Who are we? We are no longer normal.....Nigeria is a giant embarrassingly trapped in dwarfish height – Dr Oby Ezekwesili.

Several years ago, I had written two articles wherein I wondered and posited that “we are no longer normal.” The first piece written circa July 2013 and titled Underestimating The Psyche of a Mob: The Abuse of Power; was about the ALUU Four (the four undergraduates of the University of Port Harcourt, who were lynched by an angry mob, somewhere in Rivers State). The other article written circa 2015 and titled I Agree With Mrs Oby Ezekwesili: We Are No Longer Normal was about a lifeless body I had seen somewhere in Victoria Island in Lagos. The body was still breathing several days earlier. Both pieces were about the wanton disregard for the sanctity of human life. The first example, people snuffed out lives, whilst the second piece, was of people passing by or residents driving by. So much so, I enquired from drivers of a car hire/rental service, stationed opposite the lifeless body, if they had notified the officials of the Local Government Area (they had but they had been told that palms needed to be greased before they did their job).

Several years later, in the year 2018; I cannot but ask still; are we normal? I cannot but say we are no longer normal. At this juncture, let me state that the “we are no longer” phrase was first heard in a speech given by Doctor Obiageli Ezekwesili at an Akintola Williams Symposium in 2012 and which she still reiterated at the Social Media Week Lagos event on Monday, the 23rd of February 2015 by asking; are we still normal? 

For a period, spanning two to three years; this writer decided not to write pieces on political on-goings (politrickings and gerrymandering) or social commentary in the country because I could deduce the intelligence behind some of the shenanigans were below sea level. The more one analyses and evaluates new political developments; the more one realises nothing has changed; old things remain the same and all political happenings are not new but old. A lot of motion but no progressive movement. And the more you tend to lean towards the statement, “we are no longer normal”.

We are no longer normal when marauding herdsmen keep on murdering Nigerians in the troubled spots in the North and Middle Belt. We are no longer normal when the security forces keep returning to troubled spots after each attack. We are no longer normal when a Senior Special Advisor on Media would juxtapose death toll statistics of the present and past administrations. We are no longer normal when an administration cannot label the gun wielding marauding herdsmen, the appropriate title of terrorists. We are no longer normal when rampaging cattle rustlers and herdsmen cannot be apprehended and their nefarious activities nipped in the bud.

We are no longer normal when we were told the herdsmen terrorists were coming in from Libya and later told that we were to live in peace with the same “foreigners”. We are no longer normal when we cannot use the same scorecard used for the previous administration with this administration; in all sectors including security. We are no longer normal when the news of the neglect of soldiers’ welfare become a weekly (if not a monthly) occurrence. We are no longer normal when spin doctors joyfully inform the nation that the President is fit to run for another term; all because the President walked for 800 metres in his hometown.

We are no longer normal when the roads leading to the new African Shrine were fixed and graded by the Lagos State Government days before the French President Emmanuel Macron visited the Shrine.

We are no longer normal when Doctor Oby Ezekwesili was harassed by security personnel at the Aso Rock gate for her one woman march in the month of July 2018. But random protesters protesting against the leadership of the National Assembly were not “harassed” by security personnel when the protesters arrived at the National Assembly gates.

We are no longer normal when individuals in security apparels barricade the street where the nation’s Senate President resides; and after the misadventure, the appropriate security department posited that the department did not know those who were behind the barricade.  

Are we still normal when a report by an online media outfit revealed that the Finance Minister’s NYSC exemption letter isn’t what it should be; but fifty days (as at 27th August 2018) plus later not a word but only silence from the minister and the administration? Are we still normal when a State administration “donates” fifty million naira to elite social clubs? Are we still normal when State Governments who have not paid state civil servants a backlog of unpaid salaries, begin to pay, just months before the general elections?

Are we still normal when every four years, political sailors defect from one deck unto another deck of the same boat? Are we still normal when self ordained politicians and youth leaders always converge at a rendezvous every election year apparently representing the youth? Are we still normal when heavy duty trucks and lorries take over the stretch of Costain Bridge, past National Stadium in Surulere; stretching as far as the eyes can see?

Are we still normal when some Nigerians travelled to Russia to watch some of the 2018 World Cup matches; only to have the ultimate goal of absconding with just a World Cup Fan ID? And when they discovered the futility of their misadventures, they claimed travel agents revoked their return tickets?

Are we still normal when trash is thrown out from private cars, commercial buses at toll gates and other places? Are we still normal when people talk and scream about politics gearing up to 2019 all day and everyday, but the number of uncollected PVCs remain high and staggering? Are we still normal when we speak all the exquisite English in the dictionary but you have not registered for your PVC but the bike riders, tricycle riders etc have been up and doing with regards their PVCs and civic duties?  

Are we still normal when some CEOs of companies including media houses have not paid employees for months but these CEOs can fly their entire household overseas on summer holidays? Are we still normal when Nigerian passengers onboard a plane taxing, would get up and begin to take their luggage when the rule is for the plane to complete taxiing before getting up? Are we still normal when architectures and buildings owned by government, private and religious institutions are not constructed with the physically challenged people being put into consideration?

Are we still normal when driving and at the same time scrolling through smartphones? And if you are reading this piece on your phone while driving; do you think you are still normal?

The solution for this abnormality in the society; is to take personal responsibility for your actions and inactions.

Dolapo Aina,

Lagos, Nigeria.||


Photo Credit: Google Images.

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August, 27 2018

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