Monday, March 17, 2008

It takes a fool to remain sane

So, this week, it has been discovered that a citizen of this county had a pipeline, used for smuggling crude oil, running directly into his home. A private citizen like you and me. Nothing special about this man at all, he does not have two heads and neither was he born on a special day. He was born on an ordinary day, in an ordinary month. The only thing that makes this man so special is that he was born in Nigeria. Yes, only in Nigeria can such a thing happen. Only in Nigeria can a private citizen “steal” crude oil from a refinery without the refinery or the government’s knowledge.

Yesterday, I performed an experiment. I went into the home of a neighbour and stole a bottle of normal cooking oil, vegetable oil to be precise. Do you think my neighbour did not notice? Within an hour, my phone was blasted with calls and texts. Of course my neighbour knew that a bottle of oil had gone missing even though it was just a small bottle. Now, please, can somebody, explain to me how in the world a pipeline of crude oil is connected to a man’s house without anybody’s knowledge? How is that possible? I repeat again, a pipeline? Where else but Nigeria could such a thing happen? Where else but Nigeria will we be proud to announce to the world that we have caught “a pipeline thief”?

It seems that there are thieves and there are thieves. In Nigeria, greed is insatiable. The hunger for money is insatiable. It is never enough. Even if we have enough money to last a couple of generations, we want more. Yet, this is the same country where almost everybody you meet is either a born again Christian or a devout Muslim. Forget about the pagans, they do not exist except in Nollywood. So it seems we all have the fear of God in us.

Our appetite for money is drowning this country. We are the laughing stock of the world because we cannot control ourselves. Everything has to be in excess. The cars have to be jeeps when you know very well how narrow and congested our roads are. The houses have to be mansions so it can be seen from far and wide when you know very well they are huts at the turn of the corner. The fabrics have to be strong and heavy when you know the ferocity of our sun. Nothing is ever done in moderation. Just like every project we embark on, we manage to cause wastage and spillage.

Nevertheless, we turn a blind eye everyday to these things. Just like I have never figured out who throws dirt on the road (it cannot be the Christians because “cleanliness is next to Godliness” and