Certain everyday behaviours by Nigerians – educated, uneducated, rich, poor, adult, young, and what have you – have defined us as a people, as ‘Nigerians’.
On arrival at our international airports, Immigration and Customs officers holding your passport aloft, after their normal checks, look at you, Nigerian citizen or foreigner, and ask: What do you have for us? You leave their desks and try using the toilets at our airports (especially local wings): Holding toilet rolls, cleaners are asking you to ‘bless’ them.
Try visiting our malls/supermarkets/banks: Security-men (Civilians mostly) holding the doors look into your eyes as you make your way signaling to you to ‘bless’ them.
I have traveled to countries in Europe, Middle East, North America, and even West Africa, no where did I find this scourge of a culture than in Nigeria. May be it is practiced elsewhere, but that’s not my worry here.
These behaviours tellingly reveal their impacts through the transactional attitude amongst our people in even more serious national issues.
Take our electorates for example. Electorates are known to be asking politicians aspiring to govern them: What do you have for me (us)? They go on to receive N500, tomatoes, indomie, cups of rice, and other materials in exchange for their consciences and votes.
Politicians in political parties trade good, God fearing aspirants / candidates, people with governing capacity for small ‘pots of porridge’. They ask aspiring politicians: What do you have for me (us), thereby surrendering the party structure to ‘money- bags’ and people who have no business governing (leading) them.
Dear Nigerian electorate and politician: If the politician vying for elective office gives you what he has for you now, then you have no say when he or she gets to power. He has nothing more to give to you. You collected it all when he or she was consulting you. You made him or her buy his way through. You have taken it (power) out of your hands. But that should not be the case. You are the people to whom power belongs.
This evolving culture here described is how bad governance got rooted in Nigeria. We must deal with this culture starting from here and now with our collective and individual resolve.
Yes we must !
Ukpai Iro Ukpai PhD is Abia State Governorship aspirant 2023
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Bringing back the glory to Abia State