Nothing Personal

Twenty-one century ago, Dionysus, the ancient thinker, said these words, "It is a law of nature, common to all mankind, which time can never annul nor destroy, that those who have greater strength and power will always bear rule over those who have less". Inasmuch as this is true, more so in Nigeria where the political leadership of the country is somewhat recycled within the same block, its application to this theme is not intended to be political or tribal. It is an effort to address the vexing problems our country is facing, which annoyingly are watered down by those that shout the loudest. They are the ones only heard; unfortunately influencing our collective reasoning; they control the media and are highly opinionated.

I often wonder how the future historian in the calmness of his study will analyze this generation's propensity for ignoring the obvious while it dwelt only in palliatives. The proponents of the act of personalizing-every-issue in Nigeria are, unfortunately, extremely educated people, formal education that is. This is a betrayal to the citadel of learning whose gate they walked through. Higher education ought to have ground these elements in free thinking. What has the ivory tower done to Nigeria? It appears that coming out of our university gates leaves the graduates - Nigerians - more confused on nationhood and nation building.

How can we have so many products of citadels of formal learning, yet we have no light, no water, no good roads, no rail, no decent public transport, sorry healthcare, crazy level of inequality and crazy level of insecurity? Every nation relies on these products, to place their society at the next level in human evolution. Worst still, is the quality of reasoning, and that is where it is most unfortunate. There is a sense in nationalism and identity, but not in the face of non-discriminate lapses in our developmental life. There is no tribe or section that can boast of constant power supply or good roads or any standard of living that is worth mentioning.

In my opinion, it has become our way of life to put a tag of individuals, tribe or section on every issue that concerns all of us. These are vexing problems this country is facing. Let us take the lingering issue of the Niger Bridge, for example, which honestly should be no fewer than three or four bridges across the River Niger around that location; why is the argument, not on its merit? Why must it be argued as palliation towards the people of the Southeast? So many inadequacies in our society are merely watered down by the assumed intentions of those that project them. In this time and age, we still don't have regular power supply, and the roads are bad; yet we are not consumed at the same level of passion and valor to discuss these issues as we did on the letters, to and fro, written by a former landlord at Aso Rock and the current Lord of the Manor at the same Rock.

Well, societal vexing and important issues perhaps don't sell as much; at least they don't sell newspapers. Before blame are laid squarely on the media for this phenomenon, one should remember that the majority of Nigerians who patronize these newspapers or the electronic versions enjoy the role of being the victims; our psyche egotistically demands a villain for our sorry lives and not the sorry life itself. There is always somebody to blame. Those amongst us that specialize in personalizing issues then take it from there and make a meal of it. They know we love sensational stories of personality persecution; looking for whom to crucify. At this juncture,  the real issues don't matter any longer.

Our nation is rich and should be resourceful, but presently it is not; populous, and ought to be progressive, but it is not. Where is our propriety if we are not courageous enough to stand for the rights of fellow countrymen from wherever they come. Our attitude of not facing squarely our problems has led to no-power, buy a generator; no water, dig borehole; potholed road, drive around it; low-quality-education, send children abroad; unsafe transportation, buy private jets; poor health institutions, go on medical pilgrimage abroad -  latest is to India; insecurity, first it was burglar proof and fences -now street gates. In all of these weighty issues that tend to throw us back to the Stone Age, we still point fingers at individuals, tribes and sections of this great land as being culpable. The future historian sure has a daunting task to clear our generation of suffering from mental illness.

A former Vice President stated recently that each constituent in Nigeria, going its separate way does not guarantee freedom. I agree with that. These people think because they have amassed wealth illegally from our common purse for self, they can now own their own separate country. They are being driven by the ego of wanting to be the only fish in the pond, that is among their own people; except if it is proven that they have cheated and stolen from the centre or the collective system on behalf of their people and not for self. Before I digress any further, the political elites are not to blame; they are only playing to the gallery. The supposedly intelligent ordinary members of our communities  are to blame.

The future of this country is not in the hands of the political class alone, but the direction of what the people want - particularly the teeming youths. There is no household without a graduate or someone in higher institution of learning. We go to school together, ride on the rickety bus together, go to prison together, live on the same street together, we go to the same market, we sleep with no light without discrimination, no water without discrimination, the armed robbers also do not discriminate, the ugliness of the sights of okada and danfo buses does not discriminate, the ugliness of the sights of unpainted houses and general low level living does not discriminate. If we have these many inadequacies in common, then what are our differences. It is time for those supposedly intelligent people in Nigeria to start seeing things objectively.

God bless Nigeria!

Samuel Akinyele Caulcrick.