What Is Wrong With The Nigerian?

I’ve been thinking about this question for days – “What Is Wrong With The Nigerian?”

Traveling around Africa and Asia helps me to imagine what Nigeria could be like with light and leadership. Western countries are too advanced for me to conceptualise a correlation. So, other climes help me to project.

It dawned on me that some of these countries like Nigeria, have nations within nations. They are multi-ethnic and multi-religious. They had Military rule. They were colonised. They had religious conflicts. They had slave trade. They had civil wars. They were corrupt. (Some still are.) They have the Dutch curse of natural resources. Yet…they function. Young people succeed there. They are not burdened by the international shame that we attract. They have electricity and working governments.

I’m beginning to believe that Nigeria’s problem is in the DNA of the Nigerian. It is deeply cultural and ideological. That means if you mix in other variables, as long as the constant remains the same, the outcome will be inevitable.

Culture in this context, doesn’t refer to lifestyle, history or art. It refers to the predictable way in which we think and reason. The things we accept as normal and true.

I am not convinced we really had “good old days”. Our grandparents told us tales of corruption, slave trade and human sacrifices, alongside stories of traditional norms and values. The good old days perhaps worked because something in our culture made it work – The superiority of some and the subjugation of others. Nigeria reminds me of the fictitious place in “Those Who Walk Away From Omelas”. Our society works so long as some people are willing to be oppressed – women, youth, the poor and some ethnic groups. Nigeria is a power construct; a nation of comparative achievement. Someone must be poor for our wealth to mean something. Someone must be subservient so we feel important. Someone must fail so we succeed.

Little wonder that any time we introduce a new culture or environment; for instance, when Nigerians work abroad, we suddenly receive sense. Those who fail to do us proud abroad, seem to be in the minority. Even when I visit the offices of multinationals in Nigeria, I wonder if I’m still in Nigeria. I see my fellow Nigerians following due process and am shocked.

I’m starting to accept that Nigeria’s problem is the culture of Nigeria, and not our circumstances. The one thing that could have rewritten our culture code – education – has been destroyed. Without it, Nigeria is going nowhere.

An alternative tool for rewriting our code – media – has been bastardised and highjacked by the basest of elements.

I want to commit some resources to interrogating the query, “What is Wrong With the Nigerian?” I don’t know if I am asking the right question. I don’t know what kind of research is required. I believe if we begin to crack Nigeria’s cultural limitations, perhaps we can craft a strategy to free her from them.

May God “safe” us. 🙏

Perhaps the problem with Nigeria lies in the DNA of the Nigerian. It is deeply cultural and ideological. Click To Tweet

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