Nigeria: Sadists Were In The Saddle!
In 1999, when this writer and his course mates were in pursuit of their Masters Degree in Political Science, at The University of Lagos, and were with one of their lecturers: Dr Ologbenla, and were academically brainstorming on the key problems that are notable hindrances to Nigeria's development, especially as we were at that point discussing what Prof. Chinua Achebe had already posited and asserted in his small but seminal book: “The Trouble with Nigeria”, that the main problem is leadership (failure in the country). Indeed, therein the said lecture, our lecturer (Dr Ologbenla) made a stunning remark that stunned all of us present (and this writer has never forgotten his statement at that lecture since then). Unforgettably, he (Dr Ologbenla) said without equivocation and with all intellectual honesty that the key problem of Nigeria is: “Wickedness at High Places”. He said he has done his research as a Social Scientist (he has a degree in law too), and has concluded that because people (especially researchers) have not focused and identified the destructive effects of “wickedness at high places in Nigeria”, it will continue to cause immeasurable havoc on the socio-political and economic spheres of the country. Indeed, he (Dr Ologbenla) summed his verbal-treatise, by quoting a section of the Bible which when translated means: when the wicked are in power the people must suffer.
Furthermore, he quoted another Bible passage that asserts (when translated means): because of the lack of knowledge, my people suffer. Therefore, he buttressed his point, saying that because the Nigerian people (especially the intelligentsia) has not cared to identify the “wickedness going-on in high places in Nigeria” and proffer solutions to tackle it head-long—especially its destructive hydra-headed effects, it will continue to cause great damage on Nigeria's body-politic (i.e. if it is not dealt-with squarely).
In exasperation, this writer continues to ask all the time: What is the problem with Nigeria? Despite the fact that Mother Nature has endowed her with a lot of resources: manpower and material, she seems not to be progressing quantifiably and developmentally; why? The nation's hydra-headed problems seemingly defy lasting solutions since her independence from colonialism 56 years ago; why? Indeed, this writer with many other minds like him is confounded. To say the least, this writer and his generation (those born years after Nigeria's independence), continue to wonder why and why and why the solutions to some (if not all) of Nigeria's problems have remained insoluble (or do we say: unsolvable); and continue to be hydra-headed. Why? Could Dr Ologbenla's unique identification of the key problem as “wickedness at high places” be the crystal truth? Question, question and more questions? Nations that started with Nigeria in the 1960s (e.g. Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, etc) have long attained the medium-range status in development while the country, despite her great endowments, has remained at the bottom (Third World) level in developmental strides and status; Why? Maybe we have to start focusing on the “Wickedness at the high places” as the key cause of Nigeria's problems; so that the nation will start working-assiduously to kill the identified hydra-headed serpent. A friend of this writer has gone further to encapsulate the problems of Nigeria—especially her state of affairs since independence; saying unequivocally that it is because “sadists have been in the saddle”. Lets then concisely analyze this: “Sadist in the Saddle” in Nigeria (which is equivalent and synonymous with Dr Ologbenla's “Wickedness at High Places” theorem).
Indeed, let's define! According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary and Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, a Sadist is someone who engages in: Form of sexual perversion marked by love of cruelty to others; deriving of pleasure from inflicting watching cruelty; someone who enjoys hurting other people or making them suffer; when someone gets sexual pleasure from hurting someone. Saddle means: Seat for ridder placed on back of horse, etc, mounted, in office or control; a leather seat that you sit on when you ride a horse, a bicycle or motorcycle. In the saddle therefore means: in a position in which you have power or authority; controlling everything. Wickedness means: sinful, iniquitous, vicious, given to or involving in immorality; spiteful, ill-tempered, mischievous, roguish; very bad and formidable. High places means: upper ranks of an organization.
Let us then ask relevant questions as they emanate from the definitions above. Have people in high places in Nigeria—indeed the upper ranks (as defined) being perverted in their attitudes, policies and actions towards Nigerians or not? Have they not being cruel to other Nigerians—especially the down-trodden? Have they not being deriving pleasure from inflicting or watching cruelty being inflicted on Nigerians (due in the main because of their attitudes in governance)? Have they not being ridding the generality of Nigerians as horses, as bicycles and as motorcycles? Have their being in high offices or control of the socio-economic and political dynamics of the nation not brought remarkable “badness” to the ordinary Nigerians? Have those in the saddle (high offices) in Nigeria not being hurting and making Nigerians to suffer—especially because of their policies, attitudes and administrative actions and inactions? Have they not being in somewhat like sexual-orgy—raping Nigerians and their financial endowments (and commonwealth) through mind-boggling, mid-blowing and totally body devastating embezzlements; and enjoying it all—that is, in their perverted actions? Have they not being sinful, iniquitous, and vicious; given to or involving in immorality? Have they not being spiteful, ill-tempered, mischievous, roguish and formidable in being bad also to the masses of Nigerians in their administrative styles, attitudes, policies and actions? Have those in power since independence in 1960, not being behaving in ways that are morally wrong and evil? And have they not being behaving badly—in ways that can be considered very amusing?
Surely, the questions here-above, are for you and I as Nigerians to answer; and to answer them in the best way we can, so that we can defeat for once and for all (times) the devious-serpents of sadism and wickedness that has being attacking and controlling the mentalities of those in the saddle and high places in our country (Nigeria). What is required at all times is truth; because truth is always constant and cannot be covered with a lid for a very long time (for it will surely free itself—breaking all shackles at long last).
In all, this short but mind-pricking/searching write-up shall be ended with some quotes. First by Thomas Jefferson, who gazed-into the future from many centuries ago (when he lived and ruled America), and asserted unequivocally that: “I tremble for my country when I think we may in fact (be) get(ting) the leaders (those in high places and in the saddle of the power-horses) we deserve”. And secondly, by Prof. Ozodi T. Osuji, who counseled us all by positing that: “Love and respect for all people remains the best social policy for it protects all of us”. We hope those in high offices and in the saddle of the power-bicycle in Nigeria are listening! We hope the present government at the helms of affairs in Nigeria, that professes kindness and good-tidings to the masses of Nigeria, will avoid the sadistic-behaviours of past governments towards the generality of Nigerians—especially the down-trodden (the hoi polloi); and also concretely develop the abundant mental and material resources of the country. Indeed, we hope and pray that those in the saddle currently do not become sadistic as those before them. But if they do, History will also record them to have being so while in power; if they are not; History will also rejoice and record their tenure in glowing words. We can only wish them well. Shepherds are not supposed to kill their sheep (goats or cow); if they do, they will not have any sheep (goat or cow) to shepherd again and therefore, will thenceforth deny themselves of their shepherdhood (title). This is the whole and everlasting truth! Wickedness is not good!! Sadism is the worst thing anybody can do to himself/herself and society!!!
Our last word here is that we intentionally chose the “Socratic-dialectic” in this paper: by asking a lot of questions that needs your answer and mine; and when answered and answered properly will indeed and surely better our country.
Written by Ejike Kingsley Osuji.