Nigeria is a very frustrating place to be, and it’s a fact, solely on what I’ve experienced in all my years in the country, so please don’t ask me how I know this, I just do. We can play the blame game all day and talk about who’s responsible for the mess we find ourselves in, but that really won’t solve any problems. We talk about changing Nigeria and Africa all the time, but the truth is that, to truly realise all our goals, there are a lot of things that have to happen. At this point I’d like to say, the purpose of this piece is not to offer a solution(s), rather to simply speak.
Let’s paint a picture. Boy A goes to school, gets good grades at secondary school level, goes to university, graduates with good grades again, fulfils his national obligation and does the mandatory NYSC year. Boy A wraps everything up, and is thrown into the labour market.
No job. Year 1 – no job, Year 2 – no job. A decides to gather limited funds, travels to Canada, gets a masters degree, comes back home to Nigeria and still, NO JOB. Boy B’s daddy is a senator, he goes to British-Nigerian schools, gets okay grades, goes to University and wraps up with okay grades. 3 jobs are waiting for Mr. B the week he graduates. Is this normal?
In our society today, it is. B’s father has “connections,” so he gets job offers just because. A is languishing in the harmattan heat, day in, day out with certificates to show all his achievements. A applies for a job in NNPC, attends four interviews and has a good feeling about the getting the position of “Senior Procurement Officer.” One week later, no call. Two weeks go by, three weeks go by. By week four, he loses hope. A’s friend who told him about the opening calls his phone on a random Sunday evening and says,
“Oh boy, that NNPC parol, na one guy wey do CRK get am oh! I hear say the guy sabi the Head of Department. Apparently, the HOD went to school with his mum.”
A loses all hope and withers away. Sadly, the Nigerian way is largely exaggerated. How do we expect to move forward as a society when first of all, there aren’t enough jobs available to graduates with proper qualification, to further compound the graduates’ woes, individuals who have nothing to do with certain industries holding positions meant for a specific career niche. I cannot for the life of me understand how we expect to become an always-improving nation, when there are youths who at 21 or 22 are withering away because someone’s dad went to school with some head of department. Nepotism.
The sad thing is, everyone thinks this is normal and it’s a variant of this mentality that has slowly led us to our downfall as a society. At the end of the day, you console yourself with, “God will answer my prayers,” then your pastor in your Church gives a sermon about “sowing fruits,” you take the 30k you’ve saved, and willingly give it to the church, because your pastor said so. Our gullibility is appalling. I’m not saying your pastor is wrong, I’m saying you shouldn’t even be bringing your pastor into the equation with your present situation, but no, your mum pressures you all the time to get a job, a partner, and a good life in general; Vacationing in Ibiza or Greece or some exotic location. Meanwhile, you don’t even have 30k to your name anymore, and your pastor has a Bombardier jet for “Kingdom Work” bought with your 30k and some other poor lad’s 10k. You see how it all connects? It’s the same reason why presidential aspirants in Africa capture the attention of the masses.
Go to your village during election period, see how these politicians give poor illiterate people crisp notes of N1000, listen to the lies the tell them, “We will give you electricity in this country for 24 hours, we will give you good roads and water.” Yes, these are the things we need, but how are they actually going to achieve all this when the same people were previously senators, and have stolen hard-earned taxpayer funds to live a lavish lifestyle in Abuja, filled with luxury cars off all sorts? The same people who have promised these same things to the same set of villagers, and in the last four years have only commissioned a sub-standard borehole behind his mother’s old home? The same damn guys who come out to say, “yes, I stole x billion dollars, but you’ve only ratted me out because we aren’t from the same local government.”
WHO THE HELL IS ACTUALLY DOING WHAT THEY PROMISE?
At the end of elections, your village people have voted for said Senator because he gave them 1k and Kunun Zaki, and guess what? It’s not their fault, because they don’t know better. The same people have been promised education, but haven’t received anything in return. Whose fault? MR FUCKING SENATOR. Why? He used their education money to cop that Rolls Royce, and swimming lessons for his obese 9-year old who has a permanent room in Transcorp Hilton.
