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Some Nigerians And There Mentality by hrmhercules(m): 8:22am On Nov 03, 2013
Written by: Pius Adesanmi
In recent lectures, interviews, and
essays, I have suggested
consistently that our struggle for
Nigeria has shifted to the
psychology of the Nigerian. I have
claimed that even more than
corruption, the psychology of the
Nigerian is Nigeria’s deadliest
enemy. Rewire that wrongly-
wired psychology and all other
things shall be added. What I have
thus far failed to address in this
line of thinking is the role of
location in the actuations of this
wrong psychological wiring.
While not justifying or excusing
manifestations of wrong
psychological wiring in a large
number of Nigerians based at
home, I daresay it is largely
understandable. If he is fifty
years old and below and has
never left the shores of Nigeria,
no matter how educated,
cosmopolitan, urbane, polished,
and refined he is, you must
remember that he has never ever
experienced responsible and
accountable governance for one
second of his life. He has never
experienced the humility and
ordinariness of power.
He has never experienced
anything outside of the
arrogance, rudeness, corruption,
crudeness, and utter stupidity of
Nigerian government officials. He
has never experienced anything
other than the unbridled
irresponsibilit y of power in
Nigeria. He is not in possession of
any alternative realities and
experiences that would make him
know that it is wrong for soldiers
and mobile police men to
dehumanize and whip him off
roads built with his tax money
just because Goodluck or Patience
Jonathan is coming to town.
When he sees pictures of David
Cameron riding the London tube
or of the Canadian Prime Minister
quietly waiting in a queue behind
ordinary civilians for his own
coffee, he thinks there is
something stage-managed about
all that for he has never seen even
a mere local government
chairman wait for his turn behind
ordinary Nigerians. When he
hears that some world leaders
have no official planes, travel light,
and stay in average hotels to cut
costs and save money for their
countries, he marvels for the only
world he knows is one in which
irresponsible government officials
commute in private jets or
helicopters, ride only bulletproof
jeeps and limos, stay in the
world’s most expensive hotels,
ordering caviar and choice
champagne like there is no
tomorrow. He does not know that
this is crass, galling impunity; that
these bacchanalian boys and girls
in government in Abuja have no
right to do any of these things on
the public dime. How could he
possibly know?
I could go on and on. You’ll be
amazed at the things that this
ordinary and well-meaning
Nigerian does not know simply
because he has never
experienced responsible and
accountable governance in a
genuinely democratic setting and
is therefore unable to project
mentally into a universe of
different realities. When I wrote
about Colonel Texas Chukwu, the
idiot who stormed the Guardian’s
office in Jos with his men to
arrest a civilian for publishing a
story he did not like, I was
surprised by the large number of
emails I received from ordinary
Nigerians all over the country.
They were thanking me for that
piece of civic education. They
simply did not know and had
never imagined that soldiers have
no powers of arrest in a
democracy. They can be forgiven.
Considering Nigeria’s terrible
postcolonial romance with
impunity, how is a Nigerian who
has never left the shores of that
country supposed to know that
soldiers flogging and arresting
civilians in our streets are
breaking the law and ought to be
court-martialle d and dismissed
from service? How is this Nigerian
supposed to know that police
men who bark, “open ya boot!”
without a search warrant signed
by a competent judge are
breaking the law? How is he
supposed to know that the
soldier and the policeman have no
right to do any of these things in
Nigeria? They do only because the
masses hardly know better and
the oppressors in power ensure
that there are no consequences
for they themselves are guiltier of
impunity than the soldier and the
It is this lack of a lived experience
of the real thing, of the real deal,
that sometimes transforms the
Nigerian regular Joe into the most
vociferous defender of his own
oppression. If you know better
and you hit the airwaves and the
public sphere with tales of
alternatives, the wrongly wired
Nigerian could become your
deadliest foe. He is going to come
after you with all he’s got. He is
going to defend with his last
breath the same irresponsible
government officials who are
raping his present and
mortgaging his future. If you look
at things closely, this is to be
expected. You are rocking the
boat of the only world he knows.
