This is my response.
Aww, shucks, he’s probably right. It’s basically the same thing I’ve been telling my friends, just in err, more appropriate terms. I do honestly agree, that the problem with Nigeria is Nigerians (including yours truly).
This white guy said something that struck me.
“If you were to replace the politicians – let’s say our 109 senators from before – with 109 random people from the Nigerian citizenry, you would get no change in behaviour. You could repeat the experiment a thousand times, and you would get no change. There is no ruling class in Nigeria, there is just a set of rulers. Where any change is expected to come from I don’t know.”
If you take a moment to think about it, you’d realize that unfortunately, this is very true. Tim Newman discovered the thread of greed that runs through most of us. Greed white greed (forgive me). Think about it though, even the supposedly rich are shining their eyes. Maybe that should be our slogan: Nigeria, shine your eyes. Most of the population, including me again, has a strong desire to be wealthy or to better pass our neighbours, and most of us want to attain that wealth with the least possible effort. C’est le problème.
Whenever I’m discussing the Nigerian situation with someone, and they start singing that broken record about the government this, the government that, I’m always like “Err, excuse my french, but bullshit”. I proceed to draw their attention to numerous polls (though informal) that have been carried out asking average Nigerians if they would dip their fingers into the infamous national cake, if given the opportunity. Needless to say, majority of them admit that they most definitely would. Including kids in high school, our leaders of tomorrow.
It’s not the government. It’s us Nigerians, as a whole.
The Nigerian mentality. The hustle mentality. I gats to be rich. Emi na ma di bigs girls. Our eyes are always open, waiting for our big break. No one wants to venture into anything that does not directly and immediately benefit them. My dad recently lamented to me the fact that majority of Nigerians would prefer to acquire multiple cars and houses than invest in the progress of science and technology.
People often say that I do not sound Nigerian (not that I have any sort of foreign accent) and I say, yes, I’ve somewhat neutralized my accent. Usually, they get all worked up, accusing me of not being a proud Nigerian. I am, in fact, not a proud Nigerian. I love my country a lot, but I am currently not very proud of it. I will identify myself as a Nigerian whenever I have to, but I will not throw the fact of it in people’s faces. Like many other people, I think we as a country, are performing way below our capacity.
Before I ventured out of Nigeria in search of higher education, I was oblivious to our worldwide reputation. Soon enough though, the overwhelming negative fact of it hit me like a slap on the face. Just about thirty minutes ago, in a tutorial class, the teaching assistant was advising us not to be like the Nigerian students because they don’t attend lectures and resort to cheating in exams. Some people that knew I was Nigerian, protested and said it was a student thing not a Nigerian thing but he insisted and said,
“As for Nigerians, that’s their record”.
Trust me, I gave that T.A. a piece of my mind, but I was left with a bitter taste in my mouth because I knew that there was an underlying truth in what he said.
There’s a lot I have to say on this issue as it is very very close to my heart, but I’m going to cut it short. I once told a friend (one of those that criticized me for neutralizing my accent) that one of my goals in life was to do something for my country. She hissed and said “You even have time.”, which generally translates to “Why bother?”.
I do think Tim Newman should not be too quick to condemn Nigerians. He was working in the oil and gas industry, which could arguably be described as the nucleus of the country’s corruption. There are a lot of Nigerians that are rising above the cycle of greed, that genuinely care about their country, and are actually trying to do something to veer it off its path of destruction. That girl on YouTube, sadly, is not one of them. This other girl though, definitely is.
Please be one of these Nigerians. Nigeria is not an abstract concept. It is not its government. Nigeria is you and I (was going to type “me”).