“NIGERIA: WE ‘HATE’ THEE” by ‘Lakunle Jaiyesimi

JosssMy recent trip to Jos (J-town) of Nigeria was an eye-opener. I was hitherto, insignificantly, aware of the magnitude of what I did not know. And at the end of my stay in Jos, en route the humble source of mankind, Ile-Ife, I remembered the words of my loving grandfather, Moses Olaonipekun Akinyode, which he somewhat usually belched out after a protracted meditation, “Nigeria: we ‘hate’ thee”.

Jos is a country other than a city in a state within a country, with her own laws, people and (guess I’m wrong) weather. If anyone is in a hurry (and wouldn’t await my views) to deconstruct that claim, he or she should pay, even if a few days, visit to this lovely city (which I’m certain represents several others within Nigeria).

Jos

We were seated in an Ekiti State government this-or-that ministry-or-parastatal bus (the one we popularly call Hummer Bus) as we traversed states leading to the J-town. Ninety two percent of people in that bus (eight percent being a pastor or is he Personal Assistant to a Pastor? Many of whom do not have the feelings of being Nigerians as a result of their being insulated from the pangs of bad leadership and invariably associated societal ills. Don’t forget Churches were never paying taxes; everyone cuts a chunk of their monthly incomes and hands such to churches, nay Pastors and special other treatments are awarded to) constituted the end-receivers (by the virtue of their position to receive stimuli and react or respond accordingly but who are rather too complacent or doggedly myopic to mete out any purposeful reaction; hence becoming the albatross for a meaningful, positive change) and who happily, at least, are several steps ahead of the dregs, the ignored and forgotten.

The major talk in that bus was about the recently concluded Ekiti State gubernatorial elections and the power play that went into ‘successfully displacing the incumbent Governor Kayode Fayemi and re-installing veteran Governor Ayo Fayose. It all boiled down to partisan political pettiness as the youths argued against the candidacy of Fayemi, who they claimed made policies that were unfriendly to the people (whoever says everything will be fine with everyone, every time. How sad we don’t know or how quickly we forget that whatever has ‘gone beyond repairs’ requires drastic, impactful efforts – maybe harsh on some like asking highly incompetent teachers to go home. Do we think asking a ‘bad’ teacher, who would have been a ‘good’ singer to go home, retrace his/her steps in order to become a great and successful global singer is a bad leadership decision, as our youths think or are made to think? I guess not! That’s just an instance.)

They also almost unanimously agreed that another undoing of Fayemi was his distance from the people, who voted him into power; that it was his wife, the first lady that frantically made efforts to bridge the gap. Unfortunately, they said it was Kayode Fayemi they initially voted and not his MRS.

I find this disturbing. Is it today or it’s been years that our youths have been reduced to such level of mediocrity, where we have forgotten yet again or are totally unaware of the significance of our vote? Do you vote in order that the elected become friend with everyone (not that this is bad. It’s the hallmark of a ‘politician’) or because you expect the elected to provide good leadership. Ayo Fayose is a grandmaster at grassroots political play and he lives no stone unturned (if you know what I mean).

With this sort of prevalent orientation with the youths, if Prof. Wole Soyinka, late Gani Fawehinmi (who incidentally contested but wasn’t voted into power, anyway) and other sanes ones were to contest and win an election, Nigeria youths (more aptly, Ekiti youths – obviously, maybe not all) would expect him/her to play to the gallery, become padi-padi with everyone and buy beer for the men and pants, braziers or chocolate for the ladies. What manner of followership!

jossa

Is Nigeria doomed and not just hated? Should we not pray for Governor Ayo Fayose and his ‘wonderful’ likes to continue taking us (or them) for a perpetual ride? That’s politics and leadership.

On the religious front. The journey back to Ife had me in yet another Ekiti State this-orothat ministry-or-parastatal bus, packed with a Pastor, a Church youth leader and other church workers. The discussion this time was interesting rather than perplexing.  While a worker boasted about his escapades with women, who he considered stupid and greed. The youth leader supported him, also attempting to boast of his big-boyhood, responding to queries from the church workers (predominantly ladies), “Youth leader, you too?”; he said, “Yes! You don’t know anything. We are merely speaking our minds and being true to ourselves.”

