As a student of the social sciences, almost- if not all of my writings are born of observations. Eagle-eyed observations about social life in Nigeria and the ruminations of the average Nigerian vis-a-vis the capacity of government to bring about transformation.
Based on observed sentiments, I have grouped Nigerians into 3 categories;
• WE NIGERIANS ARE THE PROBLEM FOLKS
These set of Nigerians absolve the government of any blame over the pitiable state of affairs in the country. “Government is not the problem, we Nigerians are the problems” you’ll hear these folks declare.
These mass of well-mannered citizens span across the different ethnic groups
They are the ones who don’t jump queue in banks and malls. They believe obeying the law and maintaining outward decorum goes a long way in making Nigeria better and they lead by example in this regard.
They are also quick to excoriate fellow citizens who break the rules by pointing out the nexus between Nigeria’s state of affairs and their actions. We-Nigerians-are-the-problem-folks unequivocally believe that once Nigerians get their shit together; Nigeria will make progress.
It’s not the case that these set of Nigerians like the government, far from it. As a matter of fact, they used to loathe the government. But having seen repeated governments fail in their bid to transform Nigeria- they are now of the opinion that government has tried its possible best and only Nigerians should then be blamed for lack of development in the country.
• GOVERNMENT IS THE PROBLEM FOLKS
These guys believe the problem of the country is simply a problem of leadership. No attachment.
Whether they arrived at this viral viewpoint after reading Chinua Achebe’s “The problem with Nigeria”, I do not know. But this I know; these folks are angry and armed with facts. They are the ones you see at newspaper stands pontificating laboriously. They know how much each thieving governor, senator and other public officials are reported to have stolen.
In their sober mood however, they’ll agree with you that citizens have a role to play in the nation’s development. But their view is that these noble acts (paying taxes, obeying the law, not dropping refuse on the streets) are isolated at best and they do not necessarily have a bearing on the country as a whole.
• THE NIGERIA IS ALREADY RUINED FOLKS
The-Nigeria-is-already-ruined-folks are far extreme in their views than the aforementioned groups. Their belief is simple; Nigeria is already ruined, and nothing can be done or should be done to salvage the situation. The danger here lies in their belief that not only is Nigeria broken, but that any attempt to make things better is inherently a waste of time. Meaning: these guys can sometimes (and they actually do) resist positive change just because they think things can never get better.
So why try?
Pipeline vandals, ghost workers in the civil service, oil cabal and scammers in general subscribe to this nihilist perspective. Try to caution them that their action is inimical to the development of Nigeria; and they will tell you how ruined Nigeria has been from your father’s days and why you’re stupid to expect things to get better.
They live by a creed which says:
Nigeria is ruined
I didn’t ruin it
But I must survive
So I’ll do whatever it takes
Because, I must make it too
PS; which groups do you belong to? Answer with the fear of God