‘So sick of niggas “I want money like Cosby” (Who wouldn’t?)
– Jay Z (Dead Presidents)
Nigerians have always had this penchant for believing in the impossible. At one point, this ability to suspend reality and invent ours was “cute”, as my friends would say. Someone has to point out this “miracle seeking” behavior is now becoming, not only destructive for us, but offensive to just and fair-minded people everywhere.
Take the recent Olympics for instance, where the government disbursed training funds barely four months before the games were to begin. How did Nigerian sports officials expect that they could come home with a medal when their athletes, coming off four months of preparation would be competing with athletes who have been training for the last four years? One would certainly hope nature will never be so unfair as to deliver such undeserving upsets. The entire premise of the Olympics is that diligence and preparation are rewarded with medals. A Nigerian medal with such poor preparation is not only nearly impossible, it offends the Olympic spirit.
We should also consider our ordinarily learned ICT minister’s alternate reality where Nigeria solves its low computer penetration problem by “manufacturing” cheap hardware locally? It still beats me how she imagines this will be possible given even America, the world’s technology leaders haven’t achieved it yet. Does Johnson really expect local Nigerian manufacturers, most of whom actually ‘assemble’ computers as opposed to ‘manufacture, to succeed where the world’s greatest technological centre has failed? More importantly, given the immense investments in capital and human resources the Chinese have sunk into building themselves out to the world’s cheapest and best supplier of computers, do Nigerian computer assemblers’ really deserve to succeed in this arena? Won’t their artificial success in this area blind us to the real issues with technology education and adoption in Nigeria? Again, the miracle Omobola Johnson expects here is not only impossible but undesirable.
The same theme continues in so many other aspects of our polity where policy makers are hinging critical policy implementations on mere wishful thinking. Is it the laughable vision 2020 or the National Assembly’s insistence on 100% implementation of a budget much higher than the executive asked for, or the CBN’s insistence on defending the naira amidst its many pressures, we see Nigeria express the same silly insistence on increasingly less pragmatic solution. Little wonder, we have to worry God so much for “divine intervention”.
This behavior is certainly not the exclusive preserve of politicians and policy makers. In many ways, it is a reflection of our deeply religious culture. Even as individuals in our day to day lives, Nigerians are fond of celebrating their unjust miracles; from passing exams we didn’t prepare for, to “finding” money we never worked for, to “winning” elections we didn’t campaign for, the Nigerian’s enamorment with undeserved rewards is sickening. Our miracle-seeking lifestyle not only downplays and discourages hard work and preparation; it makes pure luck, as opposed to diligence, the standard of Nigerian success.
I think it is time we as Nigerians change how we think about opportunities and goals. When we encounter opportunities or set ambitious goals should not only be asking, “is this desirable?” especially because chances are it probably is, but more importantly, we should be asking, “do we deserve it?”
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.