They also busied themselves with talks about church buildings; which one is finer and bigger; the ones with the most expensive roof structure, blah blah blah. One could only imagine, “No wonder the prayers of the one million and one churches don’t get answered over Nigeria.”

Towards the end of the journey, I was shocked to hear the hitherto silent Pastor more-or-less pleading to have the telephone number of that randy church worker, who had earlier boasted of his escapades, “Anytime there’s an opportunity at the Ministry of Agriculture, where you work and you deem such opportunities beneficial to me in any way, please don’t hesitate to let me know.” This Pastor heard all the escapades of this man o. Nigeria is in trouble! Everything is about money. A pastor could preach against the devil but if Satan has money, the same Pastor would become his friend. And we condemn politicians?

JOS is a beautiful place I’ll always love to visit as often as I’m privileged. The weather makes you feel you are somewhere else other than Nigeria. Everyone bathed with hot water every morning; if you choose to do otherwise, people who love you (like my wonderful hosts, the Odusanyas) will advise, “Don’t; don’t just try it in Jos.” Only they and God know the reason. The topography is also inviting and it is situated almost at the geographical centre of Nigeria.

The people are peaceful and accommodating but that’s if you keep to the rules. What rules? Rules that are against the constitution and the perception of the people down south of Nigeria. There’s the Muslim minority and the Christian majority. Each has her own streets and everyone keeps to his/her street. While a Christian is not to walk or drive through the Muslim street, the Muslim should not be found on Christian streets. Any defaulter may become immediate casualty in case of an unexpected crisis. While I drove through the city, I was particularly advised by my previously Jos-domiciled wife, who knew the terrain, to keep to Christian streets in spite of the heavy traffic on such streets, whereas the Muslim streets were largely without vehicular movements and free of traffic.

Yet, everyone talks about one Nigeria and the unity of the country being sacrosanct, whereas several states and cities within the country have already experienced their own internal secession; hence, polarized.

NIGERIA: We hate thee!

Josssss

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5 thoughts on ““NIGERIA: WE ‘HATE’ THEE” by ‘Lakunle Jaiyesimi

  1. Well I’m used to the “nIGERIAN Mentality”. It’s a pity anyway but the few instances that you have just illustrated are not enough to depict how bad the situation is. Nigeria is a country where the supporters of the people in power will tell you the level of development is not as planned “because enemies are sabotaging governance”. So we have to vote them in again just to spite such “perceived enemies”. Excuse me I thought there was a “Commander in Chief” who takes ultimate decisions (and should accept responsibilities and consequences). Or else this means that Nigerians should remain patient & endure this misrule for another four years just to spite some “perceived enemies. Many other examples of the “nIGERIAN Mentality” abound. O fe su mi, sugbon ko le su mi

    • Thanks @pos7. The examples given were more of specified one-trip experience with the heart of the country. So sad, So sad. No need to wonder why So much lust for power.

