Yet the struggle for the liberation of the Blackman through history has
always been based on the slogan “Power to the People” symbolized by
the black power salute shown in the thrust of the clenched fist.
Today, even in the black continent as represented by its most
populous nation Nigeria, “people” are the most powerless. After all,
the saying “United, we stand and divided, we fall” is a very popular
one amongst Nigerians.
For some reasons, however, Nigeria in its miniature ethnographic
reflection of virtually, every other society in Africa, is home to
an edifice that is strongly divided against itself defying all
senses of elementary logic. It is a patchwork nation (and which
African nation is not?) that breeds millions of self-acclaimed
philosophers, self-proclaimed geniuses, self-ordained prophets,
self-made scientific inventors waiting to be discovered,
self-declared apostles of perfection and even self-imposed
billionaires. While all the others may be fake by virtue of
emptiness and wishful thinking, the self-imposed billionaires are
unfortunately, the only segment in the fold that is real. It is the
segment that thrives on larceny and willful usurpation of people’s
rights and imposes itself on society.
Yet it is precisely the same people, whose rights are usurped and
trampled upon that have discovered a new and fashionable hobby in
obvious oversize activities surpassing their individual capacities
on daily display on social media. The average Nigerian of the
present generation of youths often lives in the delusion of academic
omnipotence with no readiness to concede ignorance even when it
stinks to high heavens in the face of a deeply submerged quality of
education. He is the bedrock of all facets of political and social
activity no matter how good, bad or ugly. Vain and ignorant
positions are often defended with the vile and vicious proliferation
of emptiness as if basic existence depended on them.
Such has been made manifest in the most recent encounter of the polarized
population, with the emerging authority of political leadership.
The dividing lines are often obscure but defined by whims and caprices
and the power of cash. There are divisions along party lines. There
are divisions along tribal lines. There are also forced loyalties
defined by circumstances. The most typical example of forced loyalty
is that of political defectors, who saw the pecuniary or strategic
convenience of defecting to a different political umbrella only to
be stuck to the losing end and forced to feign loyalty amid internal
confusion. Femi Fani Kayode is topmost on my mind!
The popular elevation of partisanship is not uncommon in periods of
elections wherever democracy or some semblance of it is practiced in
any form. In fact, it is the fan that blows the flame of electoral
democracy. It is also not unusual to see the business of governance
dominated by partisan and biased manipulations. After all, a party
wins the stakes and sets the agenda, which is promptly followed by
strategizing on the political field with all players taking their
defined positions. While the opposition also influences governance
with informal contacts and clever or dumb politicking, the masses,
who cast the ballot often end up the biggest loser with a very
marginal impact on practical and day-to-day policy implementation.
After all, the masses only have a say at the ballot box once in
every legislative period.
Misplaced attacks on authority
When partisanship, however, becomes much more strongly pronounced with
the voting class than it is with political actors along the
corridors of party houses, then there is a fundamental flaw
somewhere in the system. This is crucial because every element of
the voting class all over the world, often meets on common grounds.
They are the 99% of the “Occupy” fame, whose commonwealth is
criminally misused by a coalition of political and economic interest
groups. They are the victims of oppression. They are the
impoverished victims of corruption. They are numerically stronger in
Black Africa than anywhere else in the world.
Today, however, precisely this class of Nigerians is up in arms in a
staunch but unconscious defense of corruption under astonishing
guises. In the plethora of crimes that have been perpetrated on the
common man in Nigeria in such a way that the nation has
systematically been robbed and virtually thrown back to the ‘stone
age’ of our times by progressive and cyber standards, I still wonder
what business the ordinary man has, crying ‘selective persecution’
when thieves are caught. Nigeria of our present day is at a
crossroad seeking to redefine guilt in corruption on the basis of
political or tribal camps and the numerical strength of
beneficiaries. The real guilt of the crime committed now seems a
non-issue in the face of overtly loud and vehement agitation. The
notion seems to stand that prosecution will be fair and acceptable
only if all and nothing but ALL perpetrators are picked and charged
in one fell swoop. Everything else is selective. The need to
encourage the reigning authority to broaden the search for thieves
also within its own ranks is now taken as a compelling criterion for
measuring the guilt of certified thieves and the daylight robbers of
our own commonwealth. I, therefore, say this for crying out loud:
“What business has the
oppressed and suffering son of the land, crying ‘selective
prosecution’ when the thief is real?”
