Whose Business Is Nigeria?

Posted: October 28, 2013 in Uncategorized

By Prince Charles Dickson

One who believes that the earth is chasing him, where did he put his feet while running?

Last week, I had a lively discuss with a friend Kingsley Umar Davou on Nigeria and sundry matters. Off course, your guess is we talked more on the National conference/talk/assembly/committee/dialogue and any nomenclature one chooses. Well, yes we did, and here is the summary, and it forms the bulk of this week’s admonition.

The Driver
Earlier this year, I was driving back from Gombe, and on the highway was this public/commercial Opel car carrying 5 Nigerians. It was on ‘high’ speed, I overtook the car, blocked them in commando style and came down.

I asked the driver, “do you want to kill these passengers, is you speed check not working…” as I turned to the passengers to scold them for not warning the driver.

Before I could finish, they descended on me, “Oga how e concern you, (what’s your business), get out of our way, bla bla and bla.”

I left them, jumped into my car and drove off, thirty minutes later in front of me was a ghastly motor accident, 2 dead, others with various degree of injuries.

The driver survived, the car, totally damaged. Don’t ask me how I felt, and what I told the survivors.

The Gas Station
I was at the gas station to buy PMS, and for the umpteenth time I noticed that only two of the machines were working.

And that cost me an extra five minutes on the short queue (and yes I must say ‘short’) and Nigerians know what I mean.

The two machines that where working had only two pumps with attendants, instead of four.

So, do the maths if the four were machines were working, that would be eight attendants, and yet we complain of lack of jobs.

The Bank
Similar to the gas station was the experience at the Bank, plenty customers, and few tellers.

The teller space was seven and only three were there. I refused to use my ‘bulletproof’ influence, so I spent 40 minutes in the bank for a six minutes transaction.

Add that to some saucy and ill-mannered tellers. You wonder the reason for their frustration. They could serve us better, but for Jonathan, G7, and the APC we were put through hell.

My neighborhood
If you have lived in the North, we call it ‘angwa’.

In my hood, my street, my angwa, there’s no water, the roads are bad, and the security is best described as ‘hmmmm’.

The two PHCN transformers are often vandalized, local crooks break into houses when you leave the house without a living being or at least a dog, they pick items and the trauma of coming home to a vandalized home is better imagined than experience.

We blame the National Assembly, at the local newspaper shop we argue about the merits of the National talk, and demerits, and yet we are saddled with all the problems of the angwa.

We are simply blind to the problems under our noses.

Finally Whose Business
In the case of the driver, the road was not exactly bad. But he just would not obey the speed limits, he lost control, two lives were lost, he was reckless, it really was not government. It was our business, not government. Not Nigeria but us.

Maybe the Road Safety’s presence on the highway could have helped, maybe available/functional speed cameras would have saved those two lives and the carnage.

But the truth is, if the passengers valued their lives, and been responsible, a collective caution from the five passengers could have done it.

Their lives as Nigerians was their business.

In the gas station, and bank, the key issues was ‘us’. From investigation, both were cutting costs, they refused to employ more hands. It was about profits at customers expense. It was about greed, not Nigeria.

For all the blames we put on government, we are government. The enterprise called Nigeria is our business, not some folks in Abuja or state governors (both those that stay in their states, and those abuja and foreign investor nation based governors).

If my angwa is to have good roads, its the council man/woman, chairman/woman, state legislator lobby. Its about a small conglomerate of leaders close to me. Its our business not some ‘bulletproofers’ far away.

We can’t change if we are not the change we want. There can’t be change if banks can’t treat customers right. When gas stations cheat by a litre, by two/three naira. When banks charge some phony verve enhancement fee amongst many mysterious charges.

We can’t complain about government in abuja when we don’t know who our ward councillor is, when we have never confronted local government leaders.

When governors are alleged to be corrupt, we keep mute because they are our kinsmen, and when they are confirmed looters we say leave them because we are of same faith.

How many times have we boarded a vehicle and the driver insisted on two in front instead of the mandated one. Did we complain, and insist the right thing be done.

Have you contributed towards your local security by calling locales to enforce certain simple rules. We are government, so Nigeria should be our business.

We pray to a Christian God at the beginning of a function, and close the same with a prayer to a Muslim AILah and then in the same function discuss how to steal because really its nobody’s business how anything is run.

Its not just leadership problems that worry Nigeria. No, it’s the problem of you, me and us. The you that becomes a Minister and suddenly you need a bulletproof car, and you get two, the man who protests against you has several. Others say its turn by turn.

We are plagued by our lack of simple ethics. We are willing to offer a bribe even when not asked, because often than not we are guilty until presumed innocent. So we blame our ineptitude on every other person but us.

Until we start to treat Nigeria as our business, and not some prodigal orphan, we may be just going round in circles–as it is, we are just a people with some personal interests, for now, is there a Nigeria, and whose business she is, remains a question–only time will tell.

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