Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Chaos As A National Ethos

It is with a deeply troubled,and heavy heart,that I write today's blog. I asked myself a question a while back,and today,I finally realized the answer had been looking at me,scornfully, all along.

I had ruminated,a while back,on what one could consider to be our national ethos.

Something we could point to,and say,our course,as a nation,is informed,and directed by;our national compass.

Sadly today, I realized it.


Yes chaos!

That is our national ethos. It may not be written down,or codified in some codicil somewhere,but a careful examination,would make it all the more apparent.

Before that however,it would be nice to look at other nations,and the ethos they are guided by.

Everyone knows,that Israel's national ethos,is security. 

Therefore,every aspect of Israeli life,reflects this . 

It is like a gyroscope,that keeps a rocket on course.

In like manner,China's national ethos,is economic growth,by all means.

The Chinese government knows that the day the economy stops growing,people would begin to demand an open society,and social justice.

I have come to realize, that when someone is addicted to alcohol,or drugs,the addict lives in denial. 

He would often say it is a habit he can stop,whenever he wants to.

But the reality,makes a lie of that puerile defense.

We are in the grip of chaos!

It is not an official policy,it is the default order. 

Chaos,is the order that rules our lives.

We sleep it,drink it,eat it,walk it,it oozes from every pore of our beings.

It is our environment.

It is the unofficial,but active,government policy.

It drives on the roads,it flies in the air, it assails our nostrils, and deafens our ears!

Chaos,reminds me of the words of a popular hymn,

" it breathes in the air,it shines in the light,it streams from the hills, and descends to the plain,and sweetly distills in the dew and the rain"

In the last thirty years, we have given birth to children in chaos,lived in it,and even died in it's embrace.

Everywhere one looks,chaos rules,like it did in William Golding's Lord Of The Flies.

Nigeria,is one of the few countries I know,where government,at all levels,does not honour contracts entered into by it.

That is the fruit of chaos.

One of the hallmarks of an ordered society,in the inviolability,and sanctity,  of contracts.

It is not uncommon, for one to agree to terms,execute the contract,and when it is time to pay, some smart civil servant,who feels that the contractor is getting more than he deserves,
arbitrarily slashes the amount due.

It is also only in this country,that an incoming government,sometimes belonging to the same political party, as the outgoing,would repudiate a contract,simply because it was not initiated under it's administration.

We forget that government is a continuum;from the ashes of the outgoing, the new administration is born,like a phoenix! 

Different,but still the same.

And you tell me that is not chaos?

Where else,would you find a government deliberately pursuing anti-people policies. 

It is only in Nigeria,that laws are passed,and take retroactive effect. Sometimes,these laws are targeted at just one individual.

Some years ago,government,passed a law about preshipment inspection of goods. The law was a source of chaos.

It prohibited shipments that were legally imported,and shipped before the law was even promulgated.

Chaos! Chaos!! Chaos!!!

Where else,do you find people driving aggressively,with confidence,against traffic;in full view of policemen.

If you decide to obstruct these offending drivers,a policeman would stop you,the law abiding driver,and pass the offender! 

That is if they do not run into you first,come out of the car,and give you two quick slaps,for good measure.

I see it everyday. And I bleed inside me.

Like Bongos Ikwe sang in one of his songs, "whats wrong is right,whats right is wrong, I don't know"

We are the only nation in the top seven oil producing nations of the world,that exports crude,and imports finished petroleum products.

Government, then has the insulting temerity, to turn around,and say it is subsidizing imported products.

We punish the people for the sins of government,if that is not chaos,then I do not know.

We have refineries,staffed by well paid individuals,who seem to exist only to set fires to the core components of these refineries. 

It has been like that,from the administration of General Babangida,and it is still the order now.

We are always turning around,and maintaining, refineries that do not refine anything of value!  

I believe we should just sack everyone working there,and save government some money.

For a nation blessed unfairly with a prodigious water resource,it is a mark of chaos,gone viral,that we do not have quality water to drink, electricity to run our industries.

Nigeria,probably imports more generators,than any other nation on earth. Most households,now have two,or three generators!

And the chaos from lack of electricity,is crippling. Certain key equipments cannot be used in Nigeria. If you must,they have to be on generators round the clock.

Even our people,show signs of addiction to chaos.

We fight on the street,at the slightest provocation, people are gunned down in broad daylight,and nothing happens.

To our shame,an attorney general,and minister for justice,was assassinated, and those responsible,only waxed stronger. 

When the law,becomes afraid of evil,that is chaos, in all it;s unwholesome glory.

When people no longer trust the police,and prefer to take the law into their own hands, that is chaos. 

Jungle justice,mob action,lynchings and arbitrariness, these are the sure signs of a society in the throes of chaos.

I am not happy to point out these observations,I cannot gloat over our glaring descent into anomie. 

I live here too. 

I am bashed on the head with it everyday.

It does not matter whether I go out or not,it forces it's way into my presence;it violates me ,whether my door is open, or not.

The erosion of moral values,and the promotion of wealth by any cost, over rectitude, hard work,and civility, is largely responsible for our plight. This is further nurtured,by successive governments behaving like pirates on a seized ship. 

At no time,in the last forty years,has a government policy being designed,to benefit the people. It is always to benefit one contractor, any benefit to the people is just an insignificant byproduct, an after thought.      

So,how do we exit the hell we have created for ourselves,that binds us,and rules us,to our regret.

The answer,is not so easy. 

I have an idea,but the realization,is an uphill task.

We need to restore order,which is the absence of chaos. 

That cannot be legislated,or ordered into being. It would require integrity on the part of the government,and the governed. 

A commitment to do what we ought to do,how we ought to do it,when we ought to do it. 

Any deviation from this new ethos, would just be a continuation of chaos. 

It would take a whole generation to achieve this, because the next generation,are already taking notes in chaos.

As we do this,


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