Opinion: "Naija And Their Yamayama” by Emenike Vincent Onyembi

By FN Editor on 14/05/2020

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I hope we will begin to take sole responsibility of some things in the country, even as we continue to hold our dear government accountable? I ask this because the reality on ground is that our people who are in government are also Nigerians, they are not different in any way. If we as a people change our attitudes, it is only a matter of time for the breeze of this change (pragmatic/positive) to blow around. Imagine an individual yearning for the accountability of this present government, only for he/she to be opportune to be in government and exhibit similar traits being criticized.

Believe me, there are people who need to be pushed into government. Maybe we should stop supporting people just because they have chosen to run, and try supporting characters that we trust irrespective of whether they have indicated interest in leadership or not. I say this because our ‘anyhowness’ in this country is so bad and there is a culture here. It is this ‘anyhowness’ culture that we need to change, it is everywhere we look. We have lots of deficit when it comes to development same with human deficit as it relates to people character and culture.

Are you aware that Nigerians actually steal/remove metal drainage covers within Abuja? So now construction companies will rather use concrete covers. Are you aware that Nigerians remove the glass used for bus stops? Those beautiful ones done by corporate organizations?

What culture is that?

The average German who is homeless will not vandalize public properties. But an average Nigerian will. The saddest thing is that these people who steal and vandalize this items are not broke, they just feel that those in government do steal, so what stops them?

In Nigeria here, people prefer to jump the ATM queues. In Nigeria, especially the Garki axis of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, more than half of drivers do not always stop for red lights. But had the government not provided the streetlights there? But in Saudi Arabia, if you beat traffic, you will see debit alert in five (5) minutes. And there are countries that do not have these measures, but they still obey.

Scandinavians are the best examples, they are not many. But then, they do not rush. Population seems to be a problem when it comes to city development and behaviour, even in economics. Once the people become more than the amenities, it is always a problem. And it gets bigger. This still brings me back to the system and institutions that we have here.
Countries with high respect for traffic lights had effective measures in place for checkmating the violators, as such overtime the citizens got use to it and it is now more or less a norm. We have not had this here in Nigeria. Before you get to your destination, you would have gotten an SMS telling you, you have violated this and that traffic laws. That is standard in countries with high respect for traffic lights.

Just close to my area, some people vandalized a particular transformer a day to the recently ‘lifted’ lockdown. We are our own evil. So will these persons go home and complain when the power holding company do not give them power supply? It is even possible that same power holding company officials who would be called to fix it came earlier to ‘keep’ it for the people.

I think I am gradually loosing my faith in humanity. Some crimes are just abnormal. And yes, the people that are charged with the responsibility of safeguarding our lives, would instead go and collect their own ‘ogunje’ and let the culprit go. I have experienced lack, I did not steal to get out of it. I have been in a hurry, I did not have time to spare, yet I did not block the other lane for vehicles driving opposite. But majority of us does that and give excuses. So, are we going to continue to give excuses?

As a country, 60 years has been enough to build sustainable roads, provide portable water, erect world class hospitals, establish well equipped Pan-African universities, 247 power supply, but all these we have failed to achieve as a country, the so called pride of Africa.

Even in a banking hall, where you have enough tellers, we will STILL shunt, until a staff decides to manage the queue. Look, there is a mentality we need to rid ourselves of—and it is a mentality of LAWLESSNESS.
Although most times, I feel our problem is not just lawlessness, it stems down to lack of trust in the system and or institutions. We do not believe that if we follow due process things will work. And that reflects in our ways of life, unfortunately.

The government is laid back because we are not pushing the right buttons. They did not put themselves there. It comes back to us eventually. We are being raped daily by the administrators we elected and we have not been decrying this dysfunctions in our public administration system.

This is about the failure of all Nigerians. The government has failed, woefully. The citizenry is also failing. This is not about absolving one side and blaming the other. Not everything is the government’s fault. Not everything is the citizens fault
We have collectively failed as a country.

China has a very high corruption problem. Stealing going on enmasse. People doing rubbish up and down. What did their leaders do? They made corruption punishable by death. Years later corruption levels have drastically reduced in their country. 
Let me use Philippine as another example. Before President Duterte came in the country, it was a crime ‘sick’ place. Like people were robbing each other on a regular. Drugs being sold like meat on the streets. When he started his war on drugs and crime, he killed a whole lot of people, and the country fell in line. Their economic situation did not improve but they realized that stealing was not worth their lives. So they fell in line.

Nigeria is a country where people are not used to paying severely for the consequences of their actions. We usually aim to fraud the system. We celebrate people that do. No punishment is given to them either. It is like that at all levels. It is now part of us.
So we have a culture here, a bad one.

How do we get out of this culture? Yes, leadership, but that is not all we need. We all need to begin to accept that we have this problem, then we begin to take responsibility. ‘Government’ is not there when you bypass your meter, ‘government’ is not there when you bribe a power holding company official to get out of it.
‘Government’ is not there when the power holding company official pays a police officer to bury the case. At the end of the day, we are all a crucial part of ‘Government’. Of the people, for the people, ‘BY’ the people.

 

 

Posted on May, 7 2020

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