To Be Evil Is To Be Nigerian? By Charles Adagbon

We have re-christened oddities and given them fine
names as a people. We have designed a social order
that cherishes lies and half-truths built on a platform of
ethnicity and sentiments. An order raised on the pillar of
greed, corruption and theft, cemented by inordinate
cravings for things rather than meaning. We have turned
every rational thought over its head. We justify failure
with vigour, we resent progress with passion, and we
give new meaning to wealth by making ourselves poorer
when we become richer. The divisions that exist
amongst us are now permanently being seared into our
brains and the inner recesses of our consciousness. We
constantly strive to tear down rather than build, we
have bought into the lie that wealth is only created by
selling our collective assets by a few privileged thieves.
We have become a nation where petty thieves are
hanged by the noose, dragged in the market place,
skinned and burnt alive. While we celebrate those who
steal billions with valour and pomp! We have become a
nation where the oppressed will vehemently defend the
terrible acts of their oppressors!! Alas!! We have
migrated from a nation of crook ‘stars’, of 419-ers, to
kidnappers, and more recently, a nation of terrorists and
senseless bombings and killings. How much is the worth
of a life in Nigeria? Aren’t our labels bad enough as
unsavory? We are just evil!
We rationalize the impossible. We wish for oceans in the
desert and have crucified honesty and hard work on
political alters. We have made a lamb out of a hapless
and helpless populace and turned their dreams into
nightmares. Our schools teach but not knowledge, our
churches preach but not values. We measure substance
not by legacies but by cars, houses, bank accounts and
more so by political positions.
We run abroad to treat headaches, mosquito bites and
minor cuts yet we budget billions of naira every year to
improve lives only to get people’s lives worsened than
the year before. Our economy ‘grows’ yet no jobs, some
of our wealthiest people are crooks, some of our most
influential people are rotten, spewing out nothing but
their putrid smell which is affecting every sphere of our
We produce Masters and PhD degree holders and one
wonders what they do research in. Yet not a single
invention to tackle our local needs and challenges in all
the years that our educational institutions have existed.
We are not even re-inventing the wheel, yet we can’t
even have a single invention to our name! Are you
telling me that after all these years, no University or
Polytechnics in Nigeria can produce machines for mass
use to tackle one form of our socio-economic
We spend more money placating militants not to pick
the gauntlet against the power-that-be, yet have no
plans for teeming youth of unemployed Nigerians.
Nigeria we hail thee!
How can militants incur more cost on society than all of
the nation’s security apparatuses combined? Yes
seriously, the Police and Military! This is no hyperbole.
Check the 2014 budget.
That is the length to which we have been so
manipulated by an inimical system that is fueled by
senseless leadership and a followership that is under
some kind of spell that is inexplicable. Defending their
oppressors and making it seem that the biggest problem
Nigeria has is the fact that Hausa or Fulani wants to
rule forever. Or the lie that Nigeria can only work if
secession prevails, another lie from the pit of hell. With
the same lot in power, not a single thing will change!
Absolute nonsense! How well can one justify the
apparent lack of leadership? How well will one justify
that billions of naira go missing and Nigerians ask the
wrong questions? How long will impunity reign
How well can you rationalize the fact that applicants
that are jobless were asked to cough out a thousand
naira each to take a test for a job that was obviously
non-existent? When does it start to make sense that in
‘saner climes the government actually gives benefits to
the unemployed? How can one make any sense that
hundreds of millions were raised through this devilish
means and yet it is being justified by saying the
ridiculous sum was to settle ‘consultants’ who carried
out the exercise on their behalf.
When will religious institutions stop being part of the
scam by getting out and using their measured influence
in a nation that seems to be hypnotized by some
whimsical forces, rather than preach watery messages
like prosperity and crap? Most of them know that a
prosperous Nigeria will put them out of business.
How? If Osarentin finishes secondary school by 17,
gains admission to higher institution by 18, finishes his
first degree at 22, completes NYSC by 23 and starts
working. By the time he works for 3 to 4 years, he will
find nothing naturally wrong in settling down with a wife
at 28. If this is interpolated to be the norm amongst our
youth, there will be no one graduating at 25 and still not
finding a decent work at 35. There wouldn’t be a pastor
telling one of my younger siblings that the reason she is
unmarried at 34 is because of the ‘otumokpo’ in her
village. Why will men of marriageable age think of
marriage, when they are not financially independent?
I am particular about marriage because it is probably
what drives most women to church apart from the
promise of prosperity. The corollary of this is that, there
will be fewer people that religious leaders can hoodwink
into empty sermons of prosperity or fanaticism, if
Nigeria lived up to its potentials. A prosperous Nigeria
would mean that those who actually go to church or
mosque do so because of conviction not because of
problems. Not because they can’t get a job, not because
they can’t get a wife or a husband, not because some
witch is holding down their destiny but the State. This in
turn will mean fewer number of people going to church
because, if one were to do that it will be out of genuine
