Nigerians and the love for the dramatic

January 10, 2017 OPINION/NEWS

Ben Curtis/AP



Prince Charles Dickson

By the time the fool has learned the game, the players have dispersed, and you can beat a fool half to death but you can’t beat the foolishness out of him. African Proverb.

I have said it countless times that Nigerians suffer low attention span, we suffer focus delinquency, like a one-year-old baby, so easily excitable, we pick on every matter and like a toy, after a while we drop it and move to the next one. Most times what makes us cry brings us so much humor–Like last year, do you remember all the noise of Mrs. Buhari and the follow-up in the other room.

We just love the dramatics– I will remind us of a few. There was a certain Aluu 4, we even had a memorial song, signed petitions, so what happened, and then last year a boy was killed by the mob in Lagos, first we debated his true age, and followed-up on whether he stole garri or a mobile phone.

Remember that drama like a tsunami over the Central Bank Chief (now) Emir Sanusi and Islamic banking–what became of all the foolish arguments especially against…or that Sanusi donated money to Kano? Today CAN, the umbrella organ of Christians says that it will kill the current Central Bank Chief who is a Christian for heading one Islamic banking body.

Who remembers Ombatse anymore and all the DSS officers that died, like an auction market–it came with all the drama, and going, going, going and finally it went, a report, a recommendation and the lives lost just was collateral damage.

Remember all the actors in the baby factories of the east, no one seems to be talking again. Pregnantors, pregnantees, buyers and sellers–business continues, but really it was no new news in the first place, all drama!

Nigerians naturally choose their battles based on sentiments and bias, so often that it doesn’t last, as very many times they forget why they choose the stand they took. It’s like picking a genre of drama; comedy and humor, tragicomedy, agony, action and thriller, sci-fi and paranormal…etc.

All part of the entertainment called Nigeria. We only grumble a bit but soon we forget.

Today the epicenter is in Southern Kaduna, before it was Plateau, Jos and environs, I recall Dogo Nawa, and more recently we have confined “Pray for Agatu” to the dirt bin of dramas that were exciting. Follow me, let me refresh our minds to the theatre production of Christians poisoning crayfish and palm oil, sending same to the North and Muslims poisoning suya and injecting oranges and apples to kill Christians…in the words of Miriam Toews “Depression is caused by asking oneself too many unanswerable questions.” Why do we love foolishness with a succinct staying power…?

I am guilty, you are, we are all guilty. We are only victims of a contagion that spreads fast and as it is, for now the cure seems far from us. So we are outdoing ourselves on the peanuts that Diezani stole…ordinary $158 million, it’s all drama, we will soon forget the script, if there was any. Just like we have forgotten the collapsed church in Akwa Ibom, the Synagogue building collapse, all collapses are only part of the drama.

Each time we have one major issue, the political class gives us some drama to engage us while they loot away and we create sainthood of otherwise political miscreants.

For me our debates are dramatic as a people and largely expose our poor cerebral quality regarding nationalism and high amount of hooligan quotient in us. Nigerians learn slowly when they manage to, but sadly forget quickly.

Of all that I have read, know and what informed sources say, at best, we engage in a crude fight for power. On the other hand, it is a fight with no moral, no agenda, a fight of ego and on a final count–there is no fight at all, it is all diversionary, nothing will come out of all our fights, we won’t even learn from it, just some drama for the moment.

What saddens me is that Nigerians have refused to learn, I hate this psycho-make of us. Unfortunately, it is partly who we are. We are either fighting ourselves or fighting for those that are misgoverning or looting us blind because we share faith, creed and not on any defined ideology.

I will end with this small gist; its author is unknown– “There once was a farmer who discovered that he had lost his watch in the barn. It was no ordinary watch because it had sentimental value for him.

After searching high and low among the hay for a long while; he gave up and enlisted the help of a group of children playing outside the barn.

He promised them that the person who found it would be rewarded.

Hearing this, the children hurried inside the barn, went through and around the entire stack of hay but still could not find the watch. Just when the farmer was about to give up looking for his watch, a little boy went up to him and asked to be given another chance.

The farmer looked at him and thought, “Why not? After all, this kid looks sincere enough.”

So the farmer sent the little boy back in the barn. After a while the little boy came out with the watch in his hand! The farmer was both happy and surprised and so he asked the boy how he succeeded where the rest had failed.

The boy replied, “I did nothing but sit on the ground and listen. In the silence, I heard the ticking of the watch and just looked for it in that direction.”

You can educate a fool, but you cannot make him think, a whole lot of us as Nigerians have refused to sit on the ground and listen, we are all talking at the same time, are we really engaging in any critical-problem solving manner, we just do not want to think, or maybe we are not—Only time will tell.










Prince Charles Dickson

Currently Prince Charles, is based out of Jos, Plateau State, and conducts field research and investigations in the Middle Belt Region of Nigeria with an extensive reach out to the entire North and other parts. Prince Charles worked on projects for UN Women, Search for Common Ground, and International Crisis Group, among others. He is an alumnus of the University of Jos and the prestigious Humanitarian Academy at Harvard and Knight Center For Journalism, University of Texas at Austin. A doctoral candidate of Georgetown University

Born in Lagos State (South West Nigeria), Prince Charles is proud of his Nigerian roots. He is a Henry Luce Fellow, Ford Foundation grantee and is proficient in English, French, Yoruba Ibo and Hausa. Married with two boys, and a few dogs and birds.

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