  2. Dear Sir,
    After reading this article of yours i am forced to say that you displayed a reductive understanding of the concept of “distance” as regards the government and the governed and also presented yourself as confused as it is with the sets of contrasts your words suggest without a safe landing. The truth is that i do not even see any argument here. Few issues you attempted to flog here were done more with a pick-and-drop technique (which can be very bad for a constructive piece), you will not like me to take you through the lecture of purpose of writing, i sure do know you know that course too well.
    I do not want to take you through the stress of reading too lengthy words of mine, you may be a busy man, and in that your factory-fitted airconditioned office, there may be other things calling for the attention of our grandmaster. So, i will just call your attention to the part of it that itches me more to engage, but that i will do as abridged as possible lest this response of mine quickly qualifies it a quick publishable rejoinder-article. However, the longer version i reatain in my mind without grieveances so do not be afraid.
    Permit me to reference this part of it: “They also almost unanimously agreed that another undoing of Fayemi was his distance from the people, who voted him into power…” and “I find this disturbing. Is it today or it’s been years that our youths have been reduced to such level of mediocrity, where we have forgotten yet again or are totally unaware of the significance of our vote? Do you vote in order that the elected become friend with everyone (not that this is bad. It’s the hallmark of a ‘politician’) or because you expect the elected to provide good leadership.”
    Whenever the word ‘distance’ is used in the discussion of a leader and the citizen sir it is used to measure the popularity of a leader to his/her people. Sir, i feel you should ask instead or explore/investigate what stops leaders from being friends with the people they swear to protect, provide for, in short, govern or what effect does their being freinds with the masses achieve? Can one be friendly towards someone you do not like? The obvious is that people tend to distant themseves from the people they do not like sir, hence, it becomes somewhat impossible to have progressive impact on them. By the way, you become their friend when you need their vote and here you find it disturbing to be friends with everyone after they have won election? Sir, unlike you, i feel being friends with the people you govern, making them see you around them, reassuring them of the hope in the government for the day, not building an extortionate government house on top of a distant hill which upon sighting it where it is monumentally installed and looking back at the other houses in Ekiti you see a Nebuchadnezzars palace on the hill and mere farmsteads on the ground. There is nothing wrong having a monumental government house in a state if the standard of living of the people can measure up to its cost.
    Sometimes i am tempted to write in defence of Fayose, particularly in this popular flow of unfair narrative of comparison with Fayemi which has gained popularity among critics of this critical period of ours who fault Fayose’s style of governance from the lens of sympathy they have for Fayemi and their annoyance with Jonathan and the PDP, but i know it also that like everyother narrative of those before our generation and now, what i write would not change anything. Most people who criticize Fayose and the Ekiti people criticise them from the convinience of their offices, rooms and comfort zones located somewhere in the other part of the country and not Ekiti. How can someone who lives in Lagos or Abuja or even Ibadan be too sure of what happens here in Ekiti? Infact some have barely visited Ekiti while others just come around for a weekend of merriment making and in their mind they are too confident they know for sure what goes on here. No sir, you do not know what we felt under Fayemi. What you read on natinal dailies cannot be entirely true. For the love of God we are too educated to believe the paid journalists hook and sinker. My problem with our journalism in Nigeria is that apart rron the fact that our journalists are too lazy to seriously and painstakingly research into issues they also collect cash for write-ups. Ask me what such journalists will write that will prove objective, they eventually will write what suits the master that foot their bills. In our narrative, Fayose has always been the Devil and Fayemi has always been the Saint; some of us know and see beyond this. we know how it was sir. The man Fayemi is nothing near a progressive, he also clearly did not understand our problems. I don’t just want to go on and on sir, sympathy and unfaireness betray the purpose of objectivity.
    So sir, being friendly with the people you govern is the desire of every citizen of this country, there is nothing wrong about it. It has no semantic relationship with ‘mediocrity’. It only brings a government closer to the people to which they owe everything. It is what it should be. Being distant from the people is what should disturb you more sir. Hope you enjoyed Jos.

    Warm regards,
    Your friend.

    • Hmmm. Quite a lengthy one. Why am I So certain from the outset that this writer is Ekiti? Anyway, that’s by the way. The bridging of distance between the elected And the electorate is What I think the local governments were created to achieve. To be closer to the grassroots. Who will expect a president to be close to all Nigerians if not one who expects the president to be distracted from prosecuting his mandate? Replacing that with ‘closeness’ that ends At all time with something dropping in the pockets of those few privileged ones. Obviously, it’s not realistic to be everyone. My friend, let’s be awake. Since the governor who you, Ekitis believe understands What you’re ‘all’ going through and knows how to pretend popularity, has stationed his Trojan horse in the government house, What has he done for you? Are you in Ekiti At all? Have you heard What has been going on lately? Harassment of a judge, robbery, assassinations, murder? Well, maybe I’m ignorant. Maybe he’s popular, let’s see How it all pans out. I’ll be back in the same trousers with him shortly. Ask him What disgrace What meted out to him When he visited Ife recently in the hands of ordinary students. He came out of his Car to try out his popularity in the presence of a president that has been made to believe in him And his popularity with the people beyond measure, screamed ‘POWER’ AND the students shouted him down ole, ole, gave some of that to the president too,, who was equally stoned. Fingers are crossed. The little history We can learn from teaches us that every followership gets the kind of leadership they deserve. Jos was beautiful, peaceful And I enjoyed it. At least, in spite of the polarized nature, I didn’t hear of any assassination Or murder Or robbery, although for the short time I spent there.

      Thanks for your comment.

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