Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Children of the corn

A society will stand if fairness and equality is promoted in a stable environment governed by the enlightened.... Mr C

Roads in Lagos State reflect the state of the Nigerian society. A typical Lagos drive is characterized by:

  1. Decent drivers (like you and me, the enlightened ones) with neat car and windows up , air conditioner in full blast ("we cannot afford to share the air with those mad Nigerians")
  2. Dare-devil Okada riders involved in some life threatening stunts (I wonder who thought these people how to ride. Possibly the =N=250, 25 in one DVDs expose them to impressions they cannot handle. Those buffoons just don't realize that there is no director on alert to shout "cut" )
  3. Yellow rickety vans (officially called Danfo) broken down, trying to pick passengers or reversing on the highway (the only qualification to become a danfo driver is to be certified mad).
  4. Reckless drivers in vehicles with sirens who drive above the "law" (because they are "big boys", they have the right to go pass traffic-light and scare mere mortal (normal drivers) to make way in crazy traffic situations)
  5. On-the-go services "professionals" (law enforcement (woefully dressed) criminals officers, part-time/full time beggars, car washers, hawkers, trainee armed robbers, armed robbers, and mad men/women)

And every one meets in Traffic!!

The most crazy traffic are in t-junctions; Poor coordination in planning, positions two opposing lanes (going in the same direction) to meet at the same time point at the same time.
A lot of psychology goes into determining who goes first and why. All the thinking takes place within a span of 1 to 2 seconds.

Everyone believes their issues are more urgent than the other so rush to the lane, Adrenaline pumped!!
Manners of reckless driving should convince the other driver of a lack in vehicle control and that the driver will not stop.
The more experienced driver have tactics in vehicle positioning that can prevent the next driver from being able to go ahead before his/her.
But before they make that move, time is spent to evaluate the next man; what is the worse that can happen if I position my car in front of his/her? Will the person scatter my headlamps? If the person does, can he/she pay for it? Do I have the time to prove my right? Am I dealing with a human being here?

A gridlock emerges. Then some danfo drivers (concerned about the time wasted) send their conductors to clear the traffic. Three to four hooligans gather to manage the situation. The decent drivers (you and I) sit back to watch as hooligans and street boys decide "how we go forward".

This is Nigeria!!

Daily the enlightened ones fill the newspaper with conferences and workshop on "how to move Nigeria forward". We receive/give awards for all forms of distinguished actions towards apparent steps aimed at "promoting the well being of the Nigerian populace".
It is not uncommon to see discussions that make a mockery of the current system and the incapability of errand staff and the service industry. Yet we fail to see that we are actually making a mockery of ourselves. I believe that the beauty of quality education and enlightenment is that it increases the probability that the individual, who possesses it, imbibes some form of order in how he/she does his/her thing. Without order in thinking, vision lacks depth and rational basis. When the enlightened remove themselves from leadership, according to Wole Soyinka, “The man dies”. What we create is a vacuum that leaves room for the type of leaders Nigeria has today; leaves room for Nigeria to have its first graduate president 47 years after independence.

I have a personal conviction that I have let this country down. It invested in providing me with the best training the world has to offer abroad. On my return back, my focus has been to make money. We have made the money and used it to create barriers between the enlightened and the average Nigerians. Their jealousy is evident in the ferocity used to conduct criminal operations. But the truth is, they need jobs. And we have not been able to create it for them. While we enjoy 24 hour local supply of electricity (thanks to Mikano (generators) and Zenon (diesel)) amongst other things, they ponder in the heat and curse the day they were born.
Like most young Nigerian around my age, we are perfecting plans on foreign countries with easy naturalization process to aid our children later on in life (
Issues that spurs us to think that way:what will happen if we (Nigeria) falls into war? Which university, ABROAD, can I send my child to school in, so they can have a upper hand?), instead of focusing on how to develop this nation and create opportunities where they can effectively functions and add value.
I think we need to create groups charged towards making a change (not focusing only on criticizing the government, but also developing and implementing ideas that should change our socio-economic-political environment). Our media needs to work on collating ideas that can make a difference and channeling it to those can implement. There should be more volunteer organizations tasked with empowering the youth with skills.
Maybe I am not well informed, but most group that have such "drive" in present day Nigeria are usually elitist and filled with so much politics. The participants are either too sophisticated to assist the Nigerian case (the most evident I know of, from my opinion, are participants that are lost in developing irrelevant art on the issue or some form of awareness that does not in anyway affect the people they are fighting for) or big-bellied politicians (who are just looking for some naive girls/guys to sleep with).

I strongly believe that Nigerians await the coming the enlightened into the scheme of things. They are tired of looter and the present crop of politicians (with no proven track record in other endeavors or personal conscience). They need those who can see beyond what the human eyes permits; who can develop vision that coordinates the personal aspiration of its citizens towards a greater good.

Till my conscience takes over and forces me to do something, I will sit back in my car, in this crazy traffic. My ipod will have Asa's "fire on the mountain" playing with all my window up, as hooligans and street boys decide "how we go forward".


Anonymous said...

I am glad that I got a chance to see Nigeria for myself because you make it sound so scary.

Mr C said...

I am just exaggerated some facts to prove a point.
It actually not a bad place. Nigerians just need to put in some efforts to rebuilding it.

archiwiz said...

Nice blog. You write engagingly.

Mr C said...

thanx archiwiz.

Anonymous said...

I love how you used the traffic as a metaphor for Nigeria as a whole.

I hope you know that I'm counting on you being one of those people who makes a change. You are not permitted to sit back! :)

Mr C said...

Thanx for the nice word and comments goodgirl.
Well, I might work on the not sitting back approach.I just hope, I have the courage to step out of my car. The feeling inside is unbeatable.

Anonymous said...

Gradually and steadily we may build a better nigeria, that is if evryone or some pple will stop for a moment and ask themselves, what am i here for, whta is what i done or contributed to this place i find myself, do i want a better live for my children? when we start to ask questions then we will seek answers we need. Mr C, i appreacite this blog cos its call for all to take action. Are u on all these social sites, you may need to post dor all to hear and know that the time as come for us to take action. It must start with us.

Anonymous said...

LOL..Hi Mr. C. This Aminah, Yemi sis. I start reading your blog, but I had to comment on this. When I visited there in 2004. My first time going into traffic, sitting in the passenger side, I almost had a heart attack! I was grabbing onto the side handle for dear life. Coming from America where we do have crazy drivers also, but there is still the rules of Red light means stop, Yellow light means slow down and Green means go. Man you guys, I don't see how you get around without having an accident every 5 seconds. That was definitely a culture shock for me..


Mr C said...

Thanks Aminah.
The driving scene can be crazy here. But if you stay around long enough u will understand the order within the chaos.