I will just go straight to the point knowing you are a very busy person...
Sometime back it was all over the Western media- a survey that voted, selected, elected, nominated etc.... Nigerians as the most happiest people in the world - in the world? I found it quite ridiculous and so I laughed (being a Nigerian... comes naturally of course).
Well ,after a casual survey I discovered this about Nigerian's proclivity for mirth to be true, but happy...?
I am no medical person but Nigerians are afflicted by -with a rare condition called crying laughter ('laftus cryus in Latin, ' la mouche in French , dariyan karya in Hausa and so on), a very rare syndrome of course.
Cause? It is a condition in which one is entirely helpless, for some hopeless and in that situation, caught between a rock and a hard place... between the devil and the deep blue sea (or Abuja), Nigerians laugh - cry...
Nigerians look at the mace and see a gigantic phallic symbol representative of the rape, the violation they undergo each day and they laugh...
Nigerians look at the oily smiling faces of their governors every where - on NTA, local news networks, harnessed tabloids and in a flash recall that such a familiar face in a fast moving convoy almost ran them off the road and road side into the bush... killed their Christmas goat or chicken, ran over Bingo... so they laugh...
Nigerians listen to local news and Radio Nigeria and hear how government is going to..., about to, almost about to... (while farmers watch green corn turn yellow in fields and hear with alarm that fowls have formed an association to coordinate sale of their shit....). So they laugh at the Nigerian government.... English language practical - always in the present future (tense) 'going to...'
Nigerians look and look and cannot even get to see their councilors, senators who a year before visited by six A.M to share a bowl of 'akamu' and 'akara' but now are dashing past in newly waxed Cotonou or grade vehicles... and the village road hasn't tasted grading much less 'koro-tar'... so we laugh!
Nigerians keep on hearing daily, nightly... "Democracy dividends! Oh democracy dividends!" But are told "kai wait oh.... in five years, in ten years... four years is too early for you, graduate, to get that good job, to buy your old people new clothes, to help your juniors at home, your friends... to marry that fine babe (that a councilor or senator or governor will come and toast O!)... so we laugh!
Nigerians are so frustrated that minor differences, hitherto overlooked, between each other now become major altercations and at the slightest provocation Mamma Twins is asked to go and sharpen that machete, Dung goes for his shot-gun, Hajiya is asked to go and bring the bow and arrows... and so in places like Jos where before yams were roasted at street corners and suya too - people, human beings were hacked and burnt and dogs had endless days of their version of Mr. Biggs take- away....
Nigerians turn on their radios and TV sets and hear of 'a small misunderstanding' in the North, in the South and hear of two people, one dog and some chickens killed (not seriously killed) and destroyed... and are told (on local TV and radio) to go about "your normal business..." and they go about their normal business, then a father, a mother, a brother, a sister doesn't come home and then you turn on to BBC, VOA, DW Radio, Voice of China, Canada Radio International e.t.c and your hear of genocide in the North, in the South...
Mr. President, Uncle Sege... democracy dividends, better life for all, housing for all e.t.c... e.t.c... for Nigerians are all a national disbelief!
That is why Nigerians are laughing, crying..... happy?.
\"But I'm not just saying that any crazy idea is acceptable. The real talent isn't just tossing out 'mad' ideas - it's actually developing them to a point where they become workable solutions. Unfortunately, I think that some people are so put off by the apparent 'madness' of the idea that they never bother going on to that next vital step of development of the idea and finding out whether it truly is bogus or whether it has any legs.
So even though conceiving of change is hard work, it is something that has to be encouraged in any society that wants to progress. I sometimes think that it is because Nigerian society is so beholden to tradition and culture that it is in the sorry state it is in now. When the Europeans were asking themselves what lies beyond their shores, and what happens when you mix this powder with that substance, we were busy sticking to our culture. I get the feeling that if Christopher Columbus had presented his proposal to travel across the seas in search of a new continent in any of the old Nigerian kingdoms, his idea would have been condemned as 'mad' and he would have been told to "go and sit down".
But thankfully, there are still 'mad' people in Nigeria - people who continue to ask the questions that everyone either ignores or denounces. I salute you for your courage in persevering in a society where conformity is fashionable and independence of thought is viewed as an abomination. Anyway, I have to go now, because I have this wonderful idea of self-repairing potholes that I have to develop... \"
If indeed what you have painted is true, then there are serious issues involved and so the letter, in my own opinion has been adressed to the wrong person.
If from the ward to local , state and federal levels people are hepless and are being treated as you have painted then there are very very very serious problems. And your article implied a general state of affairs in our country, so if in the north where almost 75% of the people are muslims then the problem is not obasanjo but the people.
As muslims under any form of government, our social charter (as contained in the quran and hadith ) is clear on the issues you have raised. Every friday we are reminded inalah ya muru bil adli wal insan, wa itaizl kurbah ..... We are in the month of ramadan which time we are reminded of acts of charity and fulfilling obligations. (see quran 2:177 for the definition ) of the righteous in the sight of Allah.
My brother do you want to hear the truth? God is not happy with us because we have refused to listen to him and obey his commandments. Shikena. If another president comes tomorrow, they will send a copy of your letter to him with adjustment to the date .
Nice piece but with little added value as to cause or solution. Stephen i have quoted the quran because i sensed a strong northern presence in your article.