Sunday, November 6, 2016

Why Nobody in Nigeria Cares

I heard about the 200 girls being kidnapped in Nigeria quickly after it happened. And I remember feeling like, Here we go again. Not the OUTRAGE or Shock as the world started to feel two weeks after when it actually started becoming International News.
Because in so many ways I am a typical Nigerian.
I asked my daddy in March 2012 when I visited Lagos after being gone for 9 years, a question that only someone who has lived abroad thinks to ask. The question was a result of a conversation about the roads leading up to my parents house, and why they were so awful In fact, I said, they are not roads, they are just....paths. Paths that anything other than an all terrain car struggles to get up and down everyday.
I asked my dad what the government of Nigeria does for its citizens. Electricity is outsourced to individuals by people buying generators. Security....provide your own.  He had no answer, because it is precisely on point. The government of Nigeria does very little for the people of Nigeria.

To my initial question, why nobody in Nigeria cares?

It is because we have a culture of zero reliance on the government. The unfortunate reality is that by being leaders of the country, its leaders are well taken care of from oil payments and whatever other sources they receive money through. I am not sure if we have a tax system that works, so most of our revenue is from our natural resources. Many Nigerians, who have never left Nigeria, do not actually understand what it means to have a good working government. Nigerian pray in emergencies and pay their own way to the basics. Therefore those who cannot afford to pay their way, pray and do not even think to ask the government. 

This poses a chicken and egg scenario. Do Nigerians not ask their goverment because they know it is made up of people who will not do anything about it, Or is the Nigerian government lacksadaical because they know no one cares and no one will hold them responsible. Either way the Chibok girls kidnapping is making this all look differently.
I mean, think about it. A few people, some of whom I follow, started the hashtag and people started wondering and asking question,and next the First Lady of the U.S.A. is speaking out about it, and the UK and the US. are sending help. This is a critical lesson that sometimes the voice of a few can raise a sleeping giant.

It is my prayer that this sleeping giant of Nigerian men and women, demands the government take action! 
I pray that Nigerians will be challenged to demand more from all leaders because, here is the deal, you can pay for your power, roads, and all, but at some point, you NEED your federal government to do certain things for you and when they fail. There must be consequences for an ineefective top level official whether punishment or removal.

This post was written... Months ago. But just posted on Oct 27, 2014. The delay was not for any other reason other than I forgot. It is just as it was written in April no edits.

Election 2016. The ugliest we've ever been

Much has been made about how Trump's campaign has brought out the worst in his supporters. Many people are  being openly racist and misogynistic because.... well, their candidate is onboard with them. This post does not speak to those points, because they have been said. And I agree. This post is specifically about how this election has made us all uglier. Both #NeverTrump and #Never Hillary.

I'll start by saying a couple of things.
I am Hillary supporter. Not in a "best of two evils" or a #NeverTrump way, but in a honest pragmatic, "She's the best candidate for presidency we've had in awhile. She is good, smart, hardworking and I consider it a privilege to cast a vote for her." So as not to get distracted from my main point, you are welcome to read America's best hope by The Economist or watch this hilarious 8 minute video Clinton vs Trump and my absolute favorite video with Louis C.K. Louis C.K on Conan. I also think Trump is literally, the worst.

Back to my point: The 2016 election has truly made us worse off. Many of us cannot unsee the ignorance in our friends, coworkers and superiors. We cannot unfeel that moment when we lose respect for the intelligence of someone because they publicly declare support for Trump.
See image

The problem is, until now, we have been able to understand and politely disagree with the other side's candidate while maintaining our friendship with people whose support they have. Not this time. The reality is, the winner of most elections does so, because they got a required majority of votes how ever calculated and is then obligated to take office and lead those who voted for or against them.

As a result of this election, many of us belong to circles where calling someone an idiot, a fool, and other colorful language because they support Donald Trump is acceptable and retweeted. This includes Clinton calling many of his supporters "deplorable," a statement she later apologized for. As a result of this election, we very well might have a new normal, where intellectual political discourse has been exchanged for speaking very ugly words to each other.  I know I have personally closed off my mind to, and unfollowed or muted Trump supporting friends on my social media.

Four year ago, and four years before that, and before that, you felt strongly about your candidate, maybe argued vehemently about certain issues, but most people did not think the opposition's supporters were just stupid, racist and bigoted for their candidate choice. Yet, here we are in 2016. It is truly unfortunate that this is where we are. 

With my limited study and knowledge of politics, I think Trump truly is the natural result of the last 8 years of pure vitrol coming from the right, from Congress to the tea party supporters who acted as a stonewall against President Obama's agenda. It goes to show, you cannot plant ugliness and reap beauty.

Win or lose,whoever you support, this is the election that has truly made us the ugliest we've ever been.  And a Clinton presidency (fingers crossed) is not going to magically erase that. Not to be the agent of doom, but, it truly will take some work to return this nation to more respectable politics.