faith, love of God and zeal to serve Him. As such, less
money for the pastors, fewer pastors will probably fly
jets then. In other words these manipulative charlatans
will cease to see this bunch of opiated ignoramuses as
a cash cow to finance their expensive life styles because
they do not ‘worship a poor God’.
Rather than being channels for deepening positive
values, they have reduced God to a sorcerer who
bestows riches only on the rich and the greedy, a god
that is not a ‘poor’ god and that is now sold and served
like a commodity on the alters of ignorance, falsehood
and exploitation. Yes! Everything-goes-in Jesus name!
To know and watch men of God preach prosperity on a
weekend where so many girls were abducted by Boko
Haram, drew my annoyance in no small measure. We
sure need to do some soul searching!
How did we get here really? How did we get to this
point where wealth is sought and made without work?
Where we seek pleasure without conscience? Where we
choose to worship without making sacrifice? Like M.
Ghandi would say, God bless his soul!
Great societies are built on values, values that cherish
dignity, that celebrate hard work and raise success on a
pedestal that is reachable. Most progressive societies
are built on social values that have their roots from
religious values at some point in their history! Someone
once said, that the societal impacts of fake lawyers,
fake doctors, fake engineers etc. are not the same as
the effect of fake pastors or imams because of this
singular reason. Since religion determines social values
and social values as highlighted earlier can translate
into the economy by extension. Ours is not a country of
the haves and the have-nots. No! It is a country of the
dying and the living.
My vituperations are not directed at the meat sellers in
Oyingbo, not to the plantain sellers in New Benin
market, neither is it towards the petty traders in Eket
market. No, not these Nigerians! These are probably the
hardest working members of our society. You see them
toiling away with a deep sense of hope and
commitment, striving to make meaning out of life
despite their precarious situations.
My anger is equally not to the ‘uneducated’, poorly
educated or half educated ones. It will be rather unfair,
and unrealistic to expect so much from the lot that
have been dehumanised, stripped of their dreams and
impoverished to an extent where the extant hope or the
nursing of it is seen as a form of luxury. These people
have been dehumanised to an extent where even they,
cannot accommodate their own thoughts. Their
thoughts of the future and circumstances have gotten
them imprisoned in a cycle of poverty, relished in
hopelessness, in a halo of existence which makes living
frightening and subtly minimalist. This group of people
can be excused because the effect of corruption cannot
be made vivid enough to them; they can only subtly
understand it within the sphere of their real world; no
water, but ‘pure water’, no power but candles, no food,
no road. They cannot comprehend how much 20 billion
US dollars is not to talk of what can be done with it,
which in actual fact could eliminate abject poverty from
our land if used to genuinely fund programs affecting
the poor.They understand very little about their place in
the society and can never be in the know of the strength
of their sheer number in a democracy.
My anger is geared towards those that should know
better; the middle class, the graduates who are in their
millions but who will rather use their numerical strength
to go to crusades and sham arrangements like the NIS
recruiting jamboree. My anger is at those who have got
their thinking patterns warped up to bring ethnicity,
religion and nepotism into objective criticisms. Check
social media comments on burning national issues to
see how quickly things degenerate into this myopic line
of thoughts when people objectively criticise the evil
acts of government and then, the internet is awash with
comments, for example, justifying why a serving minister
can use 10 billion naira on travel expenses, because as
they claim her predecessors have done worse.
Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and those who
wish to govern themselves must arm themselves with
the power that knowledge provides. Those who can
actually say enough is enough but who choose not to
do anything, but are rather content on chasing vague
dreams of becoming Nigeria’s newest elites, and those
who fail to acknowledge that corruption is rife in
government, but keep saying that it did not start with
the present government, will at one time in the future
confront their own nightmares.
We have become a people who will discuss football with
so much passion, people who will discuss the game
between Arsenal vs Man U and even kill ourselves over
such discourses. While the killings of people in the
North West seem like acts in faraway Baghdad. If we
can show much passion for such trivial matters, why
should we not be enraged at people mortgaging our
future for their self-interests?
While we pray to that sorcerer of a God, obviously not
the one Jesus preached about, to keep blessing us while
we do evil. The truth is that I do not see light at the end
of the tunnel. At this pace, Nigeria can NEVER and WILL
never be a land of our dreams. At least not in my
lifetime. Who sows corn and reaps cassava? We can’t
be heading west and yet sailing our ships eastward.
It is the petty plans of small minded men that rob
nations of their destinies. Like Jesse Jags said in his
latest single, until we learn to get mad, get really mad
and say I am a human being, God damn it! My life has
got value, this must stop! Some would lie that it has
not always been like this. Don’t be fooled it has always
been and will continue to be, it will never get better.

Charles Adagbon

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