On What the Nigerian Wants


Nigerians, only one thought–what do we want what do we want what do we want? And I realize the whole bedlam lot of us don’t want anything particularly, we do not want anything really.

Adams Oshiomole, in the most contrite we’ve ever seen from a public official, apologises for his mea culpa concerning a hapless, powerless citizen–did so publicly and with great depth to his words. But no, Nigerians still have further rubbish to talk because he had tea with the woman? What the fuck did you want? Him to resign for clearing her off the street?

Let’s stop getting it twisted. The Governor was very right to supervise the clearing of the streets of hawkers. The widow was wrong to be on the streets. Simple as simple gets and don’t bring some structural socioeconomic rubbish to this basic legal situation.

What was wrong was the insensitivity of his PERSONAL interaction with the widow, the abuse meted on her and the manner in which he made his public office less in dignity. And he, when the uproar followed, promptly apologised and gave the woman some money [hopefully from his personal funds]. I think that is a satisfactory end to the matter.

But because Nigerians don’t particularly want anything, talk less of beginning, middle or end, the surutu continues about tea with displays of pixelled pseudo-revolutionary hypocrisy.

Now, I’ve listened and I’ve heard nobody excoriate the people who witnessed the assault on the woman without doing anything. They brought the station of the citizen to an equally deplorable low. They allowed themselves to be dehumanized in the dehumanization of a fellow citizen. Instead, what do we hear? That the bystanders were “shocked”. Shocked my foot! They simply don’t provide material for pointless prattle is more like it. Like the bystanders at ALUU. Too vast and impersonal, but ah, too like the us in the mirror. Unlike our silly facecap wearing philistine of a Governor who nonetheless apologised. Has any of those bystanders apologised? Or you think they shouldn’t? Really?

Do you not see that the action of the Governor is a breakdown of Constitutional Law at the level of the INDIVIDUAL? From owners of votes demanding their civil entitlements without compromise to owners of votes paying their taxes. Is this so hard?

I used to think it was only some people who didn’t have anything at stake. I’m wrong. Most people don’t and that’s just so sad. You either want hawkers off the main roads (while demanding they be treated in a civil manner) OR you don’t mind if roads are blocked, you cannot want both or none of these alternatives. You can’t want hawkers and complain about blocked roads. You can’t want law and sentimentality at the same time.

There can be no change, no progress without a desire and a striving for it and that, desire beyond the infantile sense of a want, striving beyond mere bromides, is exactly what is lacking on a nationwide scale.


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