The system is broken, and the rot is deep. That much is apparent. Mediocrity has become the norm. It is everywhere and no matter how immune you may consider yourself to be. If you look close enough, you will see evidence of your acceptance of the ‘anyhowness’ that has plagued Nigeria.
This post will not give you a solution because I don’t even know what that would look like. This piece is to raise the alarm. An alarm that will perhaps make you check for symptoms in your own life. And hopefully, the rot has not eaten too deep for you to spot them and even do something about them.
Fixing the system is an unending war that takes place on two fronts. On one front is the mind – a battlefield that – if lost, makes the other front’s fixing impossible. And yet, the rot in the system can eat deep into the mind of those in it.
It starts from holding your voice when you are to speak against corruption. Or turning a blind eye when someone fails to deliver on the duties their office is tasked with. The rot begins to take hold when ‘we adapt’ to circumstances created because our fundamental human rights have been trampled. It starts from the very moment you hold your tongue in acceptance.
That is the first battle you lose. Others happen pretty quickly after that. Then one day you realize (if at all you do) that the rot isn’t only about what is being done by others, but what you find yourself doing. You will see it manifest in your life, on the job, in your relationships and your overall outlook to life. It will form the filter through which you look at everything else until even your dreams and aspirations are dripping with mediocrity.
That is scary, I know.
Fixing the problem is not something just anyone can do. You will soon realize that the system is built to frustrate well-meaning citizens who try to do something about it. You are even considered to be abnormal if you cry ‘wolf’.
You must hold a position that wields a considerable amount of power to even begin to fix the system. And by the time you get to that position, the system would have rewired your make up so much that you cannot identify the rot. Not to mention doing anything about it.
It is a blindness that comes from prolonged exposure to the system.
The way I see it, to rid yourself of the rot, you can do either of two things.
- You reduce your interaction with the system and everything it represents and actively expose yourself to a system that fosters excellence and quality. In a nutshell, find different citizenship.
- Form a collective of people who have the power and the will to cut out the rot even if it means a complete re-engineering of the system. This is a very simplified version of this suggestion, but I had to put it here. Finding the people who have the will is not the problem. Finding the people who have the power and are willing to fix the rot is the issue.
There is a third option. Live with the rot. Accept it as the norm. You won’t be different from the average Nigerian, and perhaps that will give some level of contentment. You won’t feel like you are missing out on anything because this is all you hope and aspire to be.
Oh, and maybe there is a fourth option. You continue to cry out ‘like the voice of the one in the wilderness ‘. At most, your voice will galvanize a following that will grow strong enough to effect some change. You will be a hero or a martyr. In the least, you continue to fight and win the battle on your mind. You must be ready to keep at it for as long as you remain in the system. It’s the only way to keep the rot away.
I did not mean to depress you. This is just the musing of a disappointed patriotic Nigerian.