The purpose of this essay is to play with the word stupidity and to demonstrate that stupidity is behind our problems in Nigeria. Failure to hear and not listen is the height of unmitigated Stupidity. Nothing in this should be misconstrued to mean this writer is advocating militancy or violent overthrow of government. This writer has been a teacher for decades, and does not support any political party. He seeks to speak the truth as it appears to him. If the reader is offended by what the essayist says or how he says, reader ought to take heart and realize that there is nothing free about freedom or about democracy which is the freedom to express opinions freely.
Our problem in Nigeria is not just tribe. It is not religion either. It is not that we are a people who are indolent, idle, lethargic, languid, slothful, shiftless, or simply lazy. No, we do not fit any of those adjectives. The problem is not that we Nigerians are inherently corrupt, thieving and kleptomaniac, which is defined as inability to refrain from the urge to steal for no reasons other than personal use or financial gain. Why can't we steal ideas from other countries to enrich Nigeria? The problem creating havoc in Nigeria is concentrated in one word and one word only-STUPIDITY.
This writer went a local market in Lagos and saw a woman shelling roasted groundnuts and wrapping them in newspapers printed with black ink that might be poisonous and unfit for human consumption. She is a picture of things that are not right in her homeland. She sits in a noisy Abuja market in the hot sun from sunrise to sunset to earn less than one dollar (350 Naira).You could buy all the groundnuts for less than what it would cost you to buy a roll of toilet papers in New York to wipe your ass. Giving her just a dollar would send that poor woman home away from the baking, blazing, burning, sweltering, scorching, and roasting heat. Wouldn't that move you to tears? If that wouldn't then you must be a hardened, heartless creature and ought to see a surgeon for a heart transplant. We ought to feel for people.
A Nigerian living in North America or Great Britain knows you would not be able to buy a cup of coffee with a dollar (N350). Would you like to exchange places with this market woman in the hot sun, shelling, wrapping and selling groundnuts for one dollar? Your life and mine are not more precious than the groundnut woman's life, is it? You are lucky to have the opportunities that were denied to millions of our people. Poverty is next in line to sin because a sinful man is said to have poverty of the spirit. Poverty creates hunger which in turn stimulates anger, and anger gets to a breaking point it erupts into violence. Violence solidifies as authorities scramble for bribery to extinguish the burning inferno. Poverty is the work of stupidity which is synonymous with foolishness, idiocy, or lack of common sense.
Please come to Riverdale and meet this poor, uneducated, lanky young man from Guinea, West Africa, who had been begging the Pakistani Chevron gas station owner unsuccessfully to hire him to sweep the floor and stock items. "Go to college to learn to speak English" was the only help another Ethiopian immigrant gas station attendant could offer him. Frustrated and tired of begging, Amadou finally trekked to the Delta Airline at the Atlanta Airport. He landed a janitorial job with Delta Airline. We were in ota akara (akara-eating pre-school infants ) as our ABC school teacher often lectured us: "Where there is a will, there is a way." The point was that Amadou finally had the will to get up and go because an opportunity landed upon his head.
Halleluiah! Amadou jumped like a gazelle when he received his first weekly income of 600 dollars . I said: "My God! Amadou! You must be kidding!" He said: "No, man, it's no joke. Here's my check". This formerly dejected, starving man from Guinea made 600 U S dollars, the equivalent of 210,000 Nigerian Naira in his first week as a floor cleaner. I called Nigeria to tell friends, but they told me I was a liar. I sang the song I learned at Utonkon primary school: "Come and see America wonder, Come and see America wonder Toot Toot." (we blew into cow's horns that served as our home-made flutes).
A weekly paycheck of 210,000 Naira paycheck is much more than what millions of Nigerians at Abuja or Lagos markets make in a life time. Just for the sake of excitement, let us multiply Amadou's weekly pay by 50 to find his yearly income after we give him a 2-week vacation. This Guinean fellow will earn 30,000 U S dollars this year. If you multiply 30,000 by 350, you will get 10,500,000 What? If you take 30,000 dollars to the black market at Abuja or Lagos, you will need a sack to carry 10,500,000 (ten and a half million) Naira. Listen to this: Amadou will be MILLIONNAIRE in Nigeria.
Let's get to the bottom of this essay. Nigeria has enough money from oil and other products (including hectares of arable land, and unknown minerals in the soil) to have people overcome poverty in addition to creating new jobs. If you forget job creation and just focus on a steady supply of light, poverty would be nipped in the bud in three years. If Buhari and his team spent the 10.3 billion dollars they allegedly have recovered from our stolen loot on providing electricity, things would happen in Nigeria .
The number of so-called millionaires in my country makes people wonder: "So what?" Millionaire my ass! How in hell could they enjoy being millionaires when their countrymen and women people, like the groundnut woman, are living in abject poverty? Shit!". Nigeria is immensely and massively blessed. Poverty is not scarcity of money. Poverty is not the lack of equitable distribution of wealth. Poverty is tantamount to or practically the same as to Stupidity. Period.
Stupid poverty is the same thing as of the lack of insight and foresight that provide the people with the incentive to explore opportunities for self-fulfillment. Nothing provides more fulfillment than gainful employment. Stupidity is as stupid as a Nigerian lawmaker who has 4 wives at home and is recently caught buying toto (sex or pussy) from a prostitute. This is the subject of a hot topic for another essay. Nigerian leaders cannot any longer throw our opportunities to the whirlwind or behave like the prodigals they are , being wasteful, reckless, dissolute, profligate, extravagant, and uncontrolled.
Come to think of it, our people are not lazy. We are willing to work until we drop down with exhaustion if and only if favorable conditions are put in place by Nigerian leaders who ought to be encouraging of their people, stimulating, supporting, educating, facilitating, and abetting with wise decisions. How do you make bricks without cement and sand? How do you prepare garri foo-foo without hot water or cook ogbono soup without the ogbono?
CONCLUSION: The inescapable conclusion is this: The Nigerian Government ought to be considerate when a binding, compulsory, or obligatory duty is discharged to provide the public with a steady, uninterrupted electricity to enable my people to develop themselves as the Ghanaians who have 24/7 power, are doing. Failure to provide needed services is the height of unmitigated Stupidity.
Nothing in this should be misconstrued to mean this writer is advocating militancy or violent overthrow of government This writer has been a teacher for decades, and does not support any political party. He seeks to speak the truth as it appears to him. If the reader is offended by what the essayist says or how he says, reader ought to take heart and realize that there is nothing free about freedom or about democracy's freedom to express itself freely through free opinions.
See also jamesagazies.blogspot.com