Why Nige­rian states and LGs can­not sus­tain them­selves – II

Then they en­sured they col­lected the lady’s na­tional ID Card, and did not re­lease that card the next morn­ing un­til this friend came down to the re­cep­tion to okay them. Why? They needed to be sure the lady hadn’t killed him in the room. Try that in Nigeria

Sunday Trust - - VIEWPOINT - Top­sy­fash@ya­hoo.com (SMS 08070850159) with Tope Fa­sua

How can coun­tries like Uganda, Rwanda, Cote d’Ivoire and so on, or­ga­nize them­selves bet­ter than us, and their peo­ple un­der­stand and ad­here to their re­spon­si­bil­ity to their country than we do here? Why are we not show­ing the right ex­am­ples? Why do we take ev­ery­thing for granted here? Why is it that the av­er­age Nige­rian can no longer be con­trolled or made to con­form with mod­ern norms of so­cial in­ter­ac­tion? A friend had con­fessed to me some days back about how he went to Kenya and so­licited the ladies of easy virtue. The hotel se­cu­rity noticed he was trying to go up with the lady and stopped them. He had to pay an ex­tra 200 Kenyan Shillings to the hotel for the plea­sure he was about to en­joy. Why? They told him he booked the hotel room for only him­self. Then they en­sured they col­lected the lady’s na­tional ID Card, and did not re­lease that card the next morn­ing un­til this friend came down to the re­cep­tion to okay them. Why? They needed to be sure the lady hadn’t killed him in the room. Try that in Nigeria and you start to hear; “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM? Ehnn?” This “do you know who I am?’ syn­drome is the very un­do­ing of Nigeria. I also re­call a scene from AY’s movie; 30 Days in At­lanta, where he went with Ram­say Nouah to a bar, and the lady de­manded for their ID cards just to be sure he isn’t a ‘Mi­nor’ i.e. too young to buy al­co­hol. Of course, the Nige­rian was shocked and left the place in anger. This hap­pened in real life to an­other friend, Wole, who is over 50 but has boy­ish looks. There seems to be no law in Nigeria, and the few that there are, are ob­served in the breach. We should get in touch with our­selves to know exactly where we re­ally got it wrong.

What is more? I re­call Nigeria’s former Am­bas­sador to Australia who doc­u­mented in his book how a Nige­rian del­e­ga­tion to the com­mon­wealth meet­ing in the 1980s swelled from 7 to 40, to 80 and even­tu­ally to over 150, only for them to ar­rive and in­sist on a limou­sine each. Nigeria’s patho­log­i­cal ar­ro­gance has been around for long and is the rea­son why we are here to­day. Even the Bible ad­mon­ished that we can­not con­tinue in sin and ex­pect the grace to abound. If we have laws that are not en­forced, and all of us hold our country in dis­dain - lead­ers and the led - and refuse to put money into the pot called the com­mon­wealth, what you get is Nigeria. And it will get worse there­fore.

I am also fight­ing a ma­jor bat­tle presently, against the pow­er­ful guys who want to scut­tle the NGO Reg­u­la­tion Bill. They are at­tack­ing the bill sim­ply be­cause it ques­tions the opac­ity of their op­er­a­tions. They don’t want gov­ern­ment to ask them any ques­tions what­so­ever. These are peo­ple who ask gov­ern­ment for trans­parency, now vi­o­lently re­sist­ing trans­parency them­selves. What an irony. Where is the shame? The av­er­age Nigeria is great at point fin­gers. The prob­lem must be from some­one else, not they them­selves. If we think about it, the minds of many Nige­ri­ans are not fully formed. For an un­ex­am­ined life is not worth liv­ing. If NGOs don’t want trans­parency, don’t want to pre­pare ac­counts, how will their mem­bers be ac­count­able to the peo­ple if and when they get into gov­ern­ment?

So in short, there is ab­so­lutely nothing wrong with Nigeria but us.

As at to­day, the small peo­ple no longer see any rea­son to care for the country. They de­spoil their own en­vi­ron­ment like beasts. The big peo­ple don’t mind if the poor go to blazes, as they are on the look­out to get more and more. The gov­ern­ment who should be the um­pire be­tween the big and small peo­ple, is pop­u­lated by big peo­ple who don’t think any dif­fer­ently from the crowd. Our prob­lem there­fore is not about con­sti­tu­tion, or fed­er­al­ism, or rev­enue shar­ing. It is about the in­jus­tice that we each and ev­ery one of us - do to our­selves. And it is un­for­tu­nate. Be­yond taxes, it is get­ting to a head. The fab­rics of the so­ci­ety is be­yond thread­bare now. We are now set up for dis­as­ter. All these ag­i­ta­tions to break up the country are nothing but the cul­mi­na­tion of sev­eral decades of self-mis­man­age­ment.

So in conclusion, the local gov­ern­ments and states are un­able to self-sus­tain not be­cause the fed­eral gov­ern­ment is tak­ing too much from us all (and in­deed they are), but be­cause rather than all of us be­ing re­spon­si­ble to our com­mon­wealth, and build­ing that same wealth, we are more in­ter­ested in eat­ing till we drop, and we are locked in com­pe­ti­tion with each other; in a need­less rat-race that even if we win, we shall re­main rats. All the laws are there, to make each state and local gov­ern­ment pros­per­ous. And even from the ex­clu­sive list, states have found how to work with fed­eral gov­ern­ment and get projects done e.g. rail­ways, air­ports and in­land wa­ter­ways. The prob­lem is no one wants to pay, ev­ery­body safe­guards their cor­ners. The lead­ers don’t set the right ex­am­ples them­selves. Yet we want the best country in the world. But as you lay your bed, so you lay on it.

Now, who will bell the cat?

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