The Follet philosophy states that “any enduring society, any continuously productive industrial organization, must be grounded upon a recognition of the motivating desires of the individual of the group.” Enter the enigma called Nigeria.
An enigma is defined as a person, thing or situation that is mysterious and difficult to understand, something that mystifies or puzzles. So walk with me here my fellow Nigerians. Let us find out if Nigeria is indeed something of an enigma.
We all know that Nigeria gained her independence on October 1st 1960. We also know that this country called Nigeria (thanks or no thanks to Lord Lugard) was amalgamated in 1914. So whether you look at Nigeria from the year 1960 or the year 1914, it goes that Nigeria will be [going by the hype by the government & the media alike] celebrating 100 years come 2014. Ok. Now that we’ve established the age of Nigeria which is either going on 53 or 99 years old this year & 54 or 100 years next year, we all agree that judging by any standard, we have an adult in our hands. We have an adult country still standing as one federal entity.
It is purely common sense to expect that an under aged child will still be dependent on her parents for certain necessities of life. The parents are of course, obligated to provide, pending on their income, a certain manner of life that the child grows up to be accustomed to. But on the other hand, when the child having grown to adulthood, asserts her independence, she is no more fully dependent on her parents for every aspect of her growth. The parents have done their fundamental duty of training the child to become independent, eventually. Perhaps, over the course of growing up, a wise child would continually come back to the parents for guidance & good counsel. But the whole purpose of growing up would be to eventually become useful to self, family, the community at large and to develop upon the already existing structure or to create an even better structure in the process for those after you.
Nigeria at 53 or 99 is an adult nation. We may say that the era of the civil war, the military regimes and coup de tats, were all the usual floundering motions of Nigeria becoming an independent and strong nation. We may say that the social & economic issues we faced when we were a country of 24 years & above through WAI (War Against Indiscipline), SAP (Structural Adjustment Programme), MAMSER (Mass Mobilization for Self Reliance, Social Justice & Economic Recovery), the vision 2010 agenda etc, were all failed programmes because then we lacked the right structure, resources of knowledge, & man-power to deliver, perhaps.
We have had so many failed developmental visions, policies & programmes for poverty reduction in this nation. We have articulated so many great political manifestoes that have failed in this country & are still failing. We are great at formulating policies but terrible at policy implementation because of the lack of political will for the enforcement of such policies. We have deeply embedded issues of corruption in leadership & governance in every layer of government and non-government activities. We may even tell ourselves that what we failed to correct in our economic policies, governance, politics & leadership back in 1960, through to 1980, we will correct in 1990 and what we failed to learn in 1990 we hope to have learned in the year 2000, and up until 2013 we are still giving ourselves excuses for our dismal failure in developing this country called Nigeria.
Nigeria has been overtaken in development by other African countries like Ghana, Senegal, Zambia etc. and other developing nations like Indonesia, Malaysia, and Venezuela have left us behind. It’s like we have tried so many great ideas and we just keep on failing – something is very wrong. Something is very wrong with a citizenry that would not hold their leaders accountable. When there is no good governance & there is no access to quality education, when the money being given is not commensurate with the development being done, when there is so much money and so little impact to show for it, then the people have a right to ask those they have elected – why? The people have a right to know how much was given and what exactly it was used for. The legitimacy of the government is based on the consent given by the people to govern them. The Government was elected into government because the people put them there. Therefore, it is the responsibilities of the citizenry of Nigeria to monitor the activities of their political leaders in order to ensure that their performance is proportionate to their mandate to govern.
Now let us go back to our introductory Follet philosophy which states that “any enduring society (oya, cut out the part that says, “any organization…blablabla and continue with the part that says “must be grounded upon a recognition…”) You will end up with my refined version of Follet’s philosophy to fit the congruent nature of the conundrum called Nigeria. This would make it:
“any enduring society like Nigeria must be grounded upon a recognition of the motivating desires of the individual or the group.”
I have chosen to refer to Nigeria as an enduring society because Nigeria is a society that is enduring hardship for all the wrong reasons. We are by no means even a “continuously productive industrial” nation. Rather we have become a “continuously consuming under-developing” nation. So even though we are above 50, still, we are underdeveloped in almost every sector of our nation’s economy. Now when I refer to a society like Nigeria as enduring, I am saying that Nigerians have the ability to continue to suffer & tolerate all the painful & difficult hardships that they have been compelled to undergo by the same leaders they entrusted with their votes because Nigerians accept every bullshit that is thrown at them without complaining or demanding accountability from the people they elected. Gbam!
