NIGERIA: A Nation And Its Psyche



                                    NIGERIA: A Nation And Its Psyche





                                            By Emeka Chiaghanam

The collective mind of a people reflects what you see in their society. A pointer to the people’s way of life is to observe the activities going on around them. You extract the psyche of a nation from what runs in their country. The airports, seaports, or the boarder paints a bigger picture of what to expect in that country. From whatever point you enter Nigeria, you begin to feel a taste of what to expect.     
              
Nigeria to most people is a country full of energy and vibrancy, where many things can go wrong; others refer to it as a place of many negatives. Reasons not fetched, entrenched in most people’s mind is that things doesn’t have to follow its natural course, anything is permissible. The idea of an ideal society as obtained in other countries Nigerians praise to high heavens, but finds hard to replicate. An honest assessment from foreigners illustrates a disjointed and disorganized country and to Nigerians it is the normal way life.

According to a Congolese proverb, ‘a lizard in a country cannot be an alligator in another country.’ But that has not stated the obvious with Nigerians, when they travel out of the country most Nigerians conforms to the law of that land. They rather live with the adage when in Rome behave like a Roman and when back in the country they toe the line of the typical Nigerian mentality. The United Nations rates the country’s Armed Forces on peacekeeping mission high, but at home, the accolades are lost.

Road traffic is a huge challenge in the country. Confusion reigns in most urban roads in the country. Learners with the ‘L’ signs drive on the road even at night. Nigerians obey traffic laws outside the shore of the country but it is the opposite here.

Nigeria suffers socio-economic maladies primarily because of the citizens’ orientation. This forms the basis why President Muhammadu Buhari,, as the country’s head of state in 1984 introduced the War Against Indiscipline, (WAI). The programme intended to bring orderliness and discipline into the polity, the bane of the country’s development, but did not see the light of the day as his regime was short lived. No one knew, if WAI would have achieved its aim had Buhari’s regime not toppled.

President Buhari’s second coming as head of state in the current democratic dispensation has devoted much of its time fighting corruption in high places, which many argue has underachieved since corruption still pervades the country, not minding other myriad issues and the people’s psyche unchanged.

Popular opinion suggests the way we run our affairs indicates the country lacks direction, a nation that doesn’t plan, and occasional when it is does, is mitigated by many issues that are self-inflicting. The country structured socio-economic drive over the years suffered comatose. The citizens believe there is a government in place but not for them. The government on its whims or on the orders of those in charge rules as it please, reflecting the common psyche of the people.

Nigeria’s population keeps skyrocketing, with no affordable housing policy in sight. Individuals have taken up housing projects than the government. With regional and urban planning offices at federal and state levels, buildings and structures stands erected irregularly, towns and cities master plans distorted. People have shops and structures built on railroads. It is not uncommon to see buildings and structures erected on drainage and gutters.

 The government constructs road with uncovered gutters and drainage, yet for these drainage and gutters lacks proper channeling; hardly will you find sewerage for any village, town, or city in Nigeria, thus results to block and stinky drainage and gutters. 

 Every year, particularly during the rainy season state governments spends money to clear blocked drainage, money expended by various state governments on it would cater for projects that would benefit the masses. Across different states of the federation governments at different levels are constructing open drainage and gutters with no place to channel its waters. 

As most towns and cities lacks sewage, people results to building soakaways in their compounds, where there are no enough space, they build it outside their compounds. In some place, you find the soakaways built on the roads, where the owners lack space for it in their compound, and in some instances the content of these soakaways spills on the roads. The average Nigerian accepts this as normal.

Back in the day when things were a bit saner, many homes can boast of water from public utility, today most homes having borehole in their compounds. Water is a luxury. Nobody erects a building having it in mind to draw water from the Water Corporation. 

Every day particularly, in the morning in towns and cities across the country you see people carrying jerry cans, go outside their homes to get water for domestic use; this applies to those with no boreholes in their houses. Some people have employed the use of wheelbarrows to make the number of times less burdensome, others get water close to their neighbourhood, and not so for some people. To average Nigerian, there is nothing wrong with this, as it is a way of life.

