By Al Akhigbe

We have blamed it on our leaders, blamed it on colonialism, blamed it on imperialism, blamed it on the sun and even blame it on the air we breathe. We’ve spent considerable time blaming everything but us as the cause of our misfortunes. It’s about time we looked in the mirror and took responsibility for the state we are in.

If we must change the course of this nation, we must tell ourselves the truth. Our leaders are not aliens, they come from among us. If we were good enough, our leaders would be good enough. Like people, like leaders.

The present crop of leaders did not come by coup de’tat. They sold themselves to us and we bought them with our precious votes. Remember, they defeated an incumbent – a feat unprecedented.  They worked on our collective psyche and got our collective support. Always, all manner of people come and get us to fall for their deception. Soldiers come, we blow our trumpets. Politicians come, we roll out the drums. Pastors come, we praise and worship. Ponzis come, we rush them with our money. And you think we’re okay. We’re not!

We are so susceptible to deception and wallow in self-delusion  and crass mentality. We lack the emotional intelligence to choose the right leaders that can help us chart the course of nationhood.

A people that can choose a Buhari over a Jonathan need psychological evaluation. Agreed, Jonathan was a disappointment. But Buhari was a disaster…has always been. Yet, Nigerians chose him over many other candidates. Our intelligentsia, diasporans, chieftains, et al, were jumping up and down campaigning for him. Every voice of reason about the dangers of a Buhari was shut down.

“Even if he brought a NEPA bill as his certificate, we’ll still vote for him.” They said.

Now, the foundation of the country is out of course. Things have fallen apart and the centre is hanging on a loose string. Herdsmen are reigning supreme, bandits are rampaging, kidnappers are having a field day. Cattle are first class citizens while citizens are second class cattle. Everyone that can run is running helter skelter, either to abroad or neighbouring countries. Why? Because of our poor choice.

The abnormality didn’t start in 2015. Since we attained independence, we’ve been on a roll choosing the bad and the ugly from options that include the good. Yet, we boast of being educated and exposed.

There was an Awo when  we chose a certain unknown Shagari. We rejoiced when democracy was overthrown by khaki boys. We rejoiced when Shonekan was shoved aside by Abacha. We watched with glee as the military foisted a constitution on us. And we were excited as the same military changed from khaki uniform to flowing agbada to continue ruling us. Are we jinxed?

Let someone like Femi Adeshina, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, etc, run for the office of the president and see if Nigerians won’t rubbish them. We will ensure they brought all their money to the table, “chop” the money and still vote for people like MC Oluomo.

That brings me to the issue of how we delude ourselves.

We talk about how our politicians are so corrupt, but we never admitted how we encourage and entrench them in this corruption.

Do you know why most politicians that lost election became poor, traumatised, sick and even dead? Do you know why Buhari cried when he lost to OBJ in his third bid to be president? Oh, you must have thought it’s because of his love for Nigeria. Fa, fa, fa….fowl!

When politicians run for offices, the people suck them dry of all their substances. When they lose, they become indebted, broke and bankrupt. When they win, they try to recoup their investment, settle people and godfathers. And you think it will be different if we break up. As if it’s not the same us that’ll make up the fragmented parts.

Until we address our mentality, it doesn’t  matter who is president; it doesn’t matter if we break into fragment of communities, we’ll still be bedevilled by the same problems.

We cannot have greed as our creed and hope to be free of corruption and political insanity.

(c) Al Akhigbe 2021

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