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Monday, June 17, 2024

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    The Curious Case Of The Nigerian Citizen 

    The other day, in a thread, a well-meaning citizen was musing on Donald Duke and 2019. I got interested and followed the discussion with the corner of one eye – a silent listener to the conversation.
    He condemns all the usual suspects. So far so good.
    He makes a very good case for Donald Duke. So far so good.
    Then he concludes: if Donald Duke grants us the privilege of contesting, I will work for his campaign.
    Given the context of the thread, the “us” he is hoping would receive the privilege of being considered by Donald Duke is Nigeria.
    Nigeria should consider herself privileged if Donald Duke runs. Uncle Femi Ogunsanwo, do you  now see the source of the contempt and disdain with which the Nigerian government treats the people?
    We have a deep-seated psychology of self-abnegation before our leadership. Have you seen a Nigerian relate to his Governor, Senator, President? My Governor! My Senator! My President! And they try to outscream one  another in the possessive form – especially here on social media. Those are outward manifestations of deeper, psychological habits of self-abnegation. 
    There is a reason why it is Mr. Governor or Mr. Senator or Mr. President in civilization. Those are speech acts of self-worth which conduce to a self-fashioning by the citizen as the employer of the servant-leader.
    If your head is permanently bowed, screaming my Governor, my Senator, my this and my that, how can such a Governor respect you in your essence as a citizen?
    The usual thing is for a citizen to consider it a rare privilege and honour to be afforded the opportunity to serve his country as a Governor or Senator or President.
    In Nigeria, most of the people say it is a privilege that you are granting unto your people and country to rule – not to serve – them. How can you respect them when they are the ones who actually construct the imperious psychology which ushers you into office? How many people are “begging” Donald Duke to please consider granting conferring the privilege of running for President on Nigeria when Mr. Duke should be the one dobale-ing to them, pleading for an opportunity to SERVE them? Instead, they are begging him to RULE them.
    How can Mr. Duke respect you if he becomes President? Why should he respect you?
    You can associate this with the related problem of Nigerians always yearning for an iron hand. Many of our folks have lost the ability to conceptualize government as something that can be run decently to serve them. Rather, it is a privilege of rulership granted to them by the incumbent. How can such a ruler respect you?
    I have advocated scraping the NYSC and replacing it with a compulsory year of graduate seminars in social science for every Nigerian University graduate – with emphasis on citizenship, the social contract, etc.
    If we do not actively work on the task of producing the new citizen, we will continue to fail in project nationhood.

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