The entertainment value of Nigerian governments
As any serious-minded person would be very much well aware of, and governance, to talk less of that of any country as a nation of diverse people, is a most serious business! In ancient times, during the most solid development of what we now refer to as human civilization, especially during the most active Greek contributions to it in philosophy and human scientific knowledge, their great philosophers such as Plato, Socrates and Aristotle did discuss the stages of human education and development as a person. They reckoned that education should start from the most elementary, such as the kindergarten through the rest of the primary, the secondary, tertiary including professional education; and finally to the philosophers (that is, the ultimately truly wise and educated persons) who alone should qualify to be in the ruler classes of any society.
However, as ideal and as entirely humanly understandable as this thinking maybe, the human society has never, anywhere to my limited though not that small knowledge, attained this most excellent norm of existence and governance; though attempts thereat continue to be made. Some of these include the setting of minimum educational standards which anybody must attain before being allowed at all to contest any political election in most countries of the world; though ridiculously even passing primary or secondary school examinations becomes an issue in some of the funniest and entertaining of these countries! For example, even the most touted “currently greatest country in the world” as the United States of America is often held by many to be, are just coming out of an era of top government leadership by a man who though seemingly God-sent in many ways, turned out to be the surely non-philosopher type but greatest political public entertainer that that country had ever had in its entire history! But then, that is the real world as it really is!
In our very dear country of Nigeria, surely, things had always been and would in all likelihood remain the same until the vast majority of Nigerians looking for a proper country and proper governances in it, would wake up and ensure that this becomes that case! Otherwise, what we have had right from the outset is of others-fooling and entertainment governance, one after the other! First, the very colonial British government and people, came here and out of very clear and very selfish national interest roped some 250 most diverse ethnic nationalities together meaninglessly, except for their economic greed, and called them a country! Then, we moved on.
When the clamour for independence came, we had political parties (NPC, NEPU, etc) whose membership was not permissible for all Nigerians to be part of. Yet neither the silly British colonial masters in their crass “national” self-interest nor the already colonially mentally subjugated people, would see the silly meaning of that fact. They went along with it, and even allowed such a nepotic entity to eventually rule the entire “geographical entity only, but which was not a country”, according to our very heroes past! Then we had military coups, the very second one that really turned things right upside down! This “second coup” was based on the claim that the overthrown government was progressing with a unitary government in the place of our colonially well established and subsequently negotiated federation of semi-independent nations. But they went ahead and did nothing else in their turns other than escalating that unitarism, married with the autocracies of the most criminal orders; and their entertainment natures, as well as practices, continued! Instead of the former semi-independent and hugely very progressive federation of semi-autonomous nations, they continued to splinter buster the geographical entity into smaller and smaller and more perfect non-survivable units for corruption from the autocratic central governments! And the entertainment-only value of our governments continued. How they expected this federation of units of corruption to turn out to become a success has always entertained me – like a dead man trying to bury himself!
Lately, one of the commonest write-ups that I have been reading about Nigeria, both from within and from without, is of Nigeria as a failed state. Naturally, that is what every sensible person knew that we will inherit the age-long political “mago-magoing”, unless we changed these systematic styles of corruption. All the data and reference literature on this failed nation saga are available and displayed in all these write-ups on Nigeria – a country run by a variety of very highly world-rated terrorist groups, while the people in official government are either dead silent and watching as brain dead people, or the others addressed by the various names as the mafia, the official terrorists, or the official national wealth sharers, etc, are busy haggling and unstoppably sharing and carting away the wealth; and borrowing and sharing more from externally! How more fun can a country get?; how more entertaining?
However, no doubt, this entertainment value is only for people who by the grace of God have, through very many decades of serious education and hard work, earned for themselves enough understanding to appreciate these fooleries as well as enough personal resource not to have been pushed down to such miserable poverty, hunger, malnutrition, and other diseases; as to be able to have the luxury of such amusement and of being entertained by them. The transferred miseries of the over 80% of the rest of the country that is suffering from the effects of these fooleries, as briefly indicated above partially only, however, now and again, crop up and would seem to bring sadness, even depression, on these amusements. So, these writings become the way that one responds to such depression; by finding and doing some things on behalf of these suffering masses – so that perhaps these marauders, economic and other socio-political impoverishers of the peoples may see these and begin in time to undergo the repentance that they need to do in their own very personal interests in the natural economy of life and death and of eternal life!
So far, I have only discussed the overall entertainment and amusing performance of the Nigerian and her colonial governments as a whole; but, of course, not really delving into the details of any of the individual fowlers themselves thereof, as well as amongst themselves. However, even the given three most prominent and easily reckoned arms of the governments in Nigeria, their current fooleries among and between themselves only cry to the high heavens for both their amusement and their open self-contradictions. There will be no place to discuss any of these here in details, but must be left for other times! However, at least one of these must be mentioned here!
The House of Representatives as the most widely representative and national arm of the Legislature in the exercise of its rightful constitutional responsibilities, recently summons the president (as the chief servant of the people that he must be, otherwise he will be nothing at all), especially as he would neither explain to the people in a state broadcast on the state of the nation or other, to let us understand why we are being run by all sorts of bandits and terrorists while he sits down and does or says nothing. Many politicians began to very stupidly politicise this very sound exercise of their constitutional responsibility. Many non-partisan legal luminaries in the country wrote and spoke everywhere to advise both the president and the legislature about the right order of proper performance of their responsibility that this single act surely is. Then, the next thing we hear is of the very same House of Representatives apologizing to the president who flouted this most important rule of law by refusing to respond to their summons, for doing such a correct duty at all! How funnier, amusing, and sorely entertaining can a national legislature get, with people’s governance and the understanding and exercise of their functions? And this is to say nothing also of the death of the Nigerian judiciary and its utter rubbishing by the executive arm and the rest of the kleptomaniac politicians; times without number – from the simple magistrate somewhere to the high court judges and right up to the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice!.
So, in the conclusion of this only very brief discussion of our national miseries and political entertainment governments only, we must pray for them to learn soon enough how to repent and to get to do the jobs for which they have been elected; or rather, for which they had “gotten themselves in those positions of governances”. Let us also pray that those of us who are so privileged as not to be part of this governance messing up and politicking in Nigeria but also not really among the thoroughly messed up masses, that we will never tire of representing them in these Fourth Estate of the Realms – whether in any professionally qualified sense or otherwise! God bless Nigeria! Amen – for we shall surely get there sooner or later!
Asuzu, Professor of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Ibadan.