“Army man go slap your face, you go dey look like donkey” – The Great Abami Eda, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti once said. I read Reuben Abati’s article about the failed Turkish coup and what lessons Nigeria and Nigerians could take from it. I have to praise the level of courage shown by the Turkish people in resisting the coup attempt. They were so brave and unified in their struggle. They showed that they were determined to protect their democracy, which to me, is a noble gesture.
Let us be realistic, I don’t see the average Nigerian carrying out such selfless and brave acts at the moment, if the need were to arise. I have to be honest and I will tell you why.
First of all, Fela has already made it known to us all that “Bravery” is not really our “thing”. The average Nigerian would rather wait until the fire gets to his doorstep before he acts. The general mentality for the Average Nigerian is, “who will look after my kids, Because I cannot now come and die”. Yes, who will really look after their kids? Check out the IDPs in Borno, they are in hunger and yet, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Alhaji Muhammad Bello, reportedly turned down food items donated by the Dangote Foundation for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in Abuja on the grounds that he was not hungry and didn’t solicit for any donations!
In some states, people wake up every morning, drive to work every day of the week, come home late for a whole month and then at the end of the month, they won’t get paid. The lucky ones would only get a percentage of what they are due, some haven’t been paid for 8 months! That is slavery! Now we have SERAP taking the governments of some states to the ICC because they are working and are not being paid!! How do you expect a hungry man to come and fight for democracy? Before you fight for something, you MUST first believe in it. A hungry man only believes in the food on his plate, every other thing is on the long run!
Honestly, I really don’t think the case is the same for Nigeria as it is for Turkey. Since 1999, when Nigeria achieved democracy, what have we really got to show? Poverty (even the VP admits that 110m Nigerians live in poverty), Insecurity (within the last 30 days, over hundreds of lives have been lost to the herdmen menace, no one knows where they are going to strike next), the problem of militants, Boko Haram, Biafra issues, a horrible economy, corruption at its peak!
How do you explain all these? You find N2.5bn in a house maid’s account and nothing gets done! Corruption here and there, then you want the average Nigerian to stand up for democracy, if the need arises. Like Fashola said, during his Senate Ministerial Screening,” May our loyalties never be tested”. In case you are wondering, when I say “average Nigerians”, I am refering to 75% of the populace. A country with over a 100m people living below the poverty line, and yet we run a Billion Dollar Legislature! Where there is talk of “beating and impreganting” other people’s wives on the “floor” of the house and “nothing will happen”!! Who are we fooling?? How does one fight to die for a system that doesn’t care about the welfare of the populace.
Sorry, but till Nigeria starts becoming a better place for the Average Nigerian, I don’t see us pulling this kind of “Turkish Stunt” under any circumstances. Give us a nation we can die for then we will protect it with our lives. You can’t get much “mass action”, when the masses are hungry. Till then, Nigeria is Nigeria and Turkey is Turkey.