By James Patrick
A real Nigerian never thinks of what to give but what to get. A typical Nigerian never thinks of what to contribute to the growth and development of a system; Rather, he or she thinks of what to collect from the system. A real Nigerian also would rather not work, than for him to work in a place where he would not have the chance to extract something from either his company, the ministry or the people where he or she works. When you take a careful look at two Nigerians, a boy and a girl who claim to be in ‘love,’ going into a romantic relationship, you would notice they kind of profess an endless love for each other. Sometimes they even promised to die for each other. Few months down the line they would brake up. You begin to wonder what really happened? Don’t wonder much, the answer is simple, they both entered the relationship each hoping to get something and not to give anything to the other. Each of them got into the relationship hoping to collect and not to contribute to each other – they all want to gain or extract something either tangible as in monitory or intangible as in emotional security or marital bliss. This is a selfish way of thinking that has perpetually made many relationship bankrupt and also kept the nation on hold over many decades after her independence. A Nigerian would rather not think than to think of ways on how to improve the living standards of his fellow Nigerian. Whatever would benefit the nest person and not him. Whatever would improve the life of his neighbor and not him. Whatever would provide succor to the nest man seating close to him in the church not him, does not make any sense to a typical Nigeria. If he has any possible means to truncate what would prosper his fellow Nigeria, he would do so without any iota of being remorseful about it. If he or she happens to be in charge of a place or a business settings, he would use every means to frustrate those who are his subordinates in order to get more or make more money for himself. I could remember overhearing someone lamenting about his boss who happened to be a senior staff in one of this big retail outlets here in the north and how he usually frustrates the living hell out of those working under him every now and then. This boss was directly recruited from Lagos as a direct staff who earns over two hundred and fifty thousand naira every month. He was in charge of the promoters who helped to push the sales of products in the stores. So he recruited about six of them on a monthly take home pay of just forty thousand naira. But can you believe that at the end of every month, this man would not pay them their hard earned salary even after the company had released the funds for their payment. He would withhold the funds for like fifteen days into the nest month before paying them, sometimes thirty thousand, sometimes other time, thirty four thousand naira. lying to them that the company did not meet it’s target so the reason for the delays and the deduction in their payments. These were all cheap lies because his own salary has never for once been reduced. Secondly, his salary drops at the same time theirs which always comes latest on the 29 of every month. The guy lamenting got to know all these because his class mate whom they went to school together in University of maiduri works with the company’s head office in Lagos. She feeds her with all the necessary information including printed evidences on money been released, when it was released and to whom it was released to. There were also reports of how all the bonuses meant for these six casual staff never get to them even though the company ordered that they be given certain amount of bonuses every now and then. All of these and many more are some of the ways this Nigerian extracted money from his fellow Nigerian . He earns more than them. As a matter of fact, his salary and bonuses every month is equivalent to the whole salary of the six people working under him. But because he thinks the way a typical Nigeria thinks, he must exploit his subordinates by extracting from the little they have so that he would remain rich. The same way our leaders extract our common resources just to enrich themselves at the expense of hopelessly poor Nigerians who would have to eke out a living through tears and blood everyday. Some companies today who should have been functioning at maximum level are in comatose if not completely out of production because somebody somewhere decided to feed his insatiable desire for quick wealth by extracting money illegally from the company which lead to it’s closure. Companies that should have been giving good jobs to able bodied Nigerian have been closed down due to the EXTRACTIVE thinking nature of the minds of an average Nigerian. Like I said earlier, this EXTRACTIVE thinking pattern stems from a selfish, self-seeking and self-centered nature of a typical Nigerian. In this country, we are too full of ourselves. In this country, we are so much in love with ourselves only! In this country, it’s all man for himself. In this country, its me or no one else. In this country, we all believe in this devilish ideology which says; ” one mugu must fall before another mugu get up” We don’t care if others are alive or they are death. We don’t care whether the world lives or it dies. We don’t care if our action and inactions would eventually lead to the abrupt demise or destruction of our fellow Nigerian. All we ever care about is how to get, how to extract, how to collect more to ourselves even if millions would be hospitalized, even if millions would go hungry, even if millions would loss their means of livelihood, we don’t care!
Take a look at how bribery and corruption keep destroying our collective wealth in this country, you would agree with me that this cankerworm is in the DNA of almost every Nigerian. Corruption is in the church, it’s in the mosque. It’s in politics, its also in the military. In our working place, you will find it there. What about our tribal union or school meetings, corruption is right their. Everybody is trying to outwit another to get more. Every Nigerian is always trying to outsmart the other just to move ahead in the rug of success. The only difference between each and everyone of us is that, the few who are fortunate to be in the helm of affairs as our leaders, have more opportunity to extract our collective resources while the led keep complaining. They are not complaining because they would do better or they would change the narratives when given the chance to do so. Deep down their heart they yearn for the opportunity to extract even more than what the present leaders are doing. Almost every Nigerian is an opportunist, waiting for his own time and turn to come.
The Nigerian economy today slides into recession not because of the aftermath effect of the corona virus or the endsars protest, but due to the excessive and EXTRACTIVE nature of those ruling us as a people. Everyone of them keeps looking for ways on how to milk the resources of this great country dry. Beside bad road, infant mortality rate, lack of good health care system, unemployment, high inflation rate. etc, one of the consequences of an EXTRACTIVE economy is that when everyone keep stealing from the system, very soon, there would be absolutely nothing to steal and no where to steal from anymore which could sink the country deeper down the pit of unrecoverable recession.
Let me recap this articles by saying that the only way to end corruption is not by changing these sets of politicians in power. We can change them as many times as we want, all we will keep getting is from bad to worst( the once coming would be worst than their predecessors). We need to rejig this extractive thinking ideology of every Nigerian and replace it with a sacrificial way of thinking. Selfishness and self-centeredness are what gave birth to this devilish EXTRACTIVE thinking pattern in our minds. So we need to do more of mental reorientation, mental recalibration and mental rejuvenation to all Nigerians if we must safe our nation from this impending self imposed doom looming ahead of us. A former president once beseeched all American to alway think of what they can do for America not what America can do for them. As short as this sentence may be, to me, it holds the key to American’s greatness as a world super power. Americans are always finding ways on how to contribute to the development of their great country. From the leaders to the led, they do not think of how to extract resources from the system but how to give and how they could contribute to the growth of their darling country. Down to the poor Americans who do not have anything to contribute, they use their mouth to bless America everyday (God bless America). But the insults and curses Nigeria as a country receives from Nigerians are enough to sink the country info eternal damnation. I know of many Nigerians whom, if given the opportunity, would sell the country and pocket the fees. With this kind of thinking ideology we are going nowhere! Thanks
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