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Thursday, July 18, 2024

‘Fantastically Corrupt’: Don’t Cry For Me, Nigeria, By @FavourAfolabi

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[dropcap]F[/dropcap]or years, Nigerians on their own have always screamed to the rest of the world – “Nigeria is the most corrupt country in the world” – they say it at home – and in the Diaspora – the only conversation you are sure to have with any Nigerian, even when you are meeting them for the very first time, in far away Pakistan is “Corruption” – this would be at home; at a wedding; after church service; at the mall; in the morning; afternoon; night – in the bus; on the plane; at the bus stop – the favourite subject within the Nigerian polity is “Nigeria is a Corrupt place.”

This has always astounded me – even when you are having a business proposal meeting with friends – projecting how you can build enterprises together, the conversation soon ends at “We would have achieved this if not because Nigeria is corrupt” and when you find folks like myself who would say “Haba, is corruption the only thing you can discuss about this country?” the response you get is “You must be one of the corrupt ones; you are protecting your corrupt friends; that’s why you would rather shy away from the truth!

This has happened to me, severally within the estate I live in now; and the one I lived before now, for several years, under 3 or 4 different presidents, under 2 political parties; under 2 governors in Lagos State – the common denominator remains that Nigerians are addicted to the subject of “Nigeria is corrupt” – it is all over our media – on TV: Radio; Papers; Online media – “Nigeria when googled must be the number one country in the world that is associated with corrupt matters or cases or stories”, etc.

So the question should be this – “Na who dey circulate all dis messages within the global media channels?” Is it David Cameron or Nigerians? Is it not the reports from Nigerians about Nigeria that soon becomes the most important thing the world comes to associate Nigeria with?

I am therefore confused with this new brand of patriotic vigour that has just been discovered by the same Nigerians that have been the chief propagandists, in the past against this nation in complaining against the gaffe by PM Cameron of the UK [whose nation is the very seat of illicit funds all from over the world] – is it now not apparent that this must be the same way an Obama sees Nigeria when discussing the nation under hushed tones with either his inner circle or other world leaders?

Wasn’t this the same body language exhibited by President Zuma [a corruption dispenser extraordinaire himself] against Nigeria in recent times? Even Mugabe has joined in on the action in the past on a number of occasions – the moral of the story is,“Even a thief would be proud to come out in public to call your father a bigger thief if that is ALL you ever discuss about your father!”

I don’t care for Cameron – I cannot control what he says – and I shall not be doing no rejoinders to him – I care about Nigerians and their ever, typically yapping ways – I care about a people who are practically addicted to debasing their nation and have done this for decades – who have made it the favourite past time at all functions to discuss “how Nigeria is a corrupt place” – to the point that this very ideology has now caused a systemic problem of intellectual laziness within this polity that even discourages people – especially the younger ones, to be creative or innovative or entrepreneurial – with every one of them, rather than seeking to create the next Facebook Inc or Twitter Inc would rather use these same tools created by their age mates in other climes to discuss, for 24 hours in a day, “the next set of billions that has been stolen in Nigeria; and by who” while also defending those that stole N6 billion versus those that stole N16 billion!

O ye Pharises, be truthful to thyself – If you were a foreigner, and you came into Nigeria for the first time, and you had never heard no news per se about Nigeria prior to your coming in – and you spent 2 weeks in Nigeria – and bought at least 3 dailies a day; and watched ChannelsTV news every 10pm; and listened to Jimi Disu on 97.3FM every week day by 7am, would you also not have concluded that “Nigeria is the most corrupt country in the world?” That is the very reason I have captioned this piece as “Don’t Cry for me, Nigeria.”

Favour Afolabi is a political commentator who runs fbablogs.com in his spare time; and owns a real estate brokerage services company. He tweeted from @favourafolabi.

The opinions expressed in this mail are solely those of the author.

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