Is Nigeria Really “None Of” Your Business?
Nigeria's script played by Nigerians:
Nigerian Politician, alias “Mr. Genesis”: Since the British left, I've been in politics one way or the other and its corrupt platform enabled me to squeeze out more than enough for my children and their lines yet unborn. So, you see, I'm not concerned anymore, as you may still wrongly imagine, whether Nigeria moulds or melts; it's none of my business. After all, my family is overseas in one of my mansions. Oh! I love America and Britain.
Usman: As long as I am at the top of what's going on in the polity and an advantaged beneficiary of the federally-arranged loot of public funds, I'm OK. So far, I'm not sure if my lineage will ever be able to finish up my wealth-I have them is Swiss, USA, Britain, Saudi…everywhere. I'm very rich and you are not richer than me. Who cares if Nigeria burns and for what? All my children are aboard, anyways.
Gbenga: Sometimes, you people make fun of yourselves; how much do you have, in the first place? See, I know how to play my cards well; I know how to rub Mr. Genesis to pay Usman, and how to rub Usman to pay Mr. Genesis; but my profits always outweigh. You see, no matter how poor I get, I'll never be as poor as Dangote. So, how does Nigeria concern me in any way? I don't care!
Okeke: That's why I've said that you all are very wicked, selfish and lazy… and yet you call me names. I don't have to wait for government money or good governance in other to make money-I'll look for money anyhow, anywhere. This country has deprived me so much, so, I'm going my own way-I'll manufacture anything, travel to everywhere, do all kinds of deals, enter every hole as long as I can find my own money there. And so far, I've made enough for my family and myself-enough to build me a house with fence so my neighbour won't have to disturb my peace. Do you think I care about Nigeria anymore? I don't! To hell with Nigeria!
Tsebor: You cannot cheat me even though you think I have nothing to say. I'm watching you and waiting for my time. You think I'm saying yes to you because I believe in you? You must be joking. As you milk Nigeria, I milk you while I still wait for the time to overthrow you. To tell you the truth, neither you nor Nigeria matters to me-all I care for is my schemes and I've made so much from them. Why do you think I'll starve because of Nigeria? It's true that it seems like I'm kneeling down before you, but in my heart, I'm standing upright-taller than you. I don't care, Nigeria is not my business.
Iniobong: Do you mean Nigeria? I'm tired but what can a minority like me do? Thank God we have oil and my brother is Ekaette and my uncle, Etiebet. Honestly, I feel like changing my name but I won't. I will sit and wait, I will sit and watch-Ntiense. So far, the way politics is run in Nigeria gives me money and I will not give it up for anything or anyone. Anybody in the majority is my favoured candidate-that's how I survive. Nigeria is not my problem right now. Please, leave me alone. Yak mi!
Niger Delta Man: You people speak long grammar. As long as we receive the amnesty fund and I get mine constantly, I do not care if Nigeria is in the skies or in hell. You talk too much; me, I don't talk too much-my gun talks for me. But if Nigeria gives me the money I ask for from time to time, that would be my only care; otherwise, is Nigeria the name of a person, place or thing?
Boko Haram: Nigeria? We will never take it. It's either our man or Nigeria will burn; Infidels will never rule us. We are ready for war anytime, anyway. Unless the presidency comes back to the North, we will destroy everything; we will burn churches and mosques, and we will kill anyone we want to kill. In fact, we will make Nigeria ungovernable for this Infidel called Jonathan. We did not vote for him, so he cannot be our president. Even though we hate western education, we will use western weapons to keep on creating panic in Nigeria. We do not care who or what Nigeria is, all we want is our man on that seat-nothing more, nothing less. And when he enters, we can reclaim “our father's estate.” We do not believe in Nigeria. Shikena.
Commercial Driver/Okada: Why do you look at me this way and ask me about Nigeria as if I'm the one who destroyed it? Go and ask those politicians, those thieves. I drive my “Molue” and I ride my “Okada;” thank God I can still feed my family. And some lucky days, passengers leave things behind. Did you ever think I would take them to the police? They would arrest me and charge me for robbery. God punish this country! Leave me, my bus don full!
Police Woman: Abeg, make I hear word; na grammar I go chop? U no sabi say police woman follow dey rub cream? Roger me now or…Well, Mr. Journalist, as I was saying before this thief interrupted me, I really thank God o. If it's not this police work, I would still be a prostitute and my father doesn't like that. I make money here and my fiancé, that Inspector over there, is really sharp-if only you see how he controls the posts (Please don't tell him I was once a prostitute, he doesn't know even though we met in a hotel before he helped me into the police force). They call him “business man.” So, together, we make a lot…plus our stupid salary. Politicians don kill us all, wetin again you wan make I talk? Nigeria na good country sha and we want it to remain like this so we could make more money because our wedding is fast approaching. Hei! Stop there, you thief! Park right there and come down, hands up! Whose car is that? If you move, I shoot! Journalist, please don't mind me, na de way we dey take chop o.
Nigerian Woman: I'm talking to you about “gender inequality” and you are asking me about Nigeria. Do you think that I care one bit? Have you not seen how gender equality campaign is lucrative in the western world? Why can't a woman do the things a man does and the man do the other-like bearing children? God must be a sexist. Right now, nothing matters to me than fighting men everywhere; they are so proud and arrogant. Who told you that God made men to be the head or are you saying this because you are a man? I see you are a sexist. Please get out of my sight this moment or I'll tear my cloth, start shouting and accuse you of attempted rape; you know what will happen to you, don't you? So, don't spoil my business-this is how I make my money. Men have caused me a lot of havoc so I will make them pay. Who cares about Nigeria? Men spoilt it. Get away from me, wicked sexist!
Armed Robber/Kidnapper: Whether Nigeria is good or bad o, I must chop. You no see, I know how to make my money. Don't ask me too much, I don't know if you are a spy. I don't care who or where Nigeria is; since these leaders have spoilt my life, I will use any means to get what I want, and that includes raping and killing people, if I have to. I have money; can't you see my gold chain? I'm tired of Nigeria, piss off!
Student/Youth: I like myself, I'm a “runs man” and I make money for myself and my babe. Nigeria is a mistake. How I survive? Well, like I said, there are so many runs here…in this college and this city. I will not explain further, but as you can see, I'm living fine. Nigeria doesn't give me anything, so don't ask me that question. I even pay a lot for school and receive only strikes…most times. Right now, I think I don't want to graduate. There are runs here and I make money, but if I graduate, I don't know if I will ever find a decent job. Hei, it's time for our usual class without lecture; nice speaking with you. What's that your name again?
Religious Leader: Our Lord said we should be as wise as serpent and as gentle as dove. You know, these are the last days and we must not concern ourselves with earthly things. Do you mean my mansions and cars? Oh, God has been good to me. You know, a man who waters must be watered also. When I started I had nothing, but now I have many cars and houses. My children are abroad, studying. God has given me people and I can never lack. Hallelujah! Well, Nigeria belongs to God and he will do with it as he pleases. We should not criticise our leaders because it is not good. I don't criticise them; in fact, I have many friends among the governors and ministers. I'm even waiting on the Lord to open the door for me to see the president. Meeting with him will boost the awareness of my ministry; it's good for my congregation since ministry is becoming highly competitive (off the record, please). And don't forget that “the kingdom of God suffereth violence and the violent taketh it by storm.” (On the record now) God bless you, and thank you for the seed faith.
Internet Fraudster: I know that what I'm doing is not good but what else do you expect me to do? What other choice do I have left in this damned country? Look, I graduated with 2nd class upper five years ago and I've not been able to find a reasonable job. They always demand for 3-5 years work experience, but how can I ever get any work experience if they do not allow me to work? That's why I thank God for this Internet business; now I'm a big boy-maga dey drop steady. God punish anybody who is against 419; u wan make I chop wetin, your head? See, you are here criticizing me while my pastor is always praying and fasting for me to get rich “magas” and pay “God” my tithe. He's a hustler, my pastor is-no dulling. Naija na my country sha, we go dey shake town. You wan sip beer with me before you waka, eh?
Drug Trafficker: Well, all I can say is that it's not easy but I make it; God blesses and protects me. All this noise that government makes about drug trafficking is bullcrap. They themselves consume these drugs, let's face facts here. And even if it were not so, what do they want the youths to do? I can't be an armed robber, I have no job, and, unfortunately, I'm not a politician; how else shall I make money? Look, those that say my business kills people are lying, my business actually does the opposite. By the way, I make money-a lot of it, and that's what counts to me. Those drugs law enforcement agencies can go to hell for all I care, they will never catch me. I have men of God praying for me and I have many “Babalawos” monitoring my routes-nothing dey happen. Those people caught trying to enter Malaysia with drugs are small boys in this game-they don't know levels. And that poor one who died onboard a plane with ingested heroine simply died in his time; everyone must die someday, right? It's sad, but to me, he was a drug hero who died on the warfront. Forget Nigeria. What I'm thinking about now is how to finish my hotel building; I don't care about Nigeria, it's too late for that now.
The Poor/Less-Privileged: My brother, I thank God that I'm still alive. If the air we breathe is bought with money, our leaders would not spare any for me and my children. Look at that one-she has been sick for a week and the doctor demands for a deposit of N5000.00 but I don't have that amount of money. In fact, I've not touched such money for a long time and I don't know where to get it. We have been surviving and I believe that God will “give us this day our daily bread.” As for this child, if she dies, then God has taken away because he is the one who gives. Nigeria caused all these since they closed down the railway business where I used to work, and left us with no benefits. I have no one to speak for me but God will judge them. I will never forgive Nigerian politician, even in my grave! May God bless me o!
Journalist: I love my job but I don't want to become another Dele Giwa. I support the ruling party, that's modern journalism. No one wants the truth, so why put yourself in danger trying to reveal it? Sometimes, what they call “bribe” is nothing but “a gift of understanding extended from one friend to another;” that's how I see it because my friends in politics have really extended these gifts to me a lot. Nobody really wants to hear the truth and, believe me, the truth will tear this country apart in a day. You know, we know so much. Presently, I concern myself much with “fair journalism,” I do not get in anybody's way. That way, I can make money without making enemies. Forget your definition of Journalism, it doesn't apply to Nigeria. But, off the record: Nigeria is a mess, and the citizens are living in hell. I know many politicians and the evil they do, how and where they stash our money-I have all the proof to back up my claims. But, thank God, I'm not the Messiah. Even Jesus Christ was killed by the very people he came to save. In fact, on the record, Nigeria is the giant of Africa, and we are moving forward, despite what people may be thinking. It's been nice speaking with you, comrade.
This is just a sketch of the picture of Nigeria, Nigerians, and the story that goes. No one cares, no one really cares; so, it's “to your tents, oh Israel! No one, from the bottom to the rooftop, really cares which way Nigeria goes. Some who would care have no relevance. Underneath every claim of "I don't want to get involved, let them be and let me be" lies an insatiable appetite for greed and selfishness. Not even our experiences and poor history have proven anything to us yet; we have all been blinded by selfishness. Selfishness was what we borrowed from the British but have now refused to send back. Like every living thing, countries have life. But when improperly attended to, decay sets in from the roots below. Nigeria is decaying and everyone says, “It's not my business.” We should be observant enough to have noticed that, as a country, we are headed for nowhere but the pit of nothingness if the status quo remains; and when the country implodes, those outside will not see just buildings on top of others, they would see flies buried alongside corpses. If the traditional rulers claim to know their work, they should have spoken by now. If the religious bodies claim to be the shepherds, they should have had enough of what goes on in the lives of their flock which was a direct result of the filthy political air. If the mothers who know the pains of labour still care, they should have begun proving to men how much helpless and hopeless a world without women would look like by gathering themselves together and saying a big no to the evil leadership of the country. If the students/youths care a bit, they should have organised from school to school, a mass protest against all the wickedness in the government which tell on them so much and so clearly. If the NLC claims to be representing the labour force-all those contributing to the building-up of the nation while few politicians tear every block down- they should have called all their members off every site and office and into the streets and on roads, protesting and demanding a total overhauling of the system-demanding not to get off the streets and roads until and unless their demands are met. If those who call themselves elders, fathers and god-fathers are not of the devil, they should have started calling for a Sovereign National Conference (SNC) because they know that only that could ever address the many faults and failures in Nigeria. No sane elder sits in the house and watches a goat deliver its young while a rope is still tied on its neck. If those who call themselves lawyers, Esq., lawmakers, and all other beautiful names claim to know what their oath is, who a lawyer is and what their roles are, they should have demanded, from the A to the Z, a revisit of the entire constitution; they should have stood out and demanded for a SNC since the core of their duty is to defend to the last the rights of humans and the rights of justice. If the journalists claim to be reporting on the truth, they should have known that the power to change the nation lies with them greatly, and instead of turning themselves into political errand boys on pay-rolls, they should have used the mass knowledge in their reach to expose all evil and bring the needed change.
Silence and nonchalant posture will never suffice. A farm left unweeded will spring forth weeds in their varieties. A Sovereign National Conference must be called for and held; the usual copy and paste, cut and paste, and cut and bind renovations going on with the constitutions will not suffice either. An open audition must be carried out on Nigeria, and fast. Until this seed of selfishness which has grown into a forest of deadness is uprooted, Nigeria will experience an implosion like never recorded in history. To every Nigerian: Selfishness is smallness in its smallest measure. Instead of thinking and acting selfishly, let's broaden our concerns to consciously accommodate Nigeria and what becomes of it. Instead of lying down, as satisfied or helpless as a snake that has just swallowed another, let's remember our true posterity. Whenever God came to help His people, it usually was because He "heard the cries" of His people. Silence in the midst of evil indicts even the righteous; that's why, in the Bible days, God's punishment usually fell on an entire country because no one cared what happened-not even the priests. No house built on selfishness will stand the test of time, let alone shelter your generations unborn. No ill-gotten wealth will grant you the satisfaction and security every soul comes to earth yearning for. Until tougher stance in favour of positive economic and political change becomes convincing and deeper, the rich and powerful in Nigeria will be driven by the wheel of their silence and selfishness into becoming the Mubaraks, Gaddafis, and Assads of Nigeria; and unless the cries of the poor, downtrodden, deprived, falsely accused, maltreated, and marginalized in Nigeria become louder until they overflow the banks of the Nigerian map and into the international sphere, many, as Libyans, will run from Libya into Tunisia, and many from Syria, into Turkey. How is the life of a refugee better than your rights as citizen of a true country, tell me? Obviously, everyone has a stake. So, get up today from wherever you are and speak to the government. Ask for a Sovereign National Conference. Ask for the rights of your children. Ask for it now, and make your voice count for this change!
By Ikechukwu Enyiagu, [email protected]