You are talking scornfully about
the only experience of the world
he can boast of. You are saying
that his world is inadequate,
corrupt, hopeless, unacceptable,
and indefensible. You are saying
that the only national space he
knows is inferior to the paleolithic
age. He will fight you. He will
abuse you. This is what makes
him the most reliable weapon in
the hands of folks like Doyin
Okupe, Reuben Abati, Reno
Omokri, Ahmed Gulak and all
those who make a living by
retailing lies, deceit, and illusion
on behalf of Nigeria’s corruption
and impunity. The wrongly wired
Nigerian is their greatest asset.
Here, they have an army of
volunteers ready to be used in the
schemes of their own very
oppression. They will defend the
status quo and the shitstem. They
will defend the sadists who sell
lies on behalf of the status quo.
They will tell you to bugger off.
But you must not bugger off. You
must understand that you owe it
to Nigeria to persist and to insist.
You owe the wrongly wired
Nigerian, no matter how much he
screams and abuses you. You owe
him empathy, sympathy,
compassion, and understanding.
You owe him a great deal of
patience. You owe it to Nigeria
not to abandon him in the hands
of the government sadists for
whom his wrong wiring and lack
of civic awareness are assets
worth more than their weight in
gold. You have to understand that
the rapists of Nigeria rely on his
wrong wiring to be able to
continue and sustain their
successful rape of that country.
And the way to do that is to
under-educate or mal-educate
him, keep him permanently in a
state of blissful civic unawareness,
fool him into believing that he is
being patriotic by defending them
in the name of religion and
ethnicity. You need a lot of
patience to cut through five
decades of deliberate
psychological miswiring of this
Nigerian by the oppressor he is
defending. Look up Stockholm
syndrome in the dictionary and
you will understand why this
Nigerian deserves your patience.
However, you must understand
that the Nigerian who is wrongly
wired at home has a formidable
ally abroad. This foreign-based ally
of the home-based defender of
the status quo is one of Nigeria’s
most dangerous enemies. Unlike
his partner at home, he does not
possess the valuable excuse of
ignorance. He has lived long
enough in Britain, France,
Germany, Belgium, Ireland,
Scandinavia, Australia, Canada,
and the United States to
understand the real meaning of
responsible and accountable
leadership. He has lived long
enough in those places to
understand that what obtains in
Nigeria does not even vaguely
resemble what the rest of the
civilized world calls governance.
From what he has experienced
abroad, he understands perfectly
that Nigeria is a coalition of 170
million people ruled by crass
impunity and unbridled,
unaccountable irresponsibilit y.
Yet, our friend has perfected the
art of experiencing his world in
Euro-America with one set of
standards and Nigeria with a
different, lower, inferior set of
standards. Whatever it is he
would never accept or tolerate as
a member of the civic community
in Euro-America he joins up with
career rationalizers of mediocrity
on the ground in Nigeria to praise
to high heavens. That which he
rejects for his base in London he
justifies and rationalizes for his
fatherland in Nigeria. In the
unusual circumstance that a
snowstorm disrupts power to his
neighbourhood in America,
Canada, or Europe, if power isn’t
restored within hours, he is on
the phone screaming, “this is not
acceptable at all” at a poor
customer service representative
who is assuring him that “we are
doing everything to restore
power sir”. But when he hears
that an entire city has not had
power for two weeks in Nigeria,
the career rationalizer of
mediocrity for Nigeria in him
takes over. He joins forces with
his local teammates to shout at
and abuse the collective children
of anger for complaining about
power failure. He takes over
Facebook and Twitter, preaching
patience. While flipping channels
between baseball and basketball
in his New York living room, he
tells Nigerians coping with
darkness that Rome was not built
in a day. He churns out
constipated data about how many
electrics poles Goodluck Jonathan
erected last year all over the
country and urges the people to
be grateful to their President.
