Nigeria is like this and like that…

October 10, 2016 OPINION/NEWS

August Udoh



Prince Charles Dickson

Do you remember that gist on the bush meat and the hunter? It was Frank Zappa that said there is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life. This cannot be more true than in Nigeria where there are far more stupid persons than the entire population of some African nations. With profound apologies we continually demonstrate our stupidity in large doses.

I know that the word stupid and its accompaniment stupidity is rather harsh, but it is no harsher than foolishness, dumbness, and many more, and permit me to share why it is so…

It was that kind of weekend for yours sincerely, first a flight from Kano to Abuja by Maza Maza Airlines, or whatever its name was, behaved true to nature by making sure that a flight that was scheduled to leave by 8:00am left by past 1:00pm, but not to worry, it prepared me for a sequence of meetings that were all unplanned and got me in that “thinking mood”.

I met with the most Honorable “Nigeria is shaking like this and like that…” at the airport, the member of the House of Representative and I had this interesting “like this and like that” conversation as we watched our big man who could not even carry their own phones litter the airport, as he waited too for his own phone carrier.

After him, I was privileged as the flight from Yola berthed to be guest of the ever exciting but recently quiet Mallam Nuhu Ribadu. He was still as patriotic as the last time we met, but something told me that the wind had been taken out of him.

Next on that order of roll call was not one person I bargained to see–Abdulkadir Abacha, younger brother to the “most prudent” Nigerian President in recent times. We last met in 2001/2 thereabout in the heat of the Switzerland money wahala…we exchanged banters and a short narrative ensued…

So I won’t bore us, my weekend then ended with a chance meeting of former President Obj, he needs no introduction. We had a few minutes’ gist too…

Let me produce below the summary of the weekend rendezvous with Nigeria’s men and you will understand why Nigeria is like this and like that.

When one looks at the state of affairs in the nation. Nigeria, the land of the extraordinaire, a land where it all happens, a land that never ceases to amaze many, the land of Generals, from the good, the very good, sometimes the best, to also the bad, ugly and dirty, the land famed for the current fraud called CHANGE.

A land green yet going the same old vicious circle. A circle of greed, corruption, bad leadership, docile citizenry, confused government, a badly prepared diet of rice, yam and corn with cocoa-yam stew, a meal prepared by a group of insane chefs in a kitchen that suffers want in the midst of plenty.

Talking with these Nigerian men, I have tried to convince myself that we are not repeating history, the more I engaged them, my belief was reinforced that until today, our leaders and even the led have continually behaved in a fascinatingly repulsive manner.

We wake up and that is for those who sleep not knowing what to expect, and the country remains like this and like that…

Our ineptitude, whether it is corruption or maladministration, continues to undermine economic performance, weaken democratic institutions and the rule of law, disrupt social order and destroy public trust, thus allowing organized crime, terrorism and other threats to human security to flourish. In this situation only the public good suffers.

Nigeria like this and like that has put basic public utilities beyond the reach of those who are not up there in society. It affects the Nigerian masses in their daily life, pushing them down the ladder of poverty and deprivation, thus fundamental needs such as food, health and education become luxuries only affordable by those on top.

Nigeria like this, like that is as a result of our inability to build a multi-monitoring system for prevention of corruption. Instead we are chasing shadows, while political corruption continues, manipulation and nepotism still thrive. We have still refused to build a culture that helps us in evaluating integrity level and results made public.

The present leadership in all this present drama lack moral rectitude and have no respect for traditional values, they lack discipline and it runs down to the ordinary Nigerian on the street that lacks discipline. All the book launches, all the #changebeginswithme, all the arrests of judges and EFCC macabre dance is nowhere near our utopia, we still remain like this and like that.

Between the President, his Vice and their foot soldiers, there are only cosmetic shows of patriotism, honesty, diligence and hard work, trust, personal discipline, tolerance, mutual respect, justice and fairness, love, care and compassion, while in practice their ineptitude blinds them with slothfulness, nepotism, indiscipline, bitterness, prejudice, ethnic jingoism and parapoism.

What more for a populace that believes that ‘god’ is a Nigerian or that there is a Nigerian ‘god’ and somehow we feel we will still scale through, call it faith, call it perseverance, call it foolishness, call it being politically naive, whatever term we apply, it is just that inherent thing that makes us Nigerians, because strangely we sail through; the Nigerian in Nigeria and the Nigeria in a Nigerian.

Talking with these men, I reflected on the enormous material resources, the natural endowments at our disposal and the colossal waste that greets it and I concluded that we are a nation of miscarriage before pregnancy.

While we are all critics in our own rights, have we really talked about what matters most, that as we continue to engage in infinitesimal arguments that some things are as clear as the sun can be from the moon. Is it far from the truth that we are yet to make headway, that we lack an ideological base and that the system is still morally bankrupt, epidemically inept, grossly inefficient and compromised despite all the noise of reforms, as we keep moving like this and like that, one cannot but ask, for how long—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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