Thursday, August 12, 2010

NIGERIA: Inconvinient Truths

Some days ago, at a re-fueling stop at a gas station, I went in to buy a drink and some snacks at the tuck shop. At the checkout, the lady attendant summarily gave me a bill which I suspected was inflated. That was the 3rd time such was happening to me at that same station. I paid what was tagged on the products, and walked away.

I thought to myself, if I made a scene out of that issue, she would lose her job, and I am certain her excuse would be, "its because the leaders are stealing too".

I feel ashamed when I hear intelligent people say "if politicians offer you money for your votes, take it - its your money anyway, then vote as you wish". Indeed. Taking blood money, and then voting righteously - arrant non-sense.

I also feel ashamed...
-When I see a man, or lady, obviously educated, who flout traffic laws but has the effrontery to criticise bullion vans for doing the same
-When I see parents who pay to alter their children's academic scores complaining about politicians rigging.
-When I see citizens who privately hate people of other tribes espousing national unity.
-When I see religious leaders talk about peace, then send people out to kill.
-When I hear religious leaders preaching love then expelling members from their congregation.
-When I hear intellectuals sanctimoniously attacking political leaders but themselves afraid to step to the political plate.
-When I see many people who can't lead a group of three castigating the leaders of other organisations.
-When I see people talking about politicians stealing from government, but themselves not paying their taxes and bills, a form of stealing.
-When I see people immigrating from the country and castigating those remaining for the failures of the nation.
-When I know many critics and political activists will gladly accept political appointments from those that they criticise.
-When I know of many "encouragers" who push you into leadership positions in the hope you fail at it.
-When I know of many who will gladly "support" every "great initiative", but not with their funds.
-When I know of many who praise in public but criticise in private.
-When I know of many who slam the corrupt leaders, but take contracts from them anyway.
-When I know of many who are agitating that "govt is not paying salaries", and their own staff go for months without salaries.
-When I know of many democratic proponents whose children, wife (wives), staff, etc don't have have a say in their spheres of influence.
-When I know of those who call civil servants corrupt, except their brother who works in the custom.
...And so on...

There are many inconvenient truths...and we are all responsible for these abberations.

The failure of the State is the collective failure of each individual in it.

Let the transformation begin with each of us...brick-by-brick

Co-dependence: The root of political gangsterism

For about 10 years now, I have been actively involved in social intercession for the Nigerian state. And when certain issues continue to emerge about the behaviorism patterns of our rulers and political office holders, and a certain perpetual destructive mindset of partisan politicians, I, like everyone, else sought an answer.

Adepts of psychology, sociology and and other behavioural sciences have continued to pour forth reasons for the unchanging negative mindsets that ordinarily good people exhibit once they get involved in the political process. But in recent times, because of my direct involvement in the study of the political process, machinery, motivations, and attitudes of many people drawn to partisan politics, from the THMP meetings, I see a pattern, one that was established decades ago to explain certain pathological disorders in many otherwise good people. It is called "Co-dependence Syndrome".

To butress, let me quote directly from Wikipedia, on this issue.

"Codependence is described as a disease that originates in dysfunctional families where children learn to overcompensate for their parents' disorders and develop an excessive sensitivity to others' needs... This is sometimes described in terms like "enmeshment" or "blurred ego boundaries." Adult children of dysfunctional families often suffer from a sense of confusion and deprivation that has continued into their adult life — a feeling of "not knowing what normal is" — that has become an anguished desire to recover something emotionally missing in their upbringing."

I like to make reference to that critical statement...'a feeling of not knowing what normal is'. This simple statement, qualifies the average political godfather, godson or gladiator in the African setting, and many in other "civilised" nations as well. The article concludes thus:...

"Codependence has been suggested as an underlying disease pervasive in all forms of addiction."

Compulsive stealing, or kleptomaniacy, is a form of addiction, and so is violent tendencies, abuse, alcoholism, etc. The article says these addictions are rooted in "blurred ego" (confusion about self, needs, life purpose, etc), and "enmeshments" (dual personalities - one person at home, another with friends, another with professional colleagues, etc).

It therefore helps us to explain the feeling of an ambitious politician needing a godfather, as a replacement of the absent (whether physically or emotionally or financially) father. It helps us to explain how such a person becomes enmeshed in the political process to the extreme and then develops a blurred ego, and soon loses the ability to discern what is normal to everyone else.

Many people in political leadership, unfortunately, exhibit co-dependence symptons, such as grandstanding, lying, being cruel and kind at the same time, seeking approval of some while damning others, inability to make permanent commitments (cross-carpeting), abuse or misuse of whatever is entrusted to them, inability to trust others, etc.

Another symptom is inability to resolve conflicts, due to a "head in the sand" attitude (everything is alright), which explains why political conflicts go on for ever.

Unfortunately for society, the politically ambitious or performer who suffers from this syndrome tends to be attracted to others who suffer similarly, and have the inability to keep away from abnormal relationships and circumstances. Hence, when a political movement is formed or headed by a person with such a "blurred ego", who does not know what is normal, then they will attract like minded people to their cause. And when they get to power...well, you can imagine the rest for yourself.

Therefore, in this season, lets not be carried away by famous personalities, or enticing words. Lets carefully discern the psyche of each person seeking our votes...and lets watch for such tendencies within ourselves too.

God bless you, and God bless Nigeria.