He comes inbox to call me an idiot.
Of every 100 compatriots who insult me gratuitously, I ignore 99 on the ground that it is the price to pay for a life spent sending my mouth daily on weighty errands in the public sphere.
I tell myself that it comes with the terrain and someone who puts himself out there as much as I do must understand that insults are always to be considered water off the back of a duck. That way, the insulter has wasted the effort and the time of his or her life it took to compose and hurl an insult in the direction of someone who considers insults inconsequential.
At other times, in ignoring the 99 insulters, I tell myself that they can be excused on account of the fact that dysphoria and conniption have for decades been indissociable from the Nigerian condition. They are just being perfect examples of the said condition.
Then there is the 1 insulter I decide not to ignore. Not ignoring him or her does not mean that I respond. It means I get sufficiently curious to see if a teachable moment may be rescued from the situation of such an intruder into my space and consciousness.
Why am I an idiot in the estimation of the fellow who writes to me this morning?
Teachers in Kwara state have declared a period of praying and fasting over their unpaid salaries. As is the case, always the case in Nigeria, they want God and Allah “to touch the heart” of the state government so that the Governor can “tamper justice with mercy” and pay their salary arrears.
In a Tweet, I advised the teachers to stop praying and fasting. I advised them to struggle instead to yank Saraki’s mouth off the nipples of Kwara state’s treasury. The way I see it, the day Kwara state is able to stop feeding Saraki’s single mouth, there will be enough funds for the remaining citizens of the state. For now, the treasury feeds only one mouth and that is one reason the state cannot pay teachers – among other pertinent reasons of course.
I had touched the young man’s political God, Bukola Saraki. Hence the note to call me an idiot. Standard practice in Nigeria to defend one’s political God at the expense of one’s life.
So, I dig a little bit into his situation.
Turns out the young fellow is a student of LAUTECH.
Do you know what is happening to and at LAUTECH?
LAUTECH is a state University owned by Oyo and Osun states. The workers are on strike. The students have been home for nearly seven months because the governments of Oyo and Osun have not paid any salaries in LAUTECH in nearly 22 months!
Are you getting the picture now?
This young Nigerian undergraduate has been home for seven months – seven months of his life and future wasted by irresponsible politicians – because the salaries that would guarantee his education have been stolen.
He returns home to Kwara state from school in Oyo state only to see that his own home state has not fared better. Salaries are also not paid and teachers are praying and fasting instead of teaching and building his generation.
And he is at home in Ilorin, wasting the remaining small part of his life that is not already being wasted by politicians to defend one of the politicians wasting the largest chunk of his life…
What are we going to do about so many of our folks, especially younger folks, who are wired this way? That is a question that preoccupies me a lot. What’s to be done about this young man’s psychology?
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