Opinion: Nigerians will forget

by Lajubutu A. Lawrence

Caveat lector: This article isn’t going to provide you any new insight, it will probably not tell you anything you don’t already know and you probably do not need to read it.

Now that we have gotten that out of the way, let me start by saying that the essence of this piece is to emphasize (ad nauseam) that pieces like this are completely ineffectual in today’s Nigeria! I had written this article scores of times in my head; I’ve also read it several times over here and elsewhere and decided on the pointlessness of adding mine to the cacophony of voices already screaming themselves hoarse over the ineffectiveness of the Nigerian government and its agencies.

After all, what is new in one saying that the Nigerian government is corrupt, unimaginative in dealing with issues, and has been so over the years? Beyond (maybe) the choice of words, absolutely nothing! Tons of articles, commentaries and editorials on the web, in the print and from time beyond the reach of my memory have said the same thing. The sad thing is, nothing changes.

Personally, the real tragedy in this country is that we NEVER learn from the past, in fact we seem to possess an unfathomable predilection for forgetting the past quickly and moving on from it with stoic calmness. And no, this is not just a problem with those who ‘lead’ us, it is a problem with all of us. We (the led) are as likely to forget the letdowns of our leaders past/present as they are likely to learn nothing from it.

We do not seem to care much about the seemingly little things done wrong/left undone and only scream out in appropriate doses when issues reach a crescendo, after which it’s business as usual. Unfortunately what this has created is a system where those in authority do not have any real incentive to rise above the mediocrity that has characterized public life in this country.

If you need further pointers as to how little an individual’s past deeds matter in today’s Nigeria, please (re)read Akintunde Oyebode’s FrontPage Article “What’s in a name?” People who in saner societies would hide their head in shame never to be seen again occupy the front pews in our sanctuaries, are referred to as ‘leaders of thoughts’, have choice streets named after them and are given national honours to celebrate their fantastic failings.

It therefore wasn’t surprising when Dr. Reuben Abati reminded you and I how ‘caring!!!’ the president is by being at the scene of an air crash accident that claimed +/- 200 of the nations citizens. After all in 2002 when Gen. Obasanjo in all of his presidential splendor visited the site of the Ikeja bomb blast, (and told all present in no unclear terms that he did not have to be there but just came because he was in Lagos for other matters (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RnMP45F5YBM)) we said ‘Na gode Baba’ to him by giving him our votes at the poll 15 months later!!!

I was reminded of how very little our words, complaints, criticisms matter by the recent Dana calamity. I had just finished reading another YNaija FrontPage article “Quick Wins” when I heard the news. Published a day before the crash, a part of the piece read – “New airports and airlines, without increased safety, reliability, and low cost is no achievement”. Prophetic; only if someone in government listened/cared. Unfortunately, these words, albeit true, do not matter to the people concerned – here is what matters:

Come 2015 (yes I know things must get better between now and then), this government is cocksure that when it is time for the polls whatever they have done or left undone will not be scrutinised, the lives that have been lost owing to their ineptitude won’t count, we all not ask any tough questions, we would have forgotten the hurts and pains they have caused us and they would come to power again.

The question is – would we shock them? 


Editor’s note: Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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One comment

  1. Thank you for a succinct summary of one of our greatest flaws as a people. A short memory + sheer apathy, gives us a country in the state that ours is! We mostly blame the leadership, and absolve the "followership" of any wrong. An approach that is wrong and will continue to lead us astray! It is on all of us to remember, to ask the tough questions and to make our votes count! Good "followership" would mould the leadership!

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