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June 12, sociopaths, and the many plagues of Nigeria

Published by The Nation on Sun, 16 Jun 2019

The problem is that everything revolves around good governance, and we are still waiting for it. Good governance interrupts evil instincts and directs us all to what is good for the sake of everyone. It insists that everyone tempers his/her sociopathic tendencies with something closely resembling good sense.The annulled June 12, 1993 election stands for many things to many people. To some people, the date is all about M.K.O. Abiolas unrealised mandate. To others, the date is a reminder of loved ones lost and gone: the ones who died when news of Abiolas win was being relayed, the ones who died when the tanks were rolled out on the streets in the protests that followed the annulment, and the ones who died when the resulting upheaval necessitated some travelling to exodus back home.To the surviving relatives of all these departed ones, that date will continually bring sad memories. To many of us others, it stands as a continual beckon of ever receding hope, still there, still being chased but getting ever fainter and fainter. That fading light is no other than that Nigerians can manage to agree on something when they put their minds to it. That something could of course be an election candidate (like Abiola), a pet peeve (politicians), a favourite pass time (food), or a national dish (pounded yam I think).The trouble is that we have failed to move from the point at which June 12 met us. At that point, we were wondering who we were as a people, either just odious or plain ogres. Then, we killed and maimed each other recklessly in the name of God, and we starved ourselves of needed development for ethnic. Life after that point has been no better; we are still wandering around our national sub consciousness as the Israelites of yore wandered over Palestine, only now without their shame and repentance. We are still killing and maiming each other, and still starving ourselves of much needed developments; the only reason for that now is that we have collectively adopted the psychology of sociopaths.A sociopath, says my dictionary, is a person with an antisocial personality disorder, exhibiting antisocial behaviour that usually is the result of social and environmental factors in the persons early life. The only common factor I see in the early life of us Nigerians is this high level of ignorance mixed with a little bit of poverty. However, I dont think poverty has much to do with the monumental waste by people in positions of authority that we are witnessing in Nigeria today; I think its all that very, very toxic ignorance that got mixed into our corn cereal when we were young. It has made us all sociopathic.Thats right; the nation has been seized by many sociopathic plagues, as they did Pharaohs Egypt. Shall I name them, or have you been reading the handwriting on the wall too' For exercise, oh do let me; I promise to make it more fun. Our first plague is the government that perpetually oscillates between somnambulism and somniloquism. It jerks its knees only when you hit it with a patella of criticism. Seriously, I know my medical subject, thank you very much.The problem is that everything revolves around good governance, and we are still waiting for it. Good governance interrupts evil instincts and directs us all to what is good for the sake of everyone. It insists that everyone tempers his/her sociopathic tendencies with something closely resembling good sense. Rather than slap my neighbour with a law suit for leaving his tree branches to shed leaves into my compound, therefore, I learn to grin, bear it and plant my own tree near the wall.When I find that the driver of the car in front of me has stopped to hold a meeting with his long lost friend coming in the opposite direction, I dont accidentally run into the said car from behind. If I do, Im only giving way to my sociopathic tendencies. Instead, the government should help me to be able to point him to a law that says I deserve to get home early too after a hard days work without anyone stopping in front of me to talk about their village. So, please help us government to help ourselves because sociopathic tendencies have got us something terrible.The second plague is that this country is peopled with brains who have absolutely no inkling of what it means to be real human beings. That includes me of course. Just the other day, I heard the story of how an Okada man hit a taxi and, rather than apologise, hid his fault behind the support of his fellow Okada riders who one by one stopped by to lend a hand in the quarrel. The union support was so much that another Okada rider was said to have pulled up on the opposite side of the road, jumped across and slapped the taxi driver before asking what happened. We have become that lawless.Can you also tell me why else someone would take a look at his parents house and set fire to it because his parents refused to give him a certain amount of money' Or, how can one explain why an individual would spend his sections entire subvention on a car for a girlfriend' Yesterday, I heard a new one. A man, someone said, would even go so far as to buy an air-conditioned car for his girlfriend while he and his family would use a non-air-conditioned one. Now, I have heard the common saying that people give out only what they have but surely this is loving ones neighbour more than oneself when you give out what you dont have!My third plague' Take the banditry story. Now, that is a plague that no one has explained to me to my satisfaction. From all reports from the official media, social media, radio rumour, word of mouth, etc., there are bandits everywhere, on roads, in forests, just name it, waiting to do what, I dont know. Yet, no one has told me where they come from, how they got in here, and what the heck they want the whole blue sky for.Shall I go on with them plagues' Try the (un)civil service the (a)public service teachers students politicians Niger Delta boko haram and Oh, whats the use; it will just be one plague after another and we will be no wiser at the end of the day, like Pharaoh. We are in dire straits then, caught between the absence of good governance, and those plaguing plagues. A shucks to them things!Many of us have carried on as if this fourth republic democracy is built on the blood and sweat of June 12, and so it is. Actually, to claim otherwise would be hypocritical, and we get enough of that from our pastors and Imams and other religious pundits, thank you. Let us wise up. We can also give kudos to the government for declaring the day a national holiday. Thats a start, I guess.We need more than a national holiday. One would have thought such monumental losses of human resources as happened around the June 12 matter would sort of knock some sense into us and bring us, at least, to the edge of self-realisation instead of down this labyrinthine path of self-interest and self-gratification. Self-realisation as a people is the only way we can define who we are as a nation, a people and a kind. Hopefully, it would also assist us to determine our goals, purposes and place amidst this troubled brood of sociopaths currently peopling this world. Sadly, this article, first published on 17thJune, 2013, is still relevant today.
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