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January 26, 2024

Elite versus Masses, by Donu Kogbara

Don’t be deceived!

Donu Kogbara

Ex-Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State was recently quoted in various WhatsApp groups as making the following comments:

“Nigeria cannot break up because members of the elite are united in preserving their advantages over the masses irrespective of their differences of tribe and religion. Nigeria is too weak to break…

“…Who will break it? The ordinary person in Jigawa or the ordinary person in Sokoto or the ordinary person in Bayelsa? Is it the Igbo vulcaniser or the Yoruba woman selling kerosene by the roadside or the Okada man in Delta? They don’t have the capacity to unite because they are burdened by poverty. We have taken away from them their dignity, their self-esteem, their pride and self-worth so that they cannot even organise. Up there, we (the elite) unite . . . we will never allow Nigeria to break because once it breaks, we will lose. But the common man loses nothing. What is he losing? He is already in hell; he cannot lose anything more than this hell.” 

There is so much fake news around nowadays that one can never be sure that WhatsApp posts are authentic, especially when big names are being bandied about. 

But whether Lamido actually made the above comments or not, it is 100% true: a) that the Nigerian elite is horrifyingly predatory and has crushed the spirits of regular citizens! 

It’s also 100% true that the common man has nothing to lose because he is already in hell. And I totally agree with the anonymous person who added the following comments to Lamido’s alleged comments:

“Straight from the horse’s mouth! A candid admission that it is the elite who run Nigeria’s affairs and have kept the common man squalid, wretched and in hell, despite the nation’s enormous oil wealth. We see the ruling elite quarrelling and calling each other bad names-but it’s just a game intended to fool the public: in reality they are united in quietly sharing the money and delivering little or nothing to their various constituencies. They have a stake in keeping the country exactly as it is-weak and confused and easy to exploit… 

…Sule Lamido’s statement is a revelation; it is as if lightning suddenly flashed, pushing aside the darkness and revealing the entire landscape for one brief moment!” 

One wonders whether the masses will ever see this light in its entirety and act on it. If the heartless theft of funds from the Humanitarian Affairs Ministry – not just since Tinubu took over but also for eight years under Buhari – doesn’t move the penurious to rage against the toxicity of the avaricious elite, Lord knows what will.

Random thoughts

I spend far too much time on WhatsApp, bitterly arguing with friends about areas of disagreement, heartily endorsing the views of those with whom I agree and just generally sharing opinions, videos, articles, jokes, sad stories, educational information, etc. 

I thought I should share some of my recent comments with y’all: 

I am tired of hearing the ineffective chattering classes banging on about security, fuel subsidy, corruption, poverty, the economy, the judiciary, infrastructure, blah, blah, blah, etc, etc, etc.

 I am also tired of writing about these never-ending woes.

 After six decades of talking and churning out countless articles, what more is there to say about a country that is still struggling to provide itself with round-the-clock electricity in the 21st century?

 I have a copy of the Daily Times newspaper of October 1, 1960. And the thing that strikes me most is that then, as Independence from Britain dawned, we were so full of optimism and self-respect.

 When I look at how most of the Nigerians around me sound and feel now, I’m shocked by the stark difference between dazzling 1960 dreams and soul-destroying 2024 realities. Truly, the descent from Mount Olympus to the dark doldrums brings tears to my eyes.

 I must confess that I’m really really really really really really really really really tired of the constant complaining and theorising in which Nigerians indulge. We are always being told what is wrong with this country and what will or will not solve multiple chronic problems. 

But our leaders never do anything beyond superficially tinkering with the system. There is no commitment to a no-bullshit, root and branch cleansing of the Augean stables. 

To a friend who compared us with the British and has annoyed me by insisting on defending successive Naija governments, I expressed the view that we and Whites are different species and added the following observation to explain my decision to stop arguing with him.  

Facts appear to be in the eyes of the beholder; and you’ll waste a lot of precious time and tie yourself up in endless knots if you keep trying to explain yourself to folks who have a totally divergent worldview. 

Narratives we regard as obvious truths, intelligent observations and objective commentary will be dismissed by others as lies, distortions, media hype, lack of patriotism and zero support for great, adequate or honestly striving governments. 

I saw thugs I think should have been shot storming the Capitol in Washington in January 2020.

Some saw Trumpian heroes trying to reclaim a stolen American election mandate. 

Some even find a way of exonerating politicians when others are blaming them for security crises like the kidnap epidemic in Abuja. 

Long story short, there are different types of human being who see life through different types of lenses for different reasons; and we cannot all be on the same page. 

So I have decided to be philosophical and keep remembering that  east is east and west is west and never the twain shall meet. 

It is possible to be friends with people without discussing burning issues with them. If they see white when you see black and vice versa, it’s easier to let them believe what they want to believe.

PLEASE CHECK OUT MY PODCAST SERIES. TITLED AFRICA NOW! IT CAN BE FOUND ON APPLE OR SPOTIFY AND IS ENTERTAINING AS WELL AS SERIOUS.

RESPONSES TO  donzol2002@yahoo.co.uk  

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