The country’s transport system cries in pain. Most of the populace can’t take flight. Our rail system remains in comatose. The waterways in the riverine areas are the last resort for the people in that region, where boat operators ferry passengers in rickety boats. Road transport the most common means of transportation has more bad roads stares us in the face than goods ones does. 

Commercial buses are packed with passengers than the normal seating arrangement. Where and when the idea of removing seats that originally came with a bus and then replaced it with uncomfortable seats that seat more passengers started, no one can tell, but it is normal with us. Only in Nigeria do you see such.

Politics in Nigeria to many people is still a dangerous ground to tread on and with a common belief that most people go into politics for self-interest. For any election result, the end justifies the means and victory is all that matters. Politics is still rooted in rancorous atmosphere, with elections often is marred with violence.

Bad blood trails most elections in the country. Election year in Nigeria creates political jobbers out of many youths. Political jobbers are young men who are politicians’ yes men.  They carry out any assignment however difficult it poses. It is in Nigeria that a person who never won an election is declared winner. Your party or those behind your candidacy, commonly referred to as ‘Godfathers’ much determines your electoral success than your personality.

In this clime, most people see politics as a means to acquire wealth. It is a common knowledge that anyone who occupies an office is ‘made’. Electoral victory comes with pressure as the winner is expected to compensate some people; ‘settle them’ is often the common parlance here. People expect a person who won an election to settle the cronies of their godfathers’, where such is not applicable; the person settles those that contributed to their electoral success.

Electoral victory as declared by the election umpire never guarantees absolute victory as an election tribunal scattered across the country can upturn any election result. The trend is for the loser to go to election tribunal or court; because they stand a chance of being declared the winner, which any case supersedes that of the election umpire.

Nigerians are accustomed to darkness; constant power supply is a mirage. Epileptic power supply is a way of life. Many home connected to national electric grids have lived with no glimpse of light for months and yet pay for darkness. For many homes with occasional power supply, they are under the weight of ‘estimated bills’ from the power companies.

The bill often overshoot what a customer consumes. ‘UP NEPA’ thunders the air in jubilation whenever power supply is restored, which often doesn’t last long before another power cut sets in. It shames and embarrasses to see, even adults shout ‘Up NEPA’ the acronym for the former national electric power supply company. It is appalling that Nigerian hotels would advertise on cable networks like the CNN assuring millions of viewers of steady power supply, which ordinarily shouldn’t have factored in their advert placement. 

Get rich quick syndrome has pervaded the country; it is either you are rich or nobody. In this country, people love to worship money and positions. If you want to be relevant, you must have deep pocket. People accord respect based on your level of affluence. Honesty and humility will never earn the kind of respect or recognition that money does. How anyone makes money is no other person’s business. In fact, no one will ask you how you made your money they rather celebrate you. Conferment of chieftaincy titles tilts more on wealth and positions occupied.    

Here in this clime, looters of national or state treasury receives hero’s welcome on release from prison. It bewilder to see people whose economic fortune punctuated by treasury looters line up the streets cheering and singing praises of someone who contributed to their economic pain. In other places, it shames and lowers a person dignity to get convicted for corruption, much more celebrate them.

Nigeria treasury looters are not only welcome with ovation on release from prison, but finds easy integration into the society. On the street, you hear people say, “after all, it is government money.” The warm reception accorded looters encourages people to loot public funds. Plea bargain is another dimension that encourages looting. A person convicted of embezzling public fund, pleads guilty, in place of prison sentence, agrees to pay a token, and is acquitted.

The Yuletides are not period when people enjoys discounts for any transaction. Many companies do promotions with mouth-watering discounts for their products and service outside the festive periods. During the festive periods in Nigeria, we have it ingrained in our consciousness to prepare for the high cost of goods and services. Embarking on a journey at this period, particularly by road, could be annoying, the fare is almost doubled in most cases, and don’t expect any cordial relationship with most transport operators.

   
NIGERIA: A Nation And Its Psyche                                                 NIGERIA: A Nation And Its Psyche Reviewed by Emeka Chiaghanam on Saturday, January 06, 2018 Rating: 5

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