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Emeka Nobis: How witches underdeveloped Nigeria
by Emeka Nobis
Have you ever seen a home video where a wife catches the husband in bed with another woman in the throes of sexual passion and the man’s instant reply is “Honey, it’s not what you think”? I’ve seen so many home videos and that’s the default response of any man caught in sexual misadventure. If pressured for reasons, he’d always say “It’s the devil that made me do it.”
I had arranged with my friends to meet at my house for our monthly strategy meetings. The road leading to my home is in total disrepair and cars cannot ply it. So I had to meet them at some point and walk them to my house. As we walked along, dodging the many pot holes that dogged our path, we began to discuss the sorry state of our nation. Our discussion centered on the recklessness and profligacy of our political class. We deemed it was this that had thrown us down the well of despondency we had found ourselves in.
A few days before that day in November 2012, the Minister of State for Power, Hajiya Zaina Kuchi had postulated the same “Home Videos Theory.” While addressing members of African National Congress, the South African Ruling Party, which led a team of investors to pay her a visit, she said “We must resolve to jointly exorcise the evil spirit behind the darkness and allow this nation take its pride of peace in the comity of nations.”
Whether that statement emanated from a revelation while asleep or as a whiff from the covens or as a myth wrapped in garbs of religious hypocrisy which condones indolence remains to be ascertained. My friend Chile opined that it must be the same spirit that ties the hands of our leaders from replicating in Nigeria, the beautiful things they see abroad when they go on foreign trips.
Ours is a nation of blamers. And the bulk of the blame falls on the witches and wizards and their father the devil. It’s our default mode, marked by lots of ‘ifs.’ The ‘ifs’ did not start today.
The story of creation in the Christian Bible had its own fair share of ifs. If only the devil hadn’t caused Eve to eat the apple. If only Eve hadn’t given the apple to Adam. If only Adam hadn’t accepted. The ‘ifs’ from time immemorial never seem to stop but it seems our nation is the bastion of ‘ifs.’ And to find where to pin our blames because of our inability to use the brains we’ve suspended in space, it’s so easy to blame the witches and devils in the village.
It’s pretty strange that witches are only domiciled in our pitch dark villages. Probably they don’t survive in air-conditioned, light-prone area in the big cosmopolitan cities. Therein lies the solution. Let there be power supply and light will extinguish them! When they die naturally, we won’t have any more witches to blame.
Our default blame mode is a pretty lazy mode too. Lecturers in contemporary times still teach with modules of the 1980s. The DGs in the government parastatals and ministries still feel the ‘pen and paper’ style is preferable and so jettison the procurement and use of computers by teachers. Their lazy dispositions coupled with greed don’t just buy the idea of a progressive workforce. The blame game has also been heightened by religious zealots. Shouts of “Every witch targeting my destiny must die by fire” echo from loudspeakers of churches on Sundays. Ultra conservative religious folks frown at the use of ipads in church on the premise that we can’t use tablets and ipads to cast out evil spirits.
Beneficiaries of the rot in a system will refuse to change that system. The stark reality and truth is that our ‘leaders’ have seemingly lost the fight and verve to stop the gargantuan stinker called corruption in its tracks. This monster has bitten to tatters the vestiges of our collective corporate identity and left destruction of our prized institutional legacies in its wake.
Our hospitals can be said to be first aid rooms where first aid treatments are administered. All symptoms largely point to malaria because the doctors are afraid that any serious sickness is a death knell primarily because the government hospitals lack the requisite equipment to fight diseases. For want of what to hang on, they can tell you your body is playing mind games but you know your body isn’t just together. Charlatans in mushroom cubicles are having a field day since Medicare is lacking. Their spurious claims that witches are responsible for sicknesses are nice melodies to the ears of the populace. They’re now overlords.
A critical look at the malaise will show that the tools for perpetuating the perils of our darling nation are our hearts, our pens and our hands. Blaming others is so easy but others can make it easy or difficult for you to do wrong or right, but at the end it’s your hand that gets poked into the fire. Our popular saying that the purging should start from the top is like saying your head must be combed first before your nails are manicured. That precondition is a darn, dirty excuse.
You and I are the leaders in the beautiful nation called Nigeria. Yes we are! We are the heroes of the present and the future. It takes you to say to this idiot called corruption when it approaches your table, “Hey, the buck stops here.” Yes, you can! It would be most unfortunate if you allow it to carry you in its flurry of destruction. Nigeria is great. I believe in her. My veins are dyed green. It is possible. It is doable. Yes it is!
Then and only then can we cast out the evil spirits which have left human abodes and now eating our electric cables.