Yesterday, while I was walking in the street of London, the thought of Nigeria predicament and how we keep taking one step forward and five steps backward kept crawling on me. I haven't been able to digest why a country full of intelligent and influential Nigerians cannot solve a simple problem, that is, to improve the lives of her people despite the natural endowment God has gifted us.
Since 1999, the Nigerian leadership qualities fell drastically, the culture of respect and integrity completely disappeared from us. I recall as a child, the only thing I ate without permission from my grandfather was a chicken thigh. The old soldier returned home and discovered the fleshy thigh was bony. Knowing who could have done such a marvelous transformation, the man grabbed me by the arm while he ordered my aunt to grind the African pepper.
He poured the pepper on my head and left me in the sun, then invited all the children on the street to play a band made out of plastic rubber bag while I dance like a masquerade with a torn pant. After that special treatment, whenever I see someone's belonging, I remember my grandfather face pouring the ground hot spice on my head.
Well, that was the Nigeria I grew up, parents were very cultural and disciplined. Stealing was believed to be a stain to the family's name and your parents would rather skin you alive than to let you get away with it. In today's Nigeria, things have changed. Stealing is the professional career of parents, some use their children bank accounts to hide the diverted public funds.
I kept thinking, maybe, who knows, Nigeria will be great again, who knows, one day, the Land of the great will be blessed with King Joseph and not the many Pharaohs we have now. Suddenly, it occurred to me that Nigerian leaders are suffering from a narcissistic disorder.
Why haven't I thought about this all these years? The signs are there, it is very vivid and why couldn’t I realize that the disorder is now passed from fathers to children?.
Let's analyze some signs of the disorder according to Help Guide.
"Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) involves a pattern of self-centered, arrogant thinking and behavior, a lack of empathy and consideration for other people, and an excessive need for admiration. Others often describe people with NPD as cocky, manipulative, selfish, patronizing, and demanding. This way of thinking and behaving surfaces in every area of the narcissist’s life: from work and friendships to family and love relationships."
Tell me, does that sound familiar? People with this kind of disorder resist any form of change in their behaviors, even when it's causing them problems. The motive is to turn the blame on others. They are usually very sensitive and react crazily to the slightest criticism, disagreements, perceived slights, which they translate as personal attacks. To live peacefully with a narcissist, you go along with whatever demand they make to avoid attack, coldness, and rages.
Again, does this sound familiar? Let's now list the signs, perhaps, this will make it even clearer for you.
- Grandiose sense of self-importance:
Nigerians, mainly the leaders feed their inferiorities with grandiose. They show Hollier than thou with a hoity-toity mentality. They do everything to demonstrate they are progressively prevalent, "one of a kind or exceptional" than you. They believe nobody understands them other than exceptional individuals such as themselves. They only want to associate and be associated with other high-status people, places, and things. Do you have a friend or a politician like this?
- Lives in a fantasy world that supports their delusions of grandeur:
Since reality hit them in the face, they develop a fantasy that makes them live in a world beyond, a world propped up by distortion, delusion, self-deceit. "They spin self-glorifying fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, attractiveness, and ideal love that make them feel special and in control." Who do you think has this quality among your Senators, President, Governors even the Instagramers?
- Needs constant praise and admiration
Narcissists feed on constant praises and admirations and when they don't get it, they whip, rage and willing to hurt anyone in their ways. The fantasy of superiority blows in their faces if they don't receive the constant applause to keep the balloon inflated. Narcissists need consistent nourishment for their sense of self, so they encircle themselves with individuals who are happy to take into account their fanatical longing for attestation. These relationships are very one-sided. It’s all about what the admirer can do for the narcissist, never the other way around. And, if there is ever an intrusion or diminishment in the admirer's consideration and recognition, the narcissist regards it as a betrayal. Again, does this sound like Nigerian leaders? I mean, right from the Nigeria President to the local government Chairman?
- Sense of entitlement
I realized that all Nigerian leaders have this sense of entitlement. They believe because they are special, they should get whatever they need. The people around them are expected to provide it, otherwise, such a person is considered irrelevant. If you dare ask for anything in return, you are likely to meet rage, anger, cold shoulder and a sense of betrayer from those already betraying you. Do you know any leader like this?
- Exploits others without guilt or shame
Narcissists lack empathy. That is their greatest weapon. They exploit others without shame. They believe they are entitled to everything and you are not qualified to get anything. Like in Nigeria, the government divert the funds meant for the general public while they care not if the people it's meant for are suffering. Remember the Minister of Information Lai Mohammed who said President Muhammadu Buhari deserves the best because he flew to the United Kingdom for medical tourism while Nigerians face the rotten medical system? Narcissists do not think how their behaviors affect others and if you point it out, you likely expose yourself to their attacks. The solution is that you have to keep quiet and dare not complain. Don't forget they have admirers who are watching every step you make and every group you belong to.
- Frequently demeans, intimidates, bullies, or belittles others:
Because of their fantasy world, they do everything to keep it at a level where you will never be able to stand up. They constantly reduce you, intimidate, demean and bully you just to keep you at their fingertips. E.g A few days ago, a student of Akwa Ibom State University (AKSU), Ikot Akpaden, Joy Nkanang was suspended indefinitely for calling the Vice Chancellor Eno Ibanga "foolish" on Facebook.
Ms. Nkanang only expressed her anger over the increased threat to properties and lives in the University campus since the school authority won't allow a protest not to expose the rot in the school. Remember, you are supposed to keep quiet when a narcissist drains the blood out of your vain. With the current situation in Nigeria, there are journalists in prison, lecturers fired, buildings bulldozered by mini narcissists for challenging the authorities of their boss.
Someone with this disorder always thinks of what to get from the people and not what to give. They usually have nothing to give and they won't let you say it to their face. When you finally get the bull to speak out, you get intimidated, bullied, demeaned and belittled. Is there a leader of such in your state?
After I thought of these signs, I realized that Nigeria may never reach its true potentials as many Nigerians are now pushed to kowtow the system set by the narcissist's leaders. The son of the President was recently rated as one of the richest youths even though he can't disclose where he received his monthly salary.
The Nigeria of today is self-inflicted by the narcissist leaders who have transferred the blood to their offspring. Many Nigerians now suffer from Stockholm syndrome (feelings of trust or affection felt in many cases of kidnapping or hostage-taking by a victim towards a captor).
Is there a solution to this disorder in a country where the kidnappers are more than the victims? How do you stop a wildfire from spreading in the summer with limited water supply? If you ask me, na who I go ask?
It's now obvious that President Muhammadu Buhari, the self-acclaimed self righteous and his counterpart, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo who believed that he is the best thing that ever happened to Nigerians, the state governors, current and past, former and current ministers, lawmakers, Nigerian pastors, Yahoo Yahoo boys whose first thought is to buy expensive cars and spend thousands at a night club whenever they make money, or tricking their victims to surrender their wealth without thinking of how they feel later, local government chairmen, and those always insulting you at WhatsApp groups whose true intention is to be seen by political leaders rather than the objectives of the groups, are all suffering from narcissists disorder.
Name one person you know that is suffering from this disorder. Let's start from your state politicians to the federal power.
Ehi Ekhator is a UK based journalist. He can be reached on [email protected]