Here are ten things I have identified as top abnormalities Nigerians now just surrender to or even accept as normal. As a matter of fact, they are essentially Nigerian in outlook and any attempt to change them might even affect our corporate image. They are as Nigerian as the green-white-green flag. Yet, there is nothing “normal” about them and a good, conscientious leadership can change them.
1. Electricity: Gradually, Nigerians now have accepted that it is normal not to have or expect electricity. So when the Power Ministry under Professor Chinedu Nebo, recently announced a drop of 2000 megawatts from the existing 4000 megawatts, no Nigerian even commented. Also, when the power authorities speak of strikes, everyone looks away, uncaring.
That is the new way. In my nick of the wood in Abuja, we even have a time table for light. There are off days as every part has its own “light day”. You plan your schedules in strict adherence to this time table. The other day, we had two days of uninterrupted power supply. My law-abiding neighbours became worried and collectively went to report the “anomaly” to NEPA (Nigerians still calls it that in spite of all the name change).
2. Bad Roads: What you do about bad roads is not to complain. The skill you must get is how to navigate the craters and gutters in a way to save your tyres the ordeal. Since one big man spent a whopping 300 billion naira on roads without any visible change, Nigerians have resigned to fate, accepting their lot on the road of life (no pun intended).
3. Electoral rigging: That elections are going to be rigged is not the issue. You knew it was going to happen as sure as the sun sets in the East. What you don’t know is the latest methods. Rigging are now even transparent, free and fair. You knew the poll was rigged but exactly how, you haven’t the faintest idea. At the end, you accept the result as the people’s wish. May be the new system is to allow the people do the rigging themselves. Self-reliant rigging!
4. Corruption: Poor EFCC! They now pick every soft target they can find; quickly post their photos on the internet- just to keep the façade of waging a war against corruption. And they indeed are waging a war against petty thieves, leaving out the shot-callers and the well connected rogues who even run the anti-graft agencies.
Yes, folks. The monster is waxing strong and many now only appease it with platitudes. This is the one that may never go away because it has become a duly registered conglomerate in its own right. What you do is try to see how much of it doesn’t affect you but it is everywhere you turn. Deal with it.
5. Killer Convoys: You already know about that. What you don’t know is the madness of it all and why the big men choose to risk their lives and that of others in this manner. First, the convoys are a way of saying “look, we are different from you”. Then, it is the ultimate sign that you had arrived.
I know a certain speaker (House of Assembly) who upon getting sworn in, called his aides aside and said “Please, ensure the sirens are the loudest in this state”. He wasn’t satisfied even with his aides’ reassurances. One day, he actually “supervised” the compliance by lowering his window to listen to the sweet sound of power. Only in Nigeria!
6. Lack of cash: Welcome to the era of cashlessness. I laughed when I first heard of the CBN inspired cashless policy. If you asked me, Nigerians did not even notice the fact that the policy officially took off on July 1, 2014. Why? Nigerians have been living without cash since the start of the current dispensation. The skills we have learnt as a people is how to have enough cash to keep you alive till the next money enters your hand.
How more cashless can an already listless, struggling people get? By the way, a certain supermarket I went the other day pretending to be operating the cashless stuff had difficulty with the machine. The batteries ran down and there was no light to power the damn device. The hapless customer just gave cash – good old cash – and left.
7. Violence: The other day, Miss Malala came to town. A foreign news medium said she was risking her life by coming to Nigeria as if it was here she was first shot at. But that is new reality! Our country is now in the same category as Somalia, Syria and the other demonised nations of the world.
With thousands getting killed each week, Nigerians are now insensitive. An editor told me the other day that he was tired of all the stories of killings and abduction going on in Borno State. And he wasn’t being callous. He was merely accepting the new norm – the fact that a bomb blast now sounds like the knockouts we like throwing around at xmas when we were innocent.
8. Defection: Politicians now move around the political parties like some girls looking for where to shop for the latest Brazillian hair. There was a time when to defect from a party was the ultimate decision by a politician. It would make headlines. But now, you just yawn when you hear of it.
9. Strikes: Strikes have become a comedy out here. In some climes, strikes are the biggest of crisis. But now, unions just get together to have fun – threatening and then backtracking! Industrial actions don’t have any value anymore. They are actions without a corresponding action from the authority that has learnt that after a while, the strikers would get tired and seek any kind of settlement.
Let’s strike out the strikes, please!
10. Skewed court judgments: No one even expect justice from the courts anymore. You only went there because you were either dragged there against your wish or that you went because you didn’t know where else to turn to. At the end, you are disappointed by the quality of justice dispensed, even if it was in your favour.