Of TV Breaking and Other Nigerian Wahala /Source: http://www.lasugarlace.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/WAHALA.jpg

My friend returned to Nigeria after an absence from that country for eight years. Before his return, each time I tell him about the typical Nigerian behavior (both the individual and the collective humanistic attitudes, which contributes to our underdevelopment) plus the last impression (if, experience) I had of Nigeria in the few weeks before my departure (a reason I do not want to visit Nigeria anytime soon until that last impression I had wanes, supposedly) from the country, my friend always told me that he thought I was being too critical of the Nigerian existential reality.

Whenever I discuss Nigeria, some of things that worry me the most are not things that I see can be easily corrected by just the good leadership, which we may have found in President Buhari. My fear for Nigeria is that the country has been so devastated by so many years of romance with immorality at the very simplistic, individualistic, and familial levels of society that the election (as president) of just a-one-man-army of integrity who will live in Abuja for four (at most, eight) years can hardly make a significant difference. When a country is so morally bad as Nigeria, it takes years of a Buhari succeeding another Buhari and another Buhari succeeding another Buhari, ad infinitum, before you MAY begin to see a difference.

Now, how has the Nigerian attitude affected my friend this early, after his return to Nigeria? My friend had this television he bought in England and shipped to Nigeria. The amount of money he sacrificed to get that TV plus shipment charges is quite a fortune. Less than an hour after installing his TV at home in Nigeria, a man came to his house and said he wanted to see the ‘back’ of the TV so that he could ascertain if my friend’s TV is the same with the one he saw elsewhere. While my friend told him that there was no need to see the ‘back’ of the TV, the guy insisted that he wanted to see it. As my friend put it in Fulfulde, “o vi sam sai to o laari baawo TV mai!” And in the process of seeing the ‘back’ of the TV, he pushed the TV on the floor and that was the end of its life.

Frustrated, my friend called me to narrate this unfortunate incident and to further affirm to me that it must be because of attitudes such as this that makes me to keep complaining of my unwillingness to return to that country very soon. My greatest surprise is, why do you have to look at the ‘back’ of someone else’s TV? Some people in Nigeria are so terribly ‘inside out’ that although people elsewhere in the world are more concerned about those affairs that take place at the ‘front’ of a TV, a Nigerian is more concerned about the ‘back’ of a TV and how it looks.

When I asked my friend, so what now: is the guy going to pay for a new TV after seeing the ‘back’ of it, and destroyed it? My friend replied in the familiar Nigerian hashtag, “I cannot tell him to pay for the TV because the guy is so pauperised that even if you sell him, you cannot realise the worth of the TV.” How unfortunate!

Now you tell me that Nigeria will be fine because Buhari is providing good leadership in Abuja? Buhari as president can help you to change so many things that are wrong with your country, but what he cannot do to you is that he cannot teach you that if you go to your neighbours’ house, you shouldn’t look at the ‘back’ of his TV. Buhari cannot tell you to simply limit your gaze and your curiosity to the ‘front’ of peoples’ TV. These are etiquettes you have to teach yourself.