1) Nigerians have the ability to continue to elect the wrong leaders for the wrong reasons of ethnicity, tribe & religion
2) Nigerians have the ability to tolerate the daily killings of Nigerian citizens in different parts of Nigeria & the world without demanding for drastic action to put a stop to it.
3) Nigerians have the ability to allow their National assembly members to keep collecting outrageous salaries that run into trillions of Naira for doing work that rarely impacts the people at the grass roots level and at the expense of the Nigerian populace.
4) Nigerians have the ability to endure the imposition of unfair taxes ranging from increment in bank transactional rates to transportation to visa fees to telecommunication services and on every area of our lives without doing anything about it as a people.
5) Nigerians have the enduring ability to continually give bribes over services that is their rights as citizens to get.
6) Nigerians have the enduring ability not to question or require accountability for how much money is received & spent by their governors, Local government chairmen/care-takers, presidents or leaders.
7) Nigerians have the enduring ability not to question why our once valued unity schools or tertiary institutions are plagued with inferior teaching infrastructure & poor quality teaching standards or the poor remuneration of our teaching staff which has led to non-stop Asuu strikes.
8) Nigerians have the enduring ability not to question why basic health amenities cannot be provided for pregnant women or children or students or its citizenry. (I read somewhere in the papers that in a medical facility in Kwali, pregnant women are required to produce certain gallons or basins of water before they can give birth – isn’t that outrageous enough for us!) I can go on and on.
Let me make this very clear. For as long as we find it tolerable & satisfactory for electricity not to be constant, water not to be available, Asuu to always be on strike, Legislators to be growing fat on outrageous salaries etc then we are saying to our leaders that they are doing well. That complacent attitude of ours that make us not to protest or clamour for constructive change in such a way that we are taken very seriously by our leaders, make of us a complacent nation!
Our so called enduring ability is making us keep quiet when our leaders slap us on the face; it is making us keep quiet when we see or give a bribe; it is making us keep quiet when our pastors or so called men of God are doing something wrong; it is making us keep quiet when those ‘oga-at-the-tops’ are asking us to cover a wrongful deed in the name of misplaced loyalty.
We choose to be quiet, why? Because if you talk in church, the church will call you rebellious in the name of “touch-not-my-anointed-and-do-my-prophet-no-harm.’ Why? Because if you speak out in your secular job or career or profession or government against something wrong, you will be in big trouble with your ‘oga-at-the-top’ or the government may just pin something on you. So in and out of season, in church and outside church, at work and outside work, Nigerians are oppressed and suppressed into keeping quiet because the penalty for speaking out, protesting or participating in rallies may be too steep sometimes.
We have become a people so used to suffering that even when someone is just doing the job he was paid to do, we feel compelled to tip him.
I understand. I too am Nigerian. But my fellow Nigerians, we cannot continue to stay silent. My fellow Nigerians, while we stay silent, the world is passing us by; while we stay silent, the giant of Africa is diminishing; while we stay silent, the world is wondering what has happened to the great men & women of Nigeria who seem to do so well both inside & outside this country.
When you’re as involved in social media as I sometimes tend to be, you get to hear the ceaseless voices of youths clamouring for change via the 140 maximum tweet medium. Only recently, I read a tweet from a concerned Nigerian who said “I sincerely think we got independence too early.” But I guess that is water under the bridge now. The question is, what have we done with the independence we have? Is Nigeria better now than it was in 1960 & 1980 & 1990? Recently Omojuwa said “Nigeria needs a competent, impatient president, who is allergic to bullshit and is extremely mad at the system.” I concur.
Like Ike Amadi would say, please, ‘do something!’ Let’s not leave Oby Ezekwesili standing alone asking for a debate that is so necessary. Let’s not leave the likes of Fela Durotaye & Leke Alder standing alone in fighting to encourage & better the lot of Nigerians. Let’s not leave Omojuwa, Ken Henshaw, Canary, Elnathan etc, and all the twitter activists alone clamoring for change. Or Pa Ikhide who never stops using his brilliant sense of sarcasm to draw the attention of Nigerians to the troubling issues in our land.
Like you & I, we have many people in this country seeking for a new Nigeria, a new direction & a better way to demand good governance. It is time to rise up & be counted for good in this country. The time for keeping silent is over. Now is the time for the good people of Nigeria to ‘do something’ right. Let us join hands and demystify this enigma called Nigeria.
Chalya Princess Miri-Gazhi
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters