Nigeria: An Unlucky Lucky Nation?

By Sulaiman Aledeh

Can Nigeria truly work? Why is almost everyone now a thief? Why does the one who complains or does it differently and well seen as the problem? Why can’t we truly make people pay for their crimes? Why?

Every sector of our national life is enmeshed in corruption. Tell me which one that’s free? As you try to fix it, you have those who pretend to be helping to fix it, destroy it. Now, it looks we no longer have Boko Haram. It’s now “bandits” and that’s a lucrative business.

Sadly, we are told ransoms aren’t paid. So, what’s the incentive for the almost weekly business of kidnapping our school pupils? For fun or money? Why would anyone even try hard to rationalise these acts? Would this be happening if leaders have their children in those schools?

Take the Power Sector as an example. Isn’t a simple logic that any business that’s trying to give better service and make a profit will embrace any technology that will guard against loss? Why are ALL the DISCOs against metering? Aren’t they profiting from the lack of it?

Why does it take forever to meter a customer? Why is it almost impossible to have your bad meter replaced when it goes bad? Even when communities buy transformers, why do DISCOs refuse to install or ‘energize’ those transformers? Are the DISCOs not aware? Are they aware?

Is it some unwritten plan to steal from the customer? Oh, talking about stealing. Two categories here steal. The Disco and the customer. There’s always a customer who steals power. He finds a way to manipulate the system by getting served without paying. He gets shamed if caught.

Then there’s the Disco that pretends to care and will not meter the customer but will be quick to slam bills off the top of some heads. Oh, they unlike the thieving customer are never shamed. They do no wrong. They’re lords and the country is at their mercy.

You’d think the regulator is for the people. Far from it. It is enmeshed in this whole play of games. It was it who said only 40% of customers have been metred. In any examination, that’s an ‘F’. Whenever the outcry gets louder, they throw and open a new plan just so you think all is well. Like the MAP! The Metre Asset Provider Scheme is the biggest fraud lately. How successful has that been? Have you taken a look at the books? It was one move with plenty of motions yet no success. 40% as given my NERC is even being modest. This isn’t about the sector. It is about Nigeria and that’s one example of how sectors fleece those they’re meant to serve.

By the way, a particular Disco has placed itself in the spotlight. I am still studying. The countless letters, visits by this Estate in Baruwa, Lagos hasn’t resulted in any good. The Discos are gods!

Security is one that everyone expects to be seen and felt. It starts with the recruitment process. How do we get into the system? How do we train them? Who trains them? Just like the power sector, the corporate image is absent but seem to be present. A visit to any police station shows the rot in our larger society. You have to be “someone” to even be given a listening ear. “Hey, oga stop there”, ” You cannot park there o”, “Leave there”, ” Go back!”, “Why are you looking for the DPO?”, ” Oga, if you no talk well, we will detain you with them” et al

Which are you familiar with? By the way, did you see the lucky stupid policeman who almost died by being knocked by another crazy Nigerian caught driving against traffic? Lucky to be alive. Stupid because of the way he placed himself in harm’s way. That gives you a picture of training and orientation. Every training school in Nigeria is an aggrieved mind who has been “punished” by being posted there. Psychologists will help here by telling us the kind of training anyone will get from an unhappy instructor. Keep in mind, the focus is on the bad guys.

Every sector has the good guys and the worry here is that the good ones are being gaslighted by the bad ones; making them feel they’re the problem. Far from it. Corruption is deep. Very deep. The one who complains even thinks it’s the “big man” and not him. A close look tells it.

Artisans are rippers too! As careful as you are, a mechanic can right before you open an account on your car. “Catalytic Converter or catalyst” a device around the exhaust system of your car is one thing many have lost. When your car visits the auto shop, thank your God if it comes back intact with that device still in place. When was the last time a tailor returned your excess material? You wondered if we have all same shape and sizes that the same yard of clothing material goes into the making of that dress. Who else isn’t into this bad dealings?

The media isn’t free! Some have been so pauperised that they lose their confidence and self-worth. Some have veered off the professional paths to become businessmen and women that for every work published, for every airtime something has to give. This is sad and must stop.

We are in a pandemic quite alright and it became business for many. Unprecedented exploitation and hike in some cheap vitamins. Companies scampering to get in the business of palliative. Make headlines as “helpers of the people” when it is actually about helping their stomachs.
Aren’t we all bandits? Do we all need a Gumi to do the right thing? Does a Gumi speaking for us make our bad actions acceptable?

P.S: This is not to deride anyone or target anyone. I have deliberately not tagged anyone because those to be so tagged will still see this and if they choose to act right, fine, else someday soon, history will point to us with an irreversible and permanent tag. God bless Nigeria.

Sulaiman Aledeh is a Journalist, Strategic Media & Communication Consultant. He writes from Lagos, Nigeria

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