Of course, every leadership is a product of its citizenry. They do not fall from the skies. It is from amongst us that we ‘elect’ them.
The mood pervading the country is quite gloomy. Everyone whose origin can be traced to the geographical entity called Nigeria can be said to be in a somber mood. Indeed, it is expected of any well meaning individual. The air disasters of the weekend of June 3 will be quite hard to erase and you cannot begrudge even those crying more than the bereaved their right to ‘mourn’.
Nonetheless, time, they say is a healer of wounds. But I doubt if this can be said of those who lost loved ones in the crash. Take a look at the pictures of beautiful Nigerians circulating round the social media and you will erase any belief that they will be forgotten. But the circular Nigerians, those probably not so affected by the crash are going about their duties and casting the sad moments behind them. For example, not up to a week after the incident, Sanusi Lamisdo Sanusi, the Central Bank Governor was in Kano to take a title. Yet CBN lost eight members of its staff including Sanusi’s cousin in the crash. That is Nigeria for you. We have rained curses on our perceived enemies, caustic insults on the Indians who ‘permitted’ the ill-fated flight 0922 to take off despite ‘warnings’ of its unworthiness to fly. Blackberry broadcast messages distributing all manner of ‘confirmed’ report are gradually whittling away. In a matter of weeks, we would have forgotten June 3. Except maybe a year later when those who lost loved ones will start scrambling for spaces in our National Dailies to remember their lost ones.
But wait a minute, are we not tired of this rigmarole? Are we not tired of shedding tears and ‘pretending’ to be so hurt and then going back to our ways when the energy to grieve wears out? Apparently another huge tragedy occurs somewhere else and we re-garb ourselves of our mourning apparel and sing lip-service dirge, cursing the leadership of Nigeria. In all these chaotic cries, our only focus is how the political class and the powerful have ran us aground as a nation and made us a laughing stock in the international arena. Daily, the media is awash with news of pilfering politician, businessmen connected to high places who are carting away illegal license to exploit our common patrimony. Yet we fail to take at least, an introspective glance into our role in the set-up. You think we are absolved? False! You and I, the citizens of this nation are as guilty as the ones ‘up’ there who we daily accuse of ripping us apart and running the common till aground.
Of course, every leadership is a product of its citizenry. They do not fall from the skies. It is from amongst us that we ‘elect’ them. I keep asking myself why the constitution has not made a provision for the rejection of all candidates if found unsuitable in an election. It is from our ranks that those who rig elections come from. Those who aid and abet money laundering, round tripping and all sorts of stealing no matter the baptism name, come from among us. We look in awe when one of us suddenly ‘hammers’. We praise and hallow him. Suddenly, you see posters of the person contesting for an elective position. We applaud and hail. The hardworking amongst us are conscripted to the back seat or join the bandwagon. Politics and political business becomes the order of the day. No one seems to care.
The idea is not to remind us of what we know, but to ask us to wake up to our role as citizens; gate keepers of our common inheritance. We have done more harm to ourselves by keeping quiet or have we forgotten the power that we wield as the masses? Nigerians, we have failed as citizens. It is for this sole reason that our lot as a nation has refused to improve. We have become individualistic in our quest to live, relegating the tenets of common good to an animalistic instinct of living for self alone. Daily, our corrupt acts are sending someone in a remote village to his/her untimely grave. A poorly executed road is causing countless accidents. Let us even look at it from the job of the common Nigerian. A tanker driver, who fails to put his truck in order yet puts it on the road and bribes a Road Safety official in the process, has blood on his hands if such a truck is involved in a fatal accident. The same goes for a mechanic who will not put in the appropriate spare in car and enjoins his customer to drive a terribly repaired car. The carpenter, the plumber, the electrician, the salesman, the pharmacist who works for a drug counterfeiter, the media person who will generate and spread lies just to cover up series of sleaze and obfuscate issues. In our various offices, no matter how little, we are terribly guilty of the death of another person directly or indirectly, all in a bid to satiate our financial craving.
The sad part is that the pattern will not change hence, Nigeria, against our common hope, will not get better. We are going to transmit these attitudes to our children. We are already seeing the results on the youths who we are hoping will change the nation. Let us not hope for a better Nigeria until we learn to put common good before us.
Sadly, more crashes will occur, more lives lost before we come to this realization. The change we need is not from the government or those in power, it is from us who are the governed, the citizens. If we learn to hold them accountable for their deeds, I assure, people will think twice before seeking to hold office. Maybe then, life will make more meaning to those who hope for a better tomorrow.
For now, I see no hope of a better Nigeria!