Native Politics: Thieves and Treasures


At the heart of Nigerian politics and the thinking that drives it is a pervasive ‘nativity’ that cannot be ignored or dismissed. Musing without it is impossible. Can you imagine a polity in which the “high and mighty” as well as the “hungry and insignificant” truly believe “the best way to protect a treasure is to have it guarded by a competent thief”? Such a belief though thoroughly ‘native’ assumes that the thief has a strong sense of shame or a sensitive conscience, and is limited to his residential environs.

In modern societies thieves abscond with huge fortunes and great valuables to distant lands. Most of Nigeria’s valuable riches are “stocked” overseas, and mostly permanently. Nigerians and non-Nigerians know so much about the enormity and life-cycles of Nigerian loot stashed away in foreign lands. However, Nigeria’s case is particularly peculiar because the money most thieves steal is banked, invested and hoarded overseas while the thieves themselves live with grand impunity in Nigeria. Big thieves run free!

The best way to protect a treasure is to have it guarded by a competent thief”? Why not “a king never rejects a gift no matter how trifling”? Or “the hand that washes the other makes both hands clean”? These are interesting and enabling concepts for fostering the basis of the profound thinking for many Nigerian politicians and their supporters, and for earnestly moving the country forward.

All Guys Dey

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