Yet, in all the donkey years he has
spent in America, Canada, or
Europe, he has never encountered
that strange beast called gratitude
to government officials and public
servants by members of the public
for doing the job they are
supposed to do with tax payers’
money in the first place. He has
never opened the Guardian of
London, New York Times, Toronto
Star and encountered members of
the public taking centrespread
ads to thank the Mayors and
officials of those cities for tarring
roads, clearing snow, providing
electricity to neighbourhoods,
building and renovating
classrooms in public schools. It’s
their freaking job! Yet, when his
sycophantic and obsequious team
mates in Nigeria want to thank a
Governor, a Minister, a Senator, or
President Jonathan for awarding
the contract (same contract
previously awarded by Presidents
Obasanjo and Yar’Adua) for the
construction of an expressway,
they may even ask our friend
abroad to contribute to the cost
of buying advertisement space in
ThisDay. Joro jara joro, our friend
will rush to Western Union in
London, Washington or Toronto
to contribute money to the
“worthy cause” of buying
newspaper advertisement space
to thank a government official for
doing his job in Nigeria.
Take the behaviour of this fellow
during the recent controversy
surrounding President Jonathan’s
pilgrimage to Jerusalem –
accompanied by the obligatory
bloated entourage. Now, in all of
this guy’s years abroad, he has
never encountered such galling
impunity as a public official
dipping his hands into the
treasury to sponsor a personal
religious obligation. It cannot
happen and will not happen
where he lives. Of course we all
know that President Jonathan and
the members of his huge
entourage are well within their
constitutional rights to undertake
a religious pilgrimage. I have even
written in a social media
statement that were President
Jonathan be inclined to renounce
Christianity in favour of
Candomble, I will support his right
to go on pilgrimage to the Orixa
shrines of Salvadore de Bahia in
Brazil, em…em, so long as he is
paying his way to Brazil out of his
personal earnings. Simply put, as
the head of a secular state, he has
no right to dip his hands into the
public till to sponsor his religious
pilgrimage. That’s impunity. The
President was breaking the law.
That his Moslem predecessors
have been doing it is no
justification for his own act. Just
like him, his Moslem predecessors
were breaking the law.
Some of the idiotic
rationalization s we encountered
for this brazen impunity can only
happen in a mad country like
Nigeria where it is culturally okay
to cite yesterday’s crime as
justification for today’s crime;
where it is always somebody’s
legitimate turn to be a criminal on
the basis of his or her ethnicity or
religion. President Yar’Adua also
went on pilgrimage using public
resources so that justifies the re-
enactment of that crime by
President Jonathan. Impunity,
breaking the law, is now the turn
of southern Christians. You’d of
course expect a Nigerian with
lived experience of the behaviour
of governance in genuinely
secular dispensations to
understand these issues and help
with the urgent task of public
instruction. For where?
The Nigerian abroad, blinded by
Christian partisanship, became the
arrowhead of woolly-headed
rationalization s. Our friend, who
would be the first to scream blue
murder were Angela Merkel or
David Cameron to fund personal
religious obligations with public
funds, joined forces with his
teammates at home to chant “go
on s’oun” to President Jonathan
and the bunch of corrupt clowns
who accompanied him to
Jerusalem at the expense of the
Nigerian tax payer. Now, what
does one owe this species of
Nigerian in Euro-America?
Certainly not the compassion,
patience, and understanding one
owes his teammates in Nigeria. I
believe that one owes him only
contempt and disdain for he is
wicked at heart and there is no
truth in him. One must treat him
like an Orisha who chances on
your destiny and does not
improve it. You tell such an
unfavourable Orisha to leave your
destiny alone jeje as e meet am
and not worsen it for you. The
time has come for boda Nigeria to
tell this foreign-based career
rationalizer of mediocrity: wish
me what you live abroad or get
thee behind me, buddy!

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