Make we carry Sango swear for Nigerians

December 17, 2018 Nigeria , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS

Allan Leonard photo



Prince Charles Dickson



The year don finish, so dem bin tell me one tory wey carry headache…



A father in one of those highbrow secondary schools that pay in six figures took matters into his hands; how?


So the school decided to get an external auditor in ze spirit of fighting internal corruption and any other mechetra.


The auditor discovered that these particular three kids had not paid a dime, one had just graduated and the other two in various classes had equally not paid a dime. The pikin dem be dey get school fees clearance; how?


My fellow Nigerians, the man, I mean the father of the kids, like we say in local parlance, their blood father or biological papa. Had gone far to make the school fees receiving bank stamp. Once the kids came home, he would just take the teller, stamp and sign without getting to the back or paying any kobo.


On resumption, his kids would simply tender their signed teller and get cleared.


Now to other ingredients wey make this tory baddo, the man in question na big man, has a good job, the wife sef get better work. Between the madam and oga dem be gree say oga go pay school fees for two pikin, while madam go pay for one.


So when it’s time to pay, oga go collect money from madam, form going to add his own and pay all, and he would just stamp the teller and put the kudi inside his pocket. By the time the discovery was made, his wife was in shock; you can imagine the shame and embarrassment. The woman, with a mother’s heart on the floor begged the school authorities to allow her offset all the fees that had accumulated into millions.


We all must have been in a state of wonderment, what kind of father hatches this kind of plan, damns the consequences, beyond shame, it is equally a criminal act.


And here lies the problem of a nation in an election cycle. We are all talking, the year is ending, we want this, and we want that, we blame leadership for everything but ourselves. All is guilty; while we are all innocent… we go all kai, and aaayah, very dramatic people. We are all right, no one is wrong.


Carry sango swear say your hand no dey the problem; you forget your birth date, you are older or younger depending on the need, you screamed when Kemigate trended but even your baptism certificate is false because water no touch you anywhere for body.


A nation of pious Muslims, swear by sango that you can recite the fatia, and debate with venom that Islam has seven pillars. Meanwhile you are the one in charge of files disappearing and appearing depending on the type of currency rendered to you.


Before New Year does to us, the more you look, very little is seen. Many will make new resolutions, tell me you were not part of those ranting and making jokes of your Nigeria, my and our Nigeria when snakes and monkeys were swallowing money, while you were equally busy supervising the swallowing and disappearance in your own corner.


Children are often accused of pilfering small notes, a few change here and there and even psychologists say it’s part of the growing process, but swear by sango, how many of you did not steal from your wife or the wives that stole from their husband’s pocket claiming that what’s for their husband is also theirs?


We inflated transportation, slept at a friend’s place or with family and the manufactured receipts and invoices and you are busy shouting chai this government has failed they can’t even announce the advent of harmattan, and then your abuses privately, secretly and otherwise stink to the high heavens.


Swear by sango, add Amadioha and say bori strike me if you were not one of those Nigerian elite with PhD, Fsc, Byy, kff and yet in topics of national discourse when ethnic jingoism, and religious parapoism needed addressing you reasoned like a a failed school certificate; you were simply literally literately illiterate.


Roads are closed on Friday, we pray Allahu Akbar, and won’t allow Jesus rest on Sunday and by Monday the Igbo trader is selling you fake mobile phone charger, on Tuesday the Yoruba woman has lied about the quality of that plastic bucket she sold to us. And if it’s not bad, Sulieman Fuels has adjusted pump price of PMS and is ripping customers a few kobos by the liter and smiling to the bank. If only we swear by Sango we are all guilty of one infractions or the other and this draws us all back.


Swear, you complain there’s no electricity, but don’t even pay for the other that has been distributed to you. When you are not collecting the bribe, you are giving the bribe. We pay for the JAMB form, bribe for admissions, bribe the lecturers so your ward passes. You bribe to get him posted to your choice place, and then bribe to get the job.


Let’s swear by sango and then you will see the parents that bribe the kids with ice cream so that they can eat swallow. It’s unfortunate that this is the story of our lives that needs deep and sober reflection.


Our leaders cannot swear by Sango, they lie by the figures, deceive by the action. Our institutions are painted in lies, the gateman sleeps on duty, the chief executive he’s supposedly protecting hardly turns up at work. We make laws intent on breaking it.


We make promissory notes with no desire to fulfil the same, so as the year ends we are ready to swear by Sango to be a patriotic Nigerian, an honest one, they are good for the right reasons. Those Nigerians are not easily understood because they will not give bribes, all their actions are in line with tradition, society’s good norms and rationality. They are largely old now, although a few young ones do exist and most times reside in rural areas, with another few in urban areas.


We can swear by sango that they are generally good and untribalized, they believe in the principles of live and let live. These Nigerians are neither the bottom power women nor the moneybag men like you and me. They strive daily to remain patriotic and committed to the Nigerian dream despite the reality, they are disciplined and are hardworking, and they battle the stark reality that as patient dogs they may never have any bone left.


These set of Nigerians suffer the Nigerian experiment because of the larger majority’s inability to curb greed, the inactions of me and, you to be fair and rational towards other peoples’ perspectives, opinions, positions and interests.


My continuous inability to make sacrifices for the common good, and your unwillingness to respect our institutions means that if others do not stand as a people and resolve to fight for what rightly belongs to Nigeria, the problem with Nigeria will continue. If we cannot swear by sango that the shop can be left safe as we possess the thief, and that the thief can be apprehended, it still will be the same difference, but 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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