Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Cuckoo, as a metaphor of the Nigerian Situation

A cuckoo chick, and it's surrogate mother! Notice the size, and plumage difference!
There is a very interesting, and fascinating bird, it is called a cuckoo! 

The bird is famous for one thing; the fact that it never, at any given time, brings up it's young! 

Rather, through one of the most crafty, and ingenious, acts of deception, it uses other birds to raise it's young!

It usually begins with a female cuckoo laying a single egg, in the nest of another bird, of a different specie! 

Usually, the target bird would have eggs of her own, in the nest!

The cuckoo's egg, because of the evolutionary wiring developed over countless eons, usually hatches first!

This act, dooms the original eggs, for which the nest was constructed! 

As soon as the cuckoo nestling emerges from the egg, it instinctively seeks out every unhatched egg in the nest, and systematically pushes it out of the nest!

When the "mother" bird, who we shall from this moment call the surrogate, returns: it would consider the loss of the eggs as not being a total disaster, since it still has one chick to raise! 

Also, it would be too late in the season for it to mate again, and lay a fresh clutch of eggs!

Thus begins the second part of this journey in deception!

The surrogate toils night, and day, to raise it's single chick! 

At a particular point in the process, the chick even becomes bigger, and radically different in plumage, from the surrogate: yet she gets fed, by the surrogate!

What is actually happening, is a process called imprinting! 

The surrogate registered the product that emerged from "it's egg" as her offspring: and as long as that "offspring" asks for food, something inside the surrogate, it's maternal instincts, compels it to feed the now grown cuckoo chick, which is now twice the surrogate's size! 

It is a case of listening to one's heart, instead of the head!

Do you see the parallels between the cuckoo, and the Nigerian situation?

In our case, the cuckoo represents the government! 

The people are the surrogate, who believe, that they have a stake in the government! 

They pay their taxes, the country makes a lot of money from oil, but it only nourishes, an illegitimate leadership!

Illegitimate in the sense that they have no interest in fulfilling the aspirations of the people!

How did we end up with a cuckoo? 

When we voted, our votes were trashed, and and the elections rigged! 

Our legitimate choice, our preferred candidates, were replaced by ghosts selected by a  cabal of a few selfish men!

Like the surrogate, we staunchly, illogically, and mindlessly, defend a government that evidently does not have our interest at heart!

They buy new cars for themselves, but refuse to give us a working mass transit! 

They live in mansions, and make it impossible for us to own affordable houses!

They go abroad for medical treatment, while giving us hospitals that have no drugs, equipment, or personnel!

So I ask a very stupid question, when are we going to open our eyes to see the truth, and acknowledge it as so, instead of just mindlessly defending a government that only takes away from us!

Wake up Nigeria, wake up!

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Solution To Nigeria's Problems!

For the past six months, I have been looking at Nigeria, and asking the question, of myself that is, what single action/solution/move etc, would take us out of our current overwhelming darkness, into the light of civilization!

In the past, when I asked this question, I arrived at corruption, as the ogre that we needed to slay!

I now find myself, with superior information, and the additional wisdom that comes with the passage of time, looking at a different prospect all together!

If we say it is corruption: why does corruption thrive? It does because of a pervasive culture of lawlessness!

One other pet bogeyman we love to blame, is ethnicity, and nepotism! That too, is an issue, but we do not see it in other countries!

So what is our biggest problem, and how can we solve it?

It is the police! 

It is so simple, I do not know why we have never considered it!

What makes the United States of America, a lawful place?

Why do hardened, dyed-in-the wool serial, chronic, law-breaking Nigerians, model citizens in the United Kingdom?

The answer to the two questions above, is simple! 

The Police in these two countries, cannot be influenced!

If Barack Obama, the American president, for some inexplicable reason, decides to drive himself, and goes over the speed limit, an American policeman, would gladly issue him a ticket for over speeding!

If he tries to influence the man, by declaring that he is the president, another offence would be added to the first, trying to influence an officer of the law! These would be sufficient grounds to commence impeachment proceedings!

In Nigeria, the reverse is the case! When a local government chairman wants to drive against oncoming traffic, his police detail, actually lead the way!

In like manner, when someone in government wants to show an opponent, who is not so privileged, he sends policemen to rough him up!  

If you break the law in Nigeria, and find yourself in police trouble, you are sure that the solution to your problem, has a price!

If you offer the investigating police officer five hundred naira, and are turned down, you can increase it to five thousand naira!

If he rejects that one too, you go to his superior officer, and offer fifteen thousand naira! If the inspector refuses your offer of fifteen thousand naira, you go to the divisional police office, with a bribe of fifty thousand naira!

If the DPO refuses to play ball, then you may need to take five hundred thousand naira, to the commissioner for police!

Should the commissioner refuse your offer, you are bound to find someone, between him, and the inspector general of police!

In so doing, one is able to kick the law in the teeth, and get his way!

Murderers, kidnappers, hired killers, election riggers, and all manner of deviants, rule Nigeria, through conniving with the police!

So what is different about the two countries mentioned above, as having a police force, that is a deterrent?

In these two countries, the police actually do their jobs! They solve crimes, and cannot be easily swayed, by the offer of money! 

I am not saying that we do not have a few individuals among them, who regularly collect money, to undermine the law: they are there, but in the minority!

In our own case, we have a culture that undermines the rule of law!

So how can we transform our police force, from one that is corrupted, and for sale, to a truly efficient watchdog?

While the answers may be simple to proffer, the execution would be very costly in human, and monetary terms!

We have a saying among the Yoruba ethnic group of my people, that obe to dun, owo lo pa! (That it cost a lot to cook a very rich, and delicious soup!)

We would need to reorient the force, and this is an almost impossible task! Note, I said 'almost impossible', not impossible!

Too many unqualified people, people either disqualified by reason of being morally wanting, since they are former criminals, and those who do not have the educational qualification, currently wear the police uniform!

These ones would need to go!

Secondly, we would need to increase the salary of the least paid police man/woman, to such a level, that they would not want to jeopardize it, with a fifty naira bribe!

In addition, they should be guaranteed, accommodation for life, on retirement! 

These would be in addition to improving their working condition with equipment that enhance efficiency!

How many times have you seen a police man, wearing the wrong shoes? How many times have you seen them hobbling along in a rickety vehicle, with broken headlamps, and windshield, trying to chase a criminal who has stolen a Mercedes Benz AMG, or a BMW X6?

If the president truly wants to transform Nigeria, let him transform the police!

When the police is transformed, and incorruptible, people would think twice before rigging! A transformed police would make bribe taking, a high-risk venture!

We have the resources, many times over, to make this a reality, what we lack, is the political will!