Nigeria is Designed to Be an Enduring Failure

Doyin Ajala plays inside an oil drum at the waterfront in Lagos, Nigeria Friday, Oct. 17, 2008. More than 100 countries planned World Poverty Day events Friday to encourage action towards United Nations goals for cutting poverty and improving health care and education for the world's poor. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

Nigeria’s failing as a nation is not the work of God. When Nigerian political economist, Claude Ake, boldly said Nigeria or Africa was never designed to be successful as modern societies, economically or politically, so many scoffed at him but he was not just right, he was right. Nigeria was designed to fail and its intellectual and political elites more than anyone else has been at the forefront of negotiating and perpetuating this unstoppable failure. The Nigerian intellectual elite loves the chains of failure that guarantees their society’s failure as they perennially profit very handsomely from it.

Europe, America and the Far East achieved their admirable societal successes by way of diligent commitments to “demarcations” in thought and standards at an abstract level and the “coordination” of thoughts and standards at a practical level. Such is a tacit summary of Western civilisation; anything else is embellishment.

However, Claude Ake saw that this was not possible in Nigerian and African society. To the educated Nigerian and politicians even the elite there are no demarcations between “good and evil”, “rich and poor”, “right and wrong”, “leaders and followers”, “success and failure”, “shame and pride”; all these dualities, as they say, are ‘embedded’ in each other and are continuously interlinked. Yet, these same elite educated Nigerians personally prefer good, riches, right, leaderships, success, pride, respectively, to ‘abundantly’ accrue to themselves while the rest of society and the majority should delight faithfully and thankfully in evils, poverty, wrongs, followership, failure and shame. I swear by the intellects and works of Chinua Achebe, Claude Ake, Peter Palmer Ekeh and Billy Dudley that this is the aptest description of the “educated Nigerian”; the best for self and the worse for everyone else.

If there is no definitive demarcation between leaders and followers how can Nigeria have either good leaders or good followers anyway? Chinua Achebe boldly affirmed in The Trouble with Nigeria that the nation’s problem is one of leadership. I concur! If there is no clear demarcation between good and evil or right and wrong how can Nigeria have effective justice systems, competent governance systems, robust electoral systems, good schools or good hospitals? If there is no distinct demarcation between wealth and poverty how can there be an equitable allocation of resources, focus on jobs that provide living wages or a reduction in the incentives to engage in corruption? If there is no proper demarcation between good and evil how can a rotten nation like Nigeria get better or even take the lead in a dynamic world? Answers are usually scarce and when presented are full of indulgence and dishonesty. Is that the best the elite educated Nigerian can do? At least Nigerian secondary and further education is purely about demarcation and coordination regardless of the subject, what happens after they are acquired?

The greatest source of weakness to an individual or group is a lack of demarcation in thought and a lack of coordination in practice. It is the stuff of personal development, personal coaching, organisational studies, policy formulation and nation-building. It is also the stuff of institutions that educated Nigerians weep about their stark absence in society. All the educated Nigerian does mostly regarding Nigeria is to blabber about its “mighty potential”. Without diligent demarcation and coordination potential will always remain potential, no more.

To make this simpler, God did not invent the plane, the light bulb, the radio, the computer, the TV, the iPad, the mobile phone or the rifle; men and women who thoroughly understood demarcation did. God did not create Mercedes Benz, Microsoft, Coca Cola, Harvard University, Eton College, Heathrow Airport, Taj Mahal, Disneyland, the State of Alabama, Nokia, Arsenal Football Ball; men and women who understood demarcation and coordination well created them. If Nigerians do not understand or care about demarcation and coordination they will never invent or create such things; when they do it gets controlled by people who strive to perfect demarcation and coordination further. This is the central reason why Nigeria fails enduringly. And because it is not in the “Nigerian psyche” to embrace the understanding of demarcation and coordination to genius levels, genius is useless. Therefore the Nigerian must seek God and the spiritual level for solace, and they know it is nothing more than solace.

An elite educated person in Nigeria is rarely an atheist but usually a questionable believer. Listening to them carefully tells you a familiar story. The story is about the beauties and beneficence of religion, be it Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Hare Krishna, Taoism, Norman Vincent Pealism or Animism. For it is better to believe than not to believe but to what end? They even say as Nigerians or Africans they are even closer to God than any other people of the world and unsurprisingly that is why they are where they are. This discounts their excessive levels of indulgence drunkenness, adultery, fornication, corruption, theft, confidence tricks, bad belle, betrayal, drug use, wickedness, idolatry etc. One wonders if sin is truly delightful in the eyes of God or if decadence warmly pleases the inner soul. Well, that is un-demarcated worship, religiosity.

The design of Nigeria as a failure is surprisingly the hard part to fathom or understand but it is always there staring us in the face. If the fact is stated everyone would claim they knew it so well all along but it becomes a mind-boggling conundrum when it is not said. This is a good reason to leave it unstated. What difference would it make anyway? But at least it would make people have the simple information of why Nigeria was designed to fail and the prominent role elite educated persons in Nigeria plays in it. It even teaches people the value of demarcation.

And every elite educated Nigerian will deny this description stated above does not apply to them. If the King Solomon’s rule in the Bible of finding “one man in thousand” is applied (the best case scenario) then one in a thousand elite educated Nigerians are free from the description given above. If the machine was invented that could measure lies or denials with 100% accuracy by being connected to it and the detection of lies or denials leads to instant electrocution, not many elite educated compatriots will be lining up to disprove this issue, if any at all.

Please, do not be tempted to ask for solutions, that is the collective duty and vocation of the educated elite cum politicians and if they cannot solve the practical problems of Nigeria they should be truly and effectively declasse-ed.


Grimot Nane

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