The Decadence of the Nigerian Fabric by Samuel Orujekwe
I never thought of writing this article until I pondered on the little but yet remarkable and stark experiences that I had today while at the Market. For over 2 months that I have resumed my stay at one of the largest market in West Africa, I have consistently learnt a lot of lessons. Let me share three of such experiences that I had today.
I was discussing with an HAUSA man on the recent published Army recruitment. I would have loved to apply for some basic reason but somehow I felt the pay would be too small to survive in this country. The Hausa man laughed at me before replying me “You think say na your salary you go use chop? You go thief na”. I quickly replied him that not all persons would love to engage in dubious means to survive including me. He hinted me that He understands what I’m saying but quickly pointed out that I would have to join the stealing because almost everyone will be stealing and I cannot afford to be different. I withdrew and pondered on such mindset that one cannot survive in this country through honest means. Without mincing word, this mindset is present in the minds of many youths who want to join the Customs, Army, Navy, and even the Police. With this kind of mindset in the minds of many Nigerian youth, we are in trouble.
In the afternoon, I was inside my shop when a petit YORUBA woman was hurriedly brought in to sit on the chair outside my shop. She was selling pure water and was rushed to my shop because she was already fainting. She complained of heart burn and was advised to rest and probably go home. I thought she was going to rest for maybe an hour only for her to get up within minutes to continue her pure water hawking. I almost called her back but then I remembered the popular quote “na condition make crayfish bend”. It occurred to me that if this woman was financially buoyant she wouldn’t be hawking when she is ill. I thought of how she might have children at home who would expect their needs to be met not minding how the money is made. I thought of how paltry the income she would make in relation to her life hanging on the balance. I felt for her and I almost wept. It occurred to me that this woman represents countless Nigerians who groan in suffering every single day just to eke out a living. The same Nigerians who have come to understand that the Government doesn’t care about them but will still collect stipends to vote in thieves. Then my mind flashed to some Oga @ the top whose daily routine is to siphon national funds meant for the common Nigerian. This never made sense to me.
Later in the day, an IGBO girl who attends Caritas University called me. She was in her final year and was getting ready to write her final year project. She complained bitterly about how much she will have to spend just for her project. She said something around 100 000 naira and I asked her to break down the bits of the fund. She started by telling me that she would first ‘sort’ (bribe) her supervisor and before project defense she would have to sort all the members of the defense panel. I went berserk and was like ‘WTF’. She told me that it was the norm and she has to do it. Now if this is actually the norm in that University, I might not be wrong to surmise that this same girl and a majority of the students would have sorted all their courses and tomorrow they would be drafted into the Nigerian society as a graduate. It is needless to ask if her contribution to Nationhood will be positive or negative.
As I reviewed these 3 experiences at home, it occurred to me that on a daily basis, the fabrics that hold us as a Nation continues to experience wear and tear. As a Social Engineer, I am quite aware that there are institutions that must be functional and stable for any society to survive. In Nigeria these institutions are in a quagmire. Our moral system, our educational institutions, our welfare system, health system and our political institutions are all typical of a failed state. Can we truthfully state that the future is bright for our Nation, Nigeria? I doubt.
One of the hardest tasks to accomplish in life is that of changing people’s mindset and belief system which is why Sociologists are taught to believe that they study the most complex course among others. If Nigeria will ever stand on its weak feet again, one of the hardest tasks of Nation builders will be on how to change and reposition the mindset of over 170 million Nigerians. Lord strengthens my faith in a NEW Nigeria. Daalu nu
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