I know these claims seem wild, but I promise you, they’re not even in the upper echelon of thieves. Do you realize that the picture I’ve painted in the previous paragraph has morphed and merged with another Religion. Now, by no means am I saying that anybody’s religious beliefs are false or am I debunking any way of living. What I’m saying is, with the way our society is set-up, there are many unsuspecting victims that have slowly been taken unaware by these problems. It almost seems like we have been indoctrinated from the minute we’re born into our brand of thinking, confined by age-old societal constructs. Believe me, it’s very frustrating when you begin to think about it.
How does someone get brainwashed to the extent that he/she takes a sizable part of his/her fortune, and gives it to an institution fueled by you the follower. Meanwhile, your money, shrouded under the sham of “Kingdom Work,” pays for the parking space of a Bombardier. Unbelievable.
The educated aren’t left out of this charade which goes to show, even the education we get is sub-par because we’ve allowed the African-ness in us to creep into everything we do. A couple of months ago, I was watching a show on NTA in the morning, in the midst of all the ASUU hullabaloo. They invited a professor, a Yoruba man, a Hausa guy in government, and an Igbo person in the government as well. Do you see how they’ve already tried to appeal to the three major ethnic groups in Nigeria to carefully allay our fears and quell any form of rebellion because, “my man dey talk, I go listen to am” or “that man represents Ndi-Igbo” or “His grandfather was the 13th Sultan of Sokoto.” Believe me, for a country that lacks so much, a lot is put into “eye service” and pleasing certain demographics. So these guys on National TV argue about the ASUU strike, spewing bigotry, making snide tribalistic comments and all that. But, alas, that’s not all. The presenter asks the professor what was to be done about the ASUU strike, and he goes on about how being a professor in the 80s held more prestige than it does today, and tells us to “ask his classmates who are also professors, and have been professors from the 80s.” Am I just delusional or is this guy shooting way off the mark
Presenter: “How do we solve his problem?”
Professor: “Oh, being a professor now doesn’t hold as much prestige as it did in the 80s”
How do men and women who have received an education in an era where the Nigerian nation thrived, come on live television and show how out of depth they are with present happenings. These same people who have struggled with power since we became a democratic society, have refused to open up their minds to see that they’re embarrassingly off the mark. Let’s face it, our leaders today are out of ideas. Why? To be honest I think it’s because of the amount of WhatsApp broadcasts they take in on a daily basis. No, I’m not trying to crack a joke. These people are so hell bent on a specific way of doing things, that they’ve failed to realize the world has moved on without them. Who’s talking about providing 4G internet to villagers in Vandekiya? Who’s talking about preserving local indigenous wildlife? Who’s talking about bloody space travel?
I remember in 2007 when Yaradua was campaigning to be President, and there were fears about his health because, Nigerians will rat you out if they don’t want you. He goes on to release a statement saying, if anyone challenges his health status, he challenges them to a game of squash. What happens three years later, he dies. Same thing happened again in 2015, when people challenged the health status of then presidential aspirant, Buhari. Two years in, hospital trips aboard more. On the plus side, our 70-something year old president is still alive and kicking. Two points for Gryffindor.
My point basically is, the number of underlying problems we are facing currently is enormous. To truly make a dent, there has to be a collective change in the mentality of everyone. We can’t just come out and say we want change, without actually first identifying that change we seek, especially within ourselves. Like I said earlier, the point of this isn’t to paint a better future, but a practice in being present and aware of the grandiosity of various phenomena we perceive as constant.
But, only change is constant. I hope you’ve seen the dots connecting, I hope your proverbial ‘third eye’ has begin to unravel, the noose loose, wriggle free from the guillotine.
All the images in this article are gotten from Monochrome Lagos.