adada State, 2 days later another plane crashed and you heard the pilot came from the same Adada state and that three days ago yet another plane crashed and the pilot, you discovered, came from Adada state and you are to travel tomorrow by air, Donu, I bet you , you will want to know where the pilot came from before deciding whether to board or not, no matter the level of competence or experience of the pilot.
That is where we are in Nigeria today.
On reflection, as you said, “every single ethnic group in Nigeria contains smart and decent people who fit the bill, which means that a fair rotation from one zone to another is still possible.”
But has the unwritten zoning arrangement been fair since 1999?
Let’s look at this our current democracy from 1999 to 2023 as it relates to zoning.
South West did eight years with Obasanjo as President. South West will soon complete another eight years with Prof Osinbajo as Vice President. Total =16 years for South West.
North did eight years with Atiku as Vice president, six years with Namadi Sambo as Vice president, eight years (God wiling) with Gen Buhari as President. Total =21 years for the North.
South South did three years with Jonathan as Vice President and five years with Jonathan as President. Total= 8 years.
South East. Total =0.
Sorry I had to lump the whole of North as one.
Feelers we are getting is that the South West wants to occupy Aso rock come 2023 and uncle ‘69’ year old Jagaban is the one championing this course without minding the fact that the South East has not tasted Aso rock since 1999.
All the South East have gained from these arrangements are consistent and persistent marginalization in addition to the worst form of insecurity and preventable killings; and that is why we insist on asking for the credentials of the pilot or pilots before deciding to board or not to board any political aircraft in Nigeria.
The impression that only one single ethnic group contains very smart and decent people who fit the bill, as being promoted by Mr PRESIDENT Buhari, is the more reason we want to know the credentials of our pilots before boarding any aircraft in Nigeria.
Captain Mike Williams is technically right but in reality, he is wrong.
We have learned a lot since 1999.