As a people, we suffer from a chronic case of encephalopathy, strapped in on an imaginary cradle, we rock back and forth like a bunny gamboling after a dancing carrot. We relive the tales of yore, in search of an idyllic existence, we get our horns and hopes warped in a humdrum cycle, and like rings of an helix, we cannot escape. Entrapped in our own confabulation, we cannot escape the dragons that we gave wings to fly and fire to breathe. Within our geopolitical space, elephants may fly and the sun glows in the dark as pink, and we wouldn’t bat an eyelid. Our realities are so alienated from the rest of the world that what is normally called six to others is seen as three and not even nine.

 

It is the right of humans to exercise their insanity muscles once in a while. After all a daily dosage of five minutes insanity could be healthy. The only challenge is that in Nigeria, we have all exercised the right for so long and beyond elasticity that we have forgotten what it means to be normal. Just like every mad man on the street, we see life from a coloured prism and everyone else seems mad outside our realities.

 

Like the proverbial frog in a kettle, we always try to adjust our body temperature to accommodate that of the boiling kettle until it is too late. So the ideals of integrity, fairness, equity and corporate existence that was once sacrosanct in our national consciousness between pre-independence and the first Republic seem to be alien to us now. The astuteness and characters of the men that led the struggle against colonialism cannot be ignored. These proud Nigerians of their heritage, who wore their local fabrics like a peacock and attended all meetings as such, fought for freedom without firing a bullet. Who spoke their mother tongue without shame and were proud to be identified by such.

 

Now it has become normal to wear suit and tie everyday fashions foreign to us, and as Fela described it; suffering and smiling in a Lagos sun. It is now madness to wear your traditional attire. It is now madness to eat your pounded yam and soup with washed hands instead of fork and knife.

 

To to a typical Nigerian, it is madness if for any reason you don’t give or take bribe. As a matter of fact, many are goaded by the very few that seem to see life differently, and as they look in perplexities, all that puzzle their mind is: are you in this Nigeria at all? Contracts are doled out in a higgledy-piggledy manner on a who knows who and who gives what basis by politicians to other politicians. The popular sermon is “you don’t walk on wet floors you didn’t water before.”

 

To a typical Nigerian, it is madness to expect and demand accountability from leaders especially those that are kin to them. So we celebrate senators whose only legacy is the number of bad musical records he has churned out or weird dance steps he has conjured. We roll out the carpets for under-performing senators and representatives when they come to our communities during the build up to another elections to commission dysfunctional boreholes. And like hypnotized zombies we latch on to the packets of matches and onions they throw at us. We chant after them 4 + 4 = 2023, forgetting our brains at home.

 

In a sane clime, it would be considered great madness for you to walk into a general hospital with your heavily pregnant wife who’s due and you are asked to buy fuel for the generator so as to power the hospital. Then ask to deposit a considerable amount of money before CS operations would commence. But in Nigeria, this is taken as normal.

 

In a sane clime, when upsetting audio tapes of a serving Minister leaks out to the public, he would unceremoniously tender his resignation letter and in clear terms offer an apology at the minimum. It would be madness to imagine that such a person would continue to function and offer no explanation for such political imbroglio. In Nigeria, it would have been considered madness if he had resigned.

 

In a sane clime, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Onnoghen as a matter of principle would have tendered in his resignation and submitted himself to the instrumentation of the law he holds in high esteem. He would not have been summarily suspended in a defacto manner by the Presidency that has no constitutional rights to meddle in the affairs of an independent arm of government uninvited.

 

In a sane clime, the current government at the Federal and most state levels would not have finished half of its first term, and so it is highly impalpable to the mind when they are largely expected to have another right of way into the second term. What a madness!

 

In a sane clime, the candidate of the present opposition party would not have been given the ticket.

 

In a sane clime, when a bomb goes off somewhere and a life is snuffed out as a result, the national flag is hoisted halfway and the nation thrown into mourning. An inquest into the attack is launched and it is largely considered as an attack against the nation. But here, over forty soldiers are killed within the nation in an attack during a time when the nation isn’t at war and everything is normal. It becomes a case of soldier goes, soldier comes, barracks remain. What a shame!

 

As a people, we have redefined what it means to be mad and so when the question is raised: What isn’t madness in Nigeria? I wouldn’t be surprised if the answer I get is a photograph of a crippled man on clutches painted red and green with a broom taped to each one.

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