All of sudden, a vocal section of precisely, these downtrodden Nigerians
has now found its voice behind Kukahs and charlatans raising the
alarm that the core issue of governance is being sacrificed for the
fight against corruption. After all, the fight against corruption is
not a part of governance as long as the person caught is not from
the camp of the governing party. The Oshiomoles have suddenly become
the bad boys of the creek seeking nothing but the destruction of the
land simply for vehemently unveiling the mask of corruption that
should ordinarily have attracted heightened interest and detailed
inquisitiveness. For every indictment of governmental armchair
quarterbackers, the ordinary Nigerian is waiting to rally around his
hero. No excuse is shameful enough. No excuse is embarrassing
enough. No reckless excuse is a shame on the face of worthless
The Stockholm syndrome
Precisely the downtrodden Nigerian now summons elements of pity and
sympathy to proclaim the innocence of robbers who have dragged them
down decades into the depth of a swampy sludge. Suffering from
cancer now renders a looter innocent. The sudden heart attack
suffered by an adjudicated looter leading to an unfortunate fatality
suddenly leads to canonization. It is the picture of a folk that has
learned to feel comfortable in poverty and oppression not having
really known the opposite standard in real terms.
It is the picture of a folk that has learned to live with a wrongly
calibrated mental structure thriving on trivialities and
superficialities, sticking vehemently to irrelevant facts that sound
consistent to the wrongly configured mind yet making him proud of a
self-perceived level of heavenly intelligence.
At a point, I am forced to think about the Stockholm syndrome that I
elaborated in detail in my book
Entrapment”. A section of Nigerians now seems to sympathize with
their captors and oppressors having been too long encapsulated with
them in a common dungeon of unfettered brainwashing. The detailed
mental challenge of setting priorities for national development has
now been voluntarily ceded to the heritage of pettiness and
The few amongst the misguided, who manage to see a few steps beyond the
tip of the nose, complain about the absence of a blueprint for
economic recovery. They celebrate every misfortune like suicide
attacks on soft targets to declare leaders brainless and say it’s
payback time. Anyone will be speechless and short of words at the
vanity of this stance on the part of helpless masochists, who
mortgage the collective welfare of a nation for the passion to weep
over spilled milk.
But excuse me. Who on earth has ever performed the trick of working out a
successful economic blueprint with a treasury that has been badly
looted amid dwindling revenues? With the volatility of the price of
crude oil today, which is the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy, can a
budget be planned with any certainty in the first place to say the
least of an economic blueprint? Can revenue projections be made even
for 6 months? In a nation where treasuries were brazenly looted
through multiple peripheral accounts, pension funds personalized by
a few individuals and salaries are owed over several months, what
meaningful economic blueprint can be worked out on the short-term
without first fixing the leakages? A single treasury account has now
been ordered in a frantic effort to take the country back to the
early eighties where sanity gave us hope of a brighter future until
politicians did us part. Yet, Stockholmers find fault in what they
No one plans an economy without first knowing, what resources and capital
are available. The drive to recover as much of the nation’s looted
fund as possible as a basic groundwork for better planning is now
suddenly derided as negligence of the real business of governance.
The same voices derided a predecessor, who failed to fight
corruption as being ignorant of governance. Could this be the stuff
that the African is made of?
Is it a coincidence that revolutions never happen in Black Africa? Will
anything good come out of a house that is divided against itself?
Who expects a revolution from Nigerians with the aim of a thorough
cleansing of society when Nigerians defend and protect their own
oppressors? Who will hold the looters to account in all seriousness?
Secessions may come and go. Smaller nations may emerge in a unifying
global village. But the mental, developmental and collective
inferiority of the black African will persist as long as this low
level of intellectual disposition persists. With the generation yet
unborn that will take the lead in the quest to rebuild nations,
Nigeria simply has a very long way to go!
Follow me on Twitter @FriskyLarrimore, Watch out for my new book
"Africa's Diabolical Entrapment"
Frisky Larr is author of the book "Nigeria's Journalistic Militantism" probing into the poor role of Journalism in Nigeria!