The funny news is this: this Sunday morning in Lagos, President Jonathan genuinely baffled us with the statement that, without the backup activity of prayer warriors, Nigeria’s security status would have been even more screwed up than it currently is. Now, we know that you, our readers, are prayer-addicts and good luck—no pun—with that! But when a democratically elected President makes such a statement on public safety, you have to—as they say in England—shine your eyes well-well. Although, on the bright side: at least you know the President has a security plan in place.
Now, reliance on prayer is not so shabby a security blueprint, (although we consider it totally ass-fucked), considering that it seems to work well enough for the Vatican. The problem is, while the Vatican has Angel Michael on speed dial, someone in the Ministry of Defense forgot to obtain VIP pass for final approval from God—or whatever witchery you have to perform to get your prayers working—for, no sooner had the President finished his statement than Boko Haram flipped him a finger and pulled another dick move—in what has to be the most astonishing case of conflicting reliance on divine instructions.
Now, of course, Boko Haram isn’t a new issue in the country. In fact, every well bred Nigerian—unlike us—knows that a situation stops being a “pressing issue” after three days of non-resolution by the government. And, after two weeks it stops being an issue altogether. And accordingly, the most successful public policy of Nigerian governments has been: “Hang on guys, let’s allow this one to blow off by itself.” And if the particular public official ranks high on the asshole scale—they may even pass it off as an unsolvable spiritual problem.
Common sense says Boko Haram isn’t going to blow off by itself, and an offering-load of prayers will not resurrect one dead victim. But this is Nigeria, and we love to screw around with vital situations, and that’s why the government is committed to investing prayer into public issues—and that’s why religious leaders have tried to re-brand the president as some Old Testament king.
And as long as the Nigerian government continue to muddle personal spiritual issues with public policy issues they will continue to screw the job they are given. But, naturally, the government has always responded to social criticism by mistaking unhappiness with discontent: but Nigerians are not merely discontent with the half-assed attitude a government that relies on magic—miracles, if you wish—they are truly unhappy about it.
But GEJ is a sly dog. Instead of facing his critics on the continued Boko Haram insurgency, it is plain easier for him to file the problem away as a “God vs Satan” affair, and leave Oritsejafor and his book club members to sort it out. Afterall, no “sane” Nigerian really expects Goodluck Jonathan, Mortal, to do all the work when it comes to waging war against the damn Devil.
And when the majority of Nigerians are wired to think this way, then the government wins the lottery. And here’s the lesson for today: the Nigerian government counts on your approval to a spiritual argument. Even more, it counts on your inability to detect when your brain is being messed with. You see, GEJ isn’t just appreciative of your prayers, he’s also appreciative of your tendency to forget the underlying issues by the time you are done reading this line.
Its another cheery Monday, and therefore, a very fine time to throw punches at our cherished social norms. So, let’s start off with this insignificant news item from last Friday that still has many Nigerians mystified: the President paid a surprise visit to the Nigerian Police College in Ikeja, Lagos.
But, as the constant readers of this blog will tell you, we try not to take things at face value on this blog. Accordingly, we are intrigued that the President’s sudden visit to a long forgotten institution has to be—for want of a more appropriate term–-coded. There shouldn’t be anything to hide, really. But the nature of the visit, the suddenness of its occurrence, and the general distrust we have for our leaders suggest that the President’s visit has more to it that meets the eye. In fact, it must have involved a very very pressing matter.
Of course, the President must be worried sick about the consistent welfare of our beloved police force. We all are.. Worried sick, that is. But, however innocuous his visit was, the fact is that the simplest governmental gesture cannot be trusted. So, we cynically listen to Abati’s praise of the event and draw our own conclusions: maybe the President went for a private meeting, at best; or at worst, someone is angling to for a major police college contract.
This reasoning itself is a consequence of our government’s attitude towards information feedback and appraisal. To translate that into blog English: the government doesn’t give two fucks about letting the people know what it’s up to. Policies, activities, decisions: there’s always something, somewhere, left unaccounted and unsaid. Instead, we have plenty hidden agendas and public denials. Therefore it becomes hard to trust the government. Turn on the TV and listen to a public officer speak, and you just can’t be sure he is saying the honest truth.
But we have little time to waste on government talk today. It is generally agreed that our government is fucked-up. The real problem is this: a fucked-up government is merely a composition of fucked-up individuals who have emerged from a fucked-up society. The people whom we elect into government publicly feed us with the same kind of crap we like served to us, hot and steaming, in our own private lives.
We are quite comfortable with deception—either in the name of government policy or spiritual authority. We lie to others and other people lie to us. Hereabouts, we are all public saints. Oh yeah. Especially when it comes to morals. We are all fine religious folks: we abhor masturbation, reject foul language, condemn abortions, ban porn, criminalise homosexuality, censor Big Brother Africa shower scenes, strongly oppose nudity in the media, crucify pre-marital or extra-marital sex and lie through our teeth with a straight face.
We have all managed to consistently project the hypocrisy of being so good and nice and saintly and Christian, without vice or sin or blemish. We are so spiritual, the situation would be outright hilarious, if not for the social implications. Especially when the evidence around suggests we are not. And yet, we all know the truth: we love the nasties. So, here’s some unsolicited advice: instead of clinging stubbornly to a false spirituality, why not just embrace the reality of the sin?
That ability to say: “Yes, I did it” takes some magnificent balls, but it can go a long way to making your life more peaceful. Cut out the crap and let the world know what you are, a character quite separate from what you hope to be. Tell the world boldly that you’re not above natural human desires and instincts, including drinking inappropriate amounts at the local nightclub and spilling it out all over the toilet seat.
And this is the moral for today: honesty is refreshing for the mind. You have no one to fear when you are an honest sinner, you have everyone to fear when you are a dishonest saint. And when we are done removing our individual self-deceptions, then we can then take a broom to our shitty government and clean it out properly.
Now lets be clear about today’s lesson right from the start: this is a famzing article. And for those of you unfamiliar with that nicely rolling slang, this article is essentially an unpaid and unsolicited advertisement. You know, like those ass-licking felicitations you see in newspapers whenever a wealthy man achieves something remarkable in its ordinariness. Same as you lick at work everyday.
And now that we’re all clear on the famzing nature of today’s diatribe, the laws of decency and good breeding forbid you from pointing out that fact in the comments, or mentioning it to me on twitter or in person.
But what’s it about famzing that requires an apology, anyway? It’s not the famzing itself that should be worrisome; instead, like sharing a toothbrush, it’s the person you’re doing it with that matters. Or maybe that’s too far out an example. The point is: why should celebrating El-Rufai require an apology? It’s not as if we’re celebrating Doyin Okupe—and I’ve celebrated Doyin Okupe. (And if, just in case, you’re Doyin Okupe, please remember to reward me handsomely.)
Now for those of you who know little about art and culture, here’s a 5-second lesson that can broaden your knowledge. If you look up Google’s homepage today, you will see a doodle celebrating not just the sculptor, Auguste Rodin, but also his famous iconic work: “The Thinker“.
Today’s Google doodle celebration is significant to your understanding of the moral of today’s lesson. And now, here’s the moral of today’s lesson.
See, there’s no fundamental difference in the mental composition of the “white” man’s society and the African society. As a crude statistical summary, a white society of 10 people will ordinarily have 2 geniuses or above average intelligent folks, 6 averagely intelligent people and 2 people of below average intelligence. Take your African society too, the same crude statistics apply, 2 Smart Alecs, 6 Average Joes and then 2 idiots.
So what creates the glaring differences between the the white society and the black society? The answer is simple: the white guy has learnt that it is best to allow the 2 geniuses shape his society—from political ideology to arts and sciences. The 2 clever folks lay down the blueprint—and the rest of society follows it to the letter. Like I told you, its simple. That willingness to allow the best thinkers draw up the plans is what made America, for e.g. the country it is today—from the declaration of independence to Obama’s election, an ideology is always chosen and followed.
On the other side of the world, your average African society will rather hang the two geniuses by the neck till they are dead and choose its leaders and inspirations on the basis of age, wealth, tribe, inheritance, “divine” appointment, entertainment value or some misguided sense of good luck—and we all know how that last criteria ended.
And that’s why Nigeria has failed to mine Soyinka’s internationally recognised brain to the last drop; that’s why our professionals migrate to foreign countries, and that’s why we have chased away or killed off every thinker, intellectual, writer, artist or anybody else capable of raising our society’s intelligence quotient—-while we adore the Nollywood celebrities, Afro hip-hop musicians, jet buying pastors and inefficient politicians. We gave knowledge a well-aimed kick in the butt and made out with entertainment instead.
And that’s why I wasn’t too surprised when, on El-Rufai’s Twitter TL, I read tweets by a number of people eager to have his head on a platter, because, on a societal level, we’re really really suicidal in our choice of leaders.
Happy dying. 🙂
Occupy Nigeria. A lot of shit went down in those few weeks of January 2012. From the President’s blunders to the people’s no nonsense lock-downs, strikes and protests, there was certainly enough stuff going around to fertilize the roof of the National Assembly complex. But of all the shit that went down, there’s one particular incident captured in photo that has always fascinated me. The one pictured below.
That’s the picture of a man who was so bored with the protesting itself that he decided to do something so out of the usual, and generate the maximum number of WTFs possible. Look at the people standing in the picture. From one side of the road to the other side. Their expressions are disbelief, curiosity and “you gotta be kidding me” in nicely served proportions. Apart from a dude who is definitely tweeting up the awesomeness of the moment, everyone’s attention is focused on the fire. But as interested as they are in what is definitely the granddad of all bad decisions, they somehow manage to stay clear of the bonfire. You can almost feel them standing back. Nothing is safe like a safe distance.
Now, lets take a look at the guy jumping the fire. I can’t see his face, but the idea generally conveyed by the body language is of someone who has taken a bad bet and realizes it just a bit too late. Suddenly, while hovering in the air, it really occurs to him that he is jumping over a freaking bonfire!
How did he end up in that position? I suppose they were all walking down the road, aiming to protest the aforesaid bullshit out of Goodluck Jonathan when they spot the bonfire up ahead and one of them goes “I have an idea…”.
Forget it. I can’t think of how he ended up jumping over a hungry looking bonfire. I can’t even imagine how the thought translated into the action. I can only say that it took some foolhardy attitude. I mean, who the fuck messes with a bonfire?
Look at the picture again: the right leg is barely above the flames and the left leg is smoke covered. At this pictured moment, the guy is probably thinking: “Damn, I seriously miscalculated this bet, let me just stretch my arms out and then I’ll fly off.” And so he stretches out his hands, getting ready for a take off. And at this point, I’m just going to assume the guy can really fly, anyway. Mere gravity should not worry anyone who jumps over that kind of bonfire while compos mentis.
And that’s what today’s lesson is really about–let everyone else stand and stare, and wonder what the hell is wrong with you, and tell you about foolishness and laws of gravity, never mind them: you just go right ahead and jump over that fucking bonfire.