AN ADDICTION TO TOKENISM?
When unexpected breakdown of a vehicular engine leads one to board a rickety bus plying a particular route on Nigerian roads, there was little chance a particular commuter would forsee the experience as an opportunity to observe first-hand, yet another side of his countrymen.
Departure point: Sango, Ogun state.
En-route: some parts of Lagos state.
Destination: Berger bus stop, Akute, Ogun State.
A certain unobtrussive clean-shaven elderly gentleman sat quietly....albeit initially....in the front seat....beside the "danfo" driver. The bus which took some time in filling up, finally departed Sango for its appointed destination. The journey was relatively smooth until the bus crossed the rail-line at Abule Egba.... Then, two things happened all at once: a huge campaign billboard of the sitting governor rudely and suddenly intruded into the passengers' consciousness as the journey turned into a bumpy ride! The "road" transfigured into a linear island of "exotic" rocks and boulders! Why the serving governor would install his election billboard at this particular spot was as baffling as it was unsettling...as a cursory observer would wonder if Mr Governor was trying to "market" his frailities and failings to the electorate!
Then the elderly man grumbled aloud: "How can any sensible governor abandon a strategic road in this manner? Imagine the level of damage this bad road does to motor vehicles! These rulers do nothing to better our lives! All they do is tell us lies as they siphon our monies broad!"....in a rather hyperbolic tone.
The chorused reaction of his co-passengers was no less tumultous as it was spontaneous. They abused and insulted the commentator. They issued threats to him to mind his public comments about their "striving" and "trying" governor who they assured the quintogenarian would certainly be returned to office to shame his enemies and detractors! They reminded the elderly observer that the current governor is doing better than "OGD" who "did nothing for four whole years!" In their own wisdom, if OGD scored 0/10, his successor could as well score 2/10 and merit a distinction! They prayed God to preserve their governor's life so he could put finishing touches to the "good works he has started!" Of the several kilometers we travelled on the trip, Mr Governor's advocates could only cite the columns(pillars) of a particular bridge as the rare "exploit" of their ruler in that locale......also in four years!
These rulers understand our people quite well: They know they only need to show the citizenry tokens of performance to win their loyalty, admiration and commendation!
They know they would be sniffed at and villified if they do not steal in office.
They know they would be handsomely praised and rewarded with chieftaincy titles if they steal in public office.
A weird nation you would say....
....ever grateful for mediocrity....
....and addicted to tokenism....
Dr Tosin Akindele is a Lagos-based Medical Practitioner, a former Secretary of AGPMPN Ikorodu zone, a former Secretary of the Quackery Committee of AGPMPN Lagos State Branch, founder of Analytical Minds, a good health advocate and public affairs analyst.