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The parable of the pothole

The parable of the pothole

By: Francis Olamide

Seeing is believing. After many years of wondering about the benefits of ethnic bigotry and the they-are-my-kinsmen mentality among Nigerians; I experienced firsthand why it is good to take sides with our ethnic group when matters of national importance arise. I now know, that no matter what, the interest of my kinsman must come first in conversations involving national issues. Even if he (my kinsman) is guilty of a crime punishable by death, I’ll stand by him. That’s the spirit of brotherhood, isn’t it? We should praise and defend the thief because he’s our kinsman.

Let me tell you what I saw.

I boarded a public bus somewhere in Nigeria. You kuku know that this our nation flows with milk, honey, sugar, and good roads. I mean, motorable roads that elongate your sojourn. Roads with so good a condition that the elite prefer to fly over it in their jets and helicopters. I don’t even know why they do that, maybe to have a better view of the terrain. You know, it’s beautiful when you’re looking from up there. They’re so sure of the work they did on the roads that they do all within their capacity to totally avoid passing through them. Let me not digress, I better stay with my story like Buhari stays in Nigeria.

While I was in that public bus, we encountered a pothole, way larger than the gap between Bubu’s front teeth. Then, something surprising happened.

As the driver approached it, the pothole cried out with a loud voice, “Who are you, driver?” Our driver responded as fast as the economic growth rate of Nigeria with, “I am Muhammed from Bornu state.” To my amazement, the pothole closed up leaving us with a smooth road to drive through. I asked the driver what just happened, he said, “Walahi, it’s because I’m from Bornu. What affects other Nigerians doesn’t affect us. Some basic problems other people encounter don’t come near us.”

Interestingly, this is the mentality of many Nigerians. They reason as if what affects one doesn’t affect the other. Before you tell them how bad Nigeria has come to be, they’ll quickly run under the canopy of ethnicity and cover themselves with the wrapper of mediocrity, spitting into the air and retrieving it with their face. If you try to point out the errors of the person whose boot they’re licking, they’ll be quick to label you a member of the opposition.

“Shut up joor, I know you’re a PDP member. If you’re not PDP then you’re one of those Biafra boys,” they’ll say.

Their statement is deserving of an ecliptic slap. Sometimes, I’m bewildered at how they are above 18 years when I see them with their voters’ card. Who will tell their big ears that cannot hear that insecurity, unemployment, kidnapping, bad roads, poverty, and maladministration don’t know political party, ethnicity, or any geographic region?

If the image of Nigeria is destroyed in the international community, is it not all of us that will suffer for it? Who will be quarantined for thorough checks at the airport? Only Igbos, abi? Na all of us go suffer am. Victims of kidnapping aren’t from a particular state or region. SARS and Police will not ask for your state of origin before they brutalise and harass you.

When we say let’s fight this impunity and the corrupt Nigerian system together, they’ll request that you shut up and that all is well with the nation. All is really well with the dry well of a situation we have found ourselves. Sometimes they’ll even point accusing fingers at their opposition.

Bros, this nonsense happening in Nigeria is enough to go round. If you’re patient enough, you’ll eat the fattest bone of the results of the maladministration that has ravaged the land.

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