Every Nigerian is excessively greedy. The individual exceptional greed over years has grown into cultural and/or sectional greed, which in-turn worsened into multi-faceted greed and also declined into the obvious all-around corruption in Nigeria. This no doubt, is the basis of the rat-race that every Nigerian is involved in. Greed has brought about a rat-race, where every individual wants to cheat, if not kill, the other person out of his little in order to grab it all. The inordinate desire has become so strapping that it defies reasonable solutions in all faceted of the national life, yet the strength and the aged, the strong and the weak endlessly continued to fight for the mantle of leadership, passing the bulk of the blame to their individual generation. The common man on the street cries and accuses the leaders at the top of being corrupt and the crop of unabashed leaders, on the other hand, are also quick to say, if the commoner is given the opportunity, he would do worse. Take or leave it, every Nigerian is the same and this position is relative. J. F. Kennedy once told Americans not to think of what their country could do for them, but what they could do for their country. As much as this extract of wisdom could apply to an average Nigerian, Kennedy did not implied that the country should do nothing for Americans. Whether we like it or not, Nigeria is a failed state, where every citizen now does and/or provides his basic socio-amenities. All over the world, where common sense prevails in governance, basic socio-facilities such as shelter, formal education, good health, electricity, water, good roads and even food are often ensured by the government. In Nigeria, aside that every Nigerian provides the aforementioned facilities for himself and his dependents, he also ensures he digs well or borehole for his water, buys generator to produce his own electricity, contributes together with his neighbours for transformer, electricity pole and wire and even pays Power Holding Company officials to be connected to the national grid, which supply is sadly epileptic. He also opens up roads, grades the road at as when due, as well as provides drainages for himself to ensure flood does not erode him and his family away, yet he pays tax.

Nigeria is at the edge of breaking up no doubt, and such indices as armed robbery, kidnapping, lack of political transparency and accountability, lack of precise voters' register, voters' ballots not being valid at elections, hooliganism and thuggery, during elections and worse still, police forcefully at armed length collecting undue bribe from road users, harassing and intimidating of innocent citizens, as well as PHCN officials' daylight robbery by billing electricity consumers for energy that were never really used, are all results of the multi-faceted greed, which of course, we now call corruption.

As much as, some over righteous and/or better still, patriotic Nigerians would observably oppose to a gun-carrying-system, it is imperative at this juncture, to state that a drastic situation such as the foregoing requires a drastic approach in order to get a radical, but swift solution. Let's imagine for a moment what legalization of guns for every eligible Nigerian would do to all the aforementioned elements of greed, if it is introduced. Let's also consider what a gun-carrying-culture would equally do to politics and the ubiquitous political robbery in the country. Without mincing words, this could go a long way in bringing about some sanity to elections, as well as put some fears in the public office holders. It's no news that public servants in Nigeria lie on oath. They do not have any apprehension swearing and lying by the Bible and the Quran, yet these Holy Books say the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. And since oath-taking by “Ogun”, “Sango”, “Amadioha”, or any other gods is out of it going by civilization, a gun-carrying-culture seems to be one appropriate contemporary way of putting some restlessness in the public servants and in returning power, under a typical fashionable setting, to the masses. If not for anything, at least, those aspiring for public offices would be mindful that any aggrieved citizen is licensed to likely waste their lives in case they failed to perform. Also, the issue of protecting one's vote, during elections and the act of hooliganism and thuggery would be a thing of the past, as voters would not only ballot, they would stay and protect their votes without any fear of the unknown. And in fact, if these so called hooligans and/or thugs are heedful that by the existing system every electorate or voter is a corporate hooligan – who is legally, permitted to assertively protect and/or defend himself they would dare not disrupt elections. Issues of elections rigging and killing of blameless citizens, who have only gone to polling stations to exercise their franchise would also become a past tense.

Now, let's consider the elements of institutionalized greed in most Nigerian institutions, a case study of the Nigerian Police Service and the PHCN, which over years has become factors of oppressing the masses of the Nigerian nation. It is no doubt, a culture in Nigeria today for policemen to block roads and create check-points, wherever they deemed fit for the purpose of compellingly collecting N20, if not more, just like it is a tradition for the PHCN to leave Nigerians in total black-out for months, yet it bills them for electricity they never used. This is worse than highway robbery! Those institutions have failed, yet they kept on arm-twisting the people to pay them for services they never rendered. Imagine, if every Nigerian carries gun, could this happen? Could any Nigerian like oneself approach another in the name of any institution to rob him? Definitely not! If not for anything, at least, the act of individuals using institutional platforms to oppress decent Nigerians out of greed would totally be forgotten. This menace no doubt, considering its inordinate nature, could only be reduced, if not eradicated by making the masses a factor and/or object of respect and fear, which all reasonable means through policies, law and order and perhaps enforcement, have obviously failed to give the people. This again, would go a mile, if not two, to curb the menace of individual greed, which has been the major cause of the multi-faceted corruption in the land today and of course, cures the unconscious rat-race, which most Nigerians have enlisted for.

Another significance of a gun-carrying-system is that it could put an end to the act of kidnapping and armed robbery that is currently threatening the peace and unity of Nigeria. Believe it or not, a typical Nigeria loves life to a fault and does not want to die. This is why there cannot be a revolution in Nigeria. Every Nigerian sees himself a potential millionaire, believing anything can happen tomorrow or the next minute, to change his present status. And this erroneous mentality of self-centeredness and self-seeking-comfort at the expense of others has led many into kidnapping and armed robbery. The reason, aside anger against the system, an average Nigerian, in the face of torturing hardship, chooses to become an armed robber or a kidnapper in order to survive, rather than commit suicidal, when he feels tired of living, is greed. And his choice is extensively guided and/or informed by the notion that his victims are weak and helpless. This perceptibly, is the difference between a gun-carrying-society and a none-gun-system. Citizens of gun-carrying-societies like the US and the UK would rather choose to commit suicidal and express their anger against the system, than become armed robbers or kidnappers, at the detriment of fellow citizens, because their choice is informed by the realization that their supposed victims are not particularly victims, but defendants, who have been duly permitted by law to resentfully protect their lives. Accept it or not, most of these armed robbers and kidnappers are by nature weaklings. They are people, who can hardly stand their fellow Nigerians, if it comes to physical combat. Their only source of strength is the gun they carry and where there is a counter strength that either equals or supersedes theirs, they take to their heels.

In all of these, like the Yoruba would say, “Ori bibe koni Ogun ori fi fo”, meaning beheading is not a relieve for headache, my opponents may argue otherwise since good policies and intensive advocacy towards a positive attitudinal change could do the magic. True, but then, I doubt, if the country lacks good policies and if there has not been enough campaigns and advocacies to cause a positive attitudinal change already. Yes, agreed there could be a problem in policies enforcement, but events, especially during military rule have shown that positive attitudinal change of Nigerians is better achieved under the consciousness that the other man is carrying a gun.

Georges Macnobson
267, Etim Inyand Crescent, Victoria Island, Lagos.
[email protected] 08055610085

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Articles by Georges Macnobleson-Idowu