Opinion: The wishful thinking that is Nigeria

by Matilda Orhewere

It is of paramount importance that Nigerians start to make conscious effort to aspire to higher heights on the ‘hierarchy of needs’ table.

Wishful thinking is indicative of the love for things one has neither worked for nor earned. Until some price is paid for something, desiring such benefits will remain an elusive mirage.

Many nations with strong economies and political structures have, at some point in their existence, fought bitter wars and made sacrifices in the interest of their country. It takes some advancement for people to come together as a country and make sacrifices to protect the ideals of their society. Making sacrifices without a plan or a template for proceeding is an exercise in futility because it will appear like simply groping about in the dark. Having a strategic plan worked out in the form of a template will be a guide to serve as a light in the course of the journey.

The generation of Nigerians that negotiated and contended with the colonialist for autonomy and self-rule of Nigeria by Nigerians rose beyond the level of satisfying their basic needs to attain the exalted level of nationalism and patriotism which were at the foundation of their struggles for the motherland. Many of them were imprisoned and brutalised by the government because of the stand they took against colonial rule. Many were blacklisted and victimised in employment, business and in almost every other area of life in Nigeria.

Nonetheless, they maintained their stand and kept the struggle alive until self-rule was attained. Sadly, however, after more than 50 years of self-rule, which has been plagued with religious and ethnic conflicts that culminated in the bitter civil war of 1966 to 1969, and so many other outbreaks of violence by way of militancy and insurgency, Nigeria has found it difficult to move beyond the position that it has reached as a nation.

One wonders why Nigeria has not risen above this level after so many years; especially as the country started out as a promising nation so much that Nigeria was tagged ‘the giant of Africa.’  It however turns out that the answer to the so many questions over this sorry situation is much simpler than the amount of thinking that went into the seeking. Studies in development psychology, especially on motivation, reveal that people at the lowest rung of the table tend to be unreasonable when their expectations are not met; and to a large extent, they will easily sway in the direction of what seems to provide satisfaction for these needs.

In essence, for a pittance, someone who is entrusted with a delicate responsibility will easily compromise his authority when he is confronted with a need that is not quickly addressed by those who delegate authority to him. Sadly, the largest number of the Nigerian population exists at the level of basic physiological needs. The very few who have come close to the peak of the pyramid is an endangered species in the Nigerian society.

A typical scenario is one where Nigerian football fans wish that the Super Eagles would win a football tournament that they have not adequately prepared for; and to worsen issues, the boys being entrusted with such a tedious responsibility feel no commitment to the team or the country. However, because Nigerians are good at praying, they believe that they are entitled to victory.

Nigerians are known to be highly intellectual and predominantly emotional; what is required at the moment is an honest confrontation of the image we see in the mirror and quit dreaming. A guide to assisting in attaining this reality is the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs diagram; an honest study will reveal unpleasant results. If we carry out a sincere assessment and determine where Nigerians as a people stand on the ‘hierarchy of needs’ table, we will have a better understanding of the reasons why it would indeed be dangerous to make available so much power without putting in place necessary checks to control the use of such power.

He that is empowered is not a powerful man; rather he is placed in a position of authority and expected to render account for how he has expended the authority that has been entrusted to him. He will do well to remember that people will ask and history must be written no matter how unpleasant the story may be.

It is of paramount importance that Nigerians start to make conscious effort to aspire to higher heights on the ‘hierarchy of needs’ table. There is a lot more to be gained by aspiring towards a noble way of living and conducting ourselves.


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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