NIGERIAN PEOPLE ARE THE PROBLEM DUE TO “NIGERIANTITIS,” A SOCIETAL HOMEGROWN SICKNESS
Nigerians apparently are the source of their massive problems, as a result of what could be called Nigeriantitis or Nigeriantiatis, a deep-seated societal syndrome. Nigeriantitis is viewed as a characteristic combination of a variety of familial, geographical, cultural, religious, social, economic, political, interpersonal and psycho-africalytic symptoms. The concept of Nigeriantitis, an all-out homegrown sickness, can be traced to the historical worry of Obafemi Awolowo upon the attainment of Nigerian independence in the 20th century. In his capacity as a nationalist, Chief Awolowo saw early on the signs of pathologies in value and ethics of the newly-formed independent nation, and these ills have now grown into a collection of ailing morals, integrities, consciences, beliefs and actions.
As a social or cultural syndrome, Nigeriantitis has deeply disfigured Nigerians' way of life and swelled in massive proportions to form entrenched pattern of behaviors. This syndrome exhibits visible signs of infection as it crosses through the various social, educational, economic, political, industrial, and governmental aspects of society. Carried by one Nigerian after another, this systemic infection, in all of its forms, is kept in a constantly active state.
As Nigerians who have all been affected with this sickness, we continue to “infect” each other as we mingle at home, at school, on highways, in vehicles, workplaces, hospitals, churches, religious settings, and all other places where we meet.
Under this influence and under our breath, we enter the labor sector, the public and private work settings, and as well as from the lowest to highest levels of political, economic, religious, educational leadership, continuously infecting and acting out these symptoms against each other.
As such, the national community remains chronically ill with problems like incompetency, despondency, dishonesty, viciousness, unsteadiness, and unmaintainable infrastructure.
This disease has choked all of us to the extent that it has formed a chain around everyone's neck. Our children watch as we carry this disease around with us, and in the process, they too become predisposed to this disease, keeping it growing and spreading, on and on without end.
With our rising population, this syndrome has become a chronic pressure on our polity and governance structure.
What do we do to flush it out of our bodies, and to eradicate its devastating effects on our minds?
Since this is a national disease, we have to take a societal approach to deal with this monstrous disease. As a socially and culturally-based contiguous and entrenched illness, fighting this epidemic, that has spread much like the pattern of an infectious diseases and has now become unbearable for the nation, will require the collective determination and shared efforts on the part of all of us.
The people have the internal resources to deal with Nigeriantitis in its epidemic form, so as to put an end to its devastation on the psyche of our people and our society. While there is no immediate cure for Nigeriantitis, it is treatable by creating changes in one's own spiritual, physical, psychological, social, and economic character and functioning. Once the changes are made on an individual level, the “treatment” is continued by each one telling someone else, especially someone close to you, that through your own observations and feelings, you have rejected this illness from your spirit, mind and body.
With a new mind set, the further cultivation, exposure and spreading of Nigeriantitis can be permanently halted, and with healing in many, if not all, from this condition, as we work together towards a healthier society for the betterment of the next generation.
Dr. John Egbeazien Oshodi is a Forensic, Clinical and National Psychologist and a former Secretary-General of the Nigeria Psychological Association.