Again! Nigerians, And The Stockholm Syndrome
Prince Charles Dickson
Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the President or any other public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. - Theodore Roosevelt
In the next few months to the end of the year, I have chosen to look at some essays that I have written about the state of the Nigerian nation. I do so to get us to reflect and peradventure we may begin to see through the veil. Sometime ago I examined the Stockholm syndrome as a psychological response sometimes seen in an abducted hostage, in which the hostage can show signs of having feelings of loyalty to the hostage-taker, regardless of the danger (or at least risk) in which the hostage has been placed. Stockholm syndrome is also sometimes discussed in reference to other situations with similar tensions, such as battered persons syndrome, rape cases, child abuse cases and bride kidnapping.
The syndrome is named after the Norrmalmstorg robbery of Kreditbanken at Norrmalmstorg, Stockholm, Sweden, in which the bank robbers held bank employees hostage from August 23 to August 28 in 1973 In this case, the victims became emotionally attached to their victimizers, and even defended their captors after they were freed from their six-day ordeal. The term Stockholm syndrome was chosen by the criminologist and psychiatrist Nils Bejerot.
In addition or in relation with the Stockholm syndrome, Nigerians are suffering expectation fatigue, we have gotten to the point where the available has not only become preferable but also acceptable. The band of ruffians called PDP has taken Nigerians hostage to a point we have feelings of loyalty regardless of the pains that they have put us through.
The system and structure called Nigeria through this 'regimented democracy' has been battered, abused and left in a state of neither here nor there. A leadership without purpose has resulted in systematic battering that has instilled loyalty in us so much so we say "they have tried", "Nigerians are difficult people", "they brought this and that...the unspeakable things we say about the successes of the present crop of leadership only shows that we are suffering the Stockholm syndrome. In the absence of better, no hope for the best, we gladly advertise our ignorance in just accepting the manageable as we are not even befitting for good.
Is it news that nothing works, we rejoice with so called corporate gurus that build depots to store imported refined petroleum products and banks that loan them money but refuse to give money for refineries to be built because off course one is more profitable than the other to the so-called entrepreneurs.
What is news that we have no electricity but we intend to export same to Ghana? Is it news that in parts of Lagos OPC was once hired to help share NEPA bills because of fear of consumers' reaction? Or that the Power Probe report may never be implemented? With the syndrome, Nigerians have no choice than to love a leadership that has denied them the basics of life. A government that has turned every right thinking Nigerian to a mad man, professionals to thieves and crooks, doctors to night room abortionists and barbers into carpenters with clippers. In our battered state, we wear PDP wrappers, AC headgears and DPP foot wears, so how can we complain.
I was with a group of doctor friends, many of them used unprintable words in describing this government, unfortunately a particular doctor was of the opinion that the government had done well, two weeks later that doctor had left the nation with his family, he now practices in the UK. This is a capsule of frustration that is suffered by the average Nigerian professional. We are the victimized but we have developed emotional attachments with the victimizers, we defend them at our own peril, regardless of the dangers, we wittingly believe that we have no choice.
At an interview with a State CEO Journalist were firing tough question at the man, sensing that his boss was being boxed, the media attach├ę quickly brought in some drinks and 'instantta' the pen pushers dropped their pens, recorders and interview was over. Reports on the pages of the paper next day could be imagined...shared loyalty, we have become part and parcel of the robbery, a partner in progress with a government that has taken its people hostage.
Unfortunately many of us will do everything and anything for this same bunch that has impoverished us, same people responsible for where we are today. Apologies though, we are confused but we have the sanity of mind to ask that our leaders take psychiatric tests, a man steals billions, most times this man is beyond 40 years, he steals so much that if he spends N50,000 a day he still will be rich 20 years after...what do we do as a people?
Our own Stockholm, a man steals, we give him a title Igwe Otunba Barawo II of Akalaland, a honors doctorate for sticky hands on government funds, we make sure he is always chairman, chairwoman and chair boy and 'thief launcher' inclusive and we think we are not part of the problem. It is this affection, this loyalty, these feelings that make it possible for them to continue to loot us blind, lead us deaf, tear us mute and cripple us with lies, lies and lies.
Nigerians need to take their destiny in their hands, nobody would do it for us, and all that we hear today are fake promises. When we ask for the truth, I am convinced it is not the truth we want, but an illusion we can bear to live with.
Today's economy largely is centered on energy, but alas woe betides a nation largely made up of illiterates, the Ministry for Education has the compliment of three Ministers but is it about number or efficiency and efficacy? Already we can see that with close to a hundred Universities, federal, state, private, quack, and professional.
One is baffled with the indices with which our economists measure growth, and inflation, and it is strange how progress is recorded in a nation that cannot boast world class industries in each of its State capitals. Portable water is essential commodity, access road is only imagined and not to be experienced.
One can safely conclude that our leadership has today not led with a sense of patriotism, very little has changed. We are still being held hostage, even to a point we do not seem to notice our present circumstance as one of a hostage situation. Nigeria belongs to us all and not a select few, we need to start to ask the relevant question, demand affirmative action and if we do not get such, embark on a necessary action.