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The Nigeria Identity: The roots connecting us all

The Nigeria Identity: The roots connecting us all

It is almost six decades that journalism icon, chief Peter Enahoro popularly known as Peter Pan published his series of articles in Daily Times into book, where he brilliantly made a satirical enquiry into identity, nationalism and inventiveness on how to be a Nigerian. It is a truth about the identity of Nigerians laced with satirical innuendos.

Peter Pan with his literary dexterity delved into and captured the ways and traditions of the average Nigerians. He highlighted what average Nigerians consider as normal yet weird and unusual to the outside world. To be a Nigerian, one must learn that nothing is ever fair, even indeed anything is possible, and this has made average Nigerians to believe he or she can pay his or her way through life by offering and taking bribe to facilitate many of life’s processes.

Did I hear you say corruption? Yes it is corruption, and it has been with Nigeria from her independence from Britain. Yet, it is still with us up till this moment with no remedy in sight. The only difference between then and now is the humongous level of it now when compared to the past era. Every activity now involving life and movement has to be facilitated with cash. Long life of frustration await whoever insist that bribe will not be offered to the officials, as nothing will be done without it.

Another important trait anyone should have in the process of becoming a Nigerian is to know that the interpretation of the law depends on the man in charge of a particular office at a point in time. Positions and uniforms are to be respected by all means. Policemen, customs and immigration officials live on bribe. Local government officials expect you to grease their palms. This was manifest enough during and after the EndSars protest that rented the air last year and this year. You only need to pay a token to bend the law in your favour, and it promptly does your wish. Therefore, to be a Nigerian, you must learn how to beat the system.

To bend the law, you must pay a token fee, and once you do so, you are offered a special salute by the policeman on the highway or the immigrations officer at the border and allowed to do exactly as you wish. Thus, to be a Nigerian, you must learn to beat the system.

Worst case now is that parents now pay a kind of special fee to get their children into schools from basic education through to university. It is not for nothing that Nigeria is the second most corrupt country in the world. This is not a country of saints; to be truly a Nigerian, you must realise that official rules and regulations serve very little purpose.

Those are some of the submissions of Peter Pan about the traits of being Nigerian, however, what he refuses to put into cognition at the time but is very prevalence now, is the ethnicisation of crimes. Journalist cum lecturer at Crescent University, Abeokuta, noted with rapid attention that the crimes now in present Nigeria is viewed from Lens of the threshold of religion and tribe of the one who perpetrates those crimes.

Just recently, a group known as by Ijaw Women Connect (IWC), says it will not allow anyone victimise Diezani Alison-Madueke, a former minister of petroleum resources, who is accused of stealing $2.5 billion from the federal government during the time of Goodluck Jonathan which she denied the allegations.

Diezani Alison-Madueke

Though everyone has right to fair hearing, but the bone of contention is the way her kinsmen quickly jump to defend her despite the obvious atrocities she committed against the country during the reign of Goodluck Jonathan. Her kinsmen try to create a saint from her which I think anyone in his or her right frame of mind should never attempt to do. But why? The answer can not be far-fetched, her kinsmen do not want to reason in the best interest of the nation, but from sub-national level of her being Ijaw.

Another perfect example of religion and ethnicisation of crimes in Nigeria which is a basic criteria to be a Nigerian, was how Sheikh Gumi was quick to jump to defend the so-called bandits ravaging the northwest region of the country. He (Gumi) in his “wisdom” made a case for the bandits for fighting for a true cause. Why? Your guess is as good as mine, religion and ethnicity of the perpetrators.

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Sheikh Gumi

Another angle was the high rate of kidnapping in the south west region which has been attributed to the Fulani herdsmen, but not until recently it was discovered that those arrested are thorough bred Yoruba cashing out on the profiling of the herdsmen as the only perpetrators of such crime in the region. Furthermore, there has been increase in the state of insecurity in the southeast region. To someone from the region, the atrocities are being committed by unknown gunmen while there is indication that the perpetrators are from the region. But the people from the region sees them as fighting for freedom of the people of the region, while same people seems to see Boko Haram terrorists as evil. What is the difference? Your guess is as good as mine, religion and ethnicity of the perpetrators.

Many have talked about how the country should be a role model to other countries in the tropical region, and all has been blamed on the lack of good leadership, but where do the leaders come from? It is a rhetorical question, but the answer is from the people.

People from this country should know that the little wrongs that each of the about 200 millions Nigerians do are what made up for the state of the nation. Leaders are not aliens, they are drawn from the society, they are a product of the society and a reflection of the society.
Nigeria shall be great again.

GHARNY YEKU

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