A few days ago I tried to figure out why it is that the Nigerian Police has not embarked on a shooting spree in Lagos, Nigeria; maiming and killing as they go.
It is surely not the presence of overarching law and order.
It isn’t our non-existent forensic technology that will ultimately ensure their apprehension.
It isn’t the terrified eyewitnesses to whom it is no concern.
It isn’t the good people in the corridors of power whose voices will ultimately be silenced and who will eventually be disgraced out of office.
It isn’t the multitude of Facebook groups appropriately titled: “Nigerians Against Police Brutality” or “1,000,000 Nigerians Decry Police Violence”.
It isn’t this article buried among millions of others.
It isn’t prayers to a God who has just about given up on a lazy generation that can’t seem to use what he’s freely given efficiently.
I reasoned that our Policemen haven’t gone on a shooting spree (even when its so blindingly obvious that they can get away with it) is because of whatever shred of decency they have left and the fact that their psychological state hasn’t degenerated to the abysmal level of their paycheck! In other words, we’re entirely dependent on their goodwill!
Another thought: For those who routinely pass by Law School (Adeola Hopewell Street)in Victoria Island, Lagos at night, it is not an uncommon sight to see Policemen bundling prostitutes into their vans, as group sex is exchanged for the right to ply a trade. Is it any wonder then, that men who are used to demanding for sex free-of-charge from the disadvantaged sex would stop on a Lagos Street at 10pm and bundle a group of innocent female friends enroute a nightclub, and not be punished for it?
As seemingly good government officials are routinely asked to resign, disgraced, harassed or hounded by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), is it any wonder that there are fewer and fewer role models?
How do you convince a young man in Nigeria that if he studies, works hard, lives right and is diligent, he’ll be rewarded, when he’s entirely surrounded by the contrary? Afterall, we celebrate the 419 kingpin when he comes home for the holidays and accord him multiple chieftaincy titles. His only fear is of being kidnapped. Practically anyone can be kidnapped nowadays.
And if you haven’t noticed, women are being raped and assaulted in broad daylight. Even traditional clothing is deemed too sexual if the straps are any thinner than a foot wide!
In Lagos, we are bowing under the weight of Task Forces – every check point is seemingly illegal and traffic cops will demand for bribes with very few exceptions. It has become a way of life; the cost of doing business. It seems progression and beautification of a State must come at the price of totalitarianism, brute force, extortion and impunity.
The goings on have made me very very angry. I am angry because the solutions will only come from my generation (the previous one having mortgaged the future). Yet, I am worried at the damage that has been wreaked on our minds. Our arms are so weak; the burdens we bear so unnaturally heavy. And in the midst of it all, our country cries for salvation. Our country demands action not rhetoric or excuses.
We have an ongoing crisis of Leadership. Sacrificial, “it-must-be-done-or-I-die leadership”! Not just political leadership but individual leadership. Our generation is so busy, busy, busy that we leave leadership and engagement to louts, touts, layabouts and self seeking sycophants. Increasingly, our intellectual inferiors are becoming political leaders, simply because they had the time to attend the political meetings and run for office. We can’t all engage directly, but we can sponsor and empower those who can. We can all become political godfathers in one way or another.
We can all do the right thing at work, home, on the street, because that’s the way it ought to be and that is how it will be once again. The alternative is an evil unthinkable future.
For years, I have steadily and consciously been building a network of good, honorable people. The people I call the Leaders of the New Generation. I have sworn to stick by them, for without support and the encouragement that comes from knowing they are not alone; without constant conversation, they will lose hope and fall into the morass. I have pledged my life to helping them succeed with my money, resources, networks, intellect and time. I do believe that:
One man will make a difference
One man will change the world
One man will defeat the evil
One man will be sent, called, empowered or simply volunteer when there’s no one else
One man will arise in my lifetime.