Are Nigerians Just Lawless?
News items often feature bad roads....very bad roads... roads so deplorable that motorists are held in traffic in excess of three days as they struggle to navigate the gullies therein!
A road may be bad for many reasons: poor construction, inadequate maintenance, inclement weather, destructive citizens... I would lean more on the latter factor in this treatise. That is...how we as citizens by our individual and collective actions, cause our roads to be bad.
Each time I see fellow Nigerians display their wares on pedestrian walkways or furtively throw their refuse inside drainage channels, my reflex inner response is: "why are these people so indisciplined?"
Yet, the question is...are Nigerians so necessarily indisciplned? Why would an adult citizen compulsively and determinedly dispose his refuse in gutters in spite of government's efforts at enlightenment on the dangers of doing so? Is it some innate tendencies of our citizens to be crude that leads us to be so uncouth to fellow drivers on our roads...or throw insults at other persons at the slightest excuse? Why is the average Nigerian always on edge? Why is he so rude...and so crude? Why is he always in such a hurry? Why is he always so angry? Why is he so desperate? Why would he think nothing of slaying his fellow countrymen? Why would he do anything....just anything for money?
Would someone tell our governments that Nigerians are not cheerfully mannerless...or incorrigible? That they are not necessarily ungovernable? That they are simply trying to survive under impossible situations? Situations created out of betrayal of the trust they repose in rulers who would rather steal than rule?
That citizens would continue to display their wares on pedestrian walkways but lay them on wide cloth or in wheel-barrows for easy "escape" from task force officials? That as citizens rob fellow citizens, it is government insensitivity that pushes them to do so?
That it is wicked for state governments to spend billions of naira to buy weapons for the police to kill our citizens while ignoring the societal imbalances causing abject want!
Would someone tell our government officials that only daft people aim to cure effects to cure causes?
A nation where governments argue so stridently why they cannot pay N18,000 as minimum monthly wage cannot by any modicum of rationality or logicality, ask its citizens to pay to dispose their refuse! Refuse collection must be a social service to be readily and cheerfully rendered free by government! It is illogical for our governments to copy the money-yanking policies of foreign governments but ignore the social and legal frameworks these foreign governments use to achieve the balances in their societies!
Times are hard...very hard. Things don't need to be so hard in a nation so naturally endowed, do they?
And this leads me to the sheer incongruity between capitalism and democracy. Of what essence is the vote....and toil...in the sun....and in the rain to get it....if there is so much inequality in the system...and such inequality is a matter of deliberate goverment policy...especially if thoroughly spruced and spiced by thievery by government officials?
Of what use is equality of the vote if there is so much inequality of resources if not sheer pretence...the bane of hypocrisy of the west?!
Dr Tosin Akindele is a medical practitioner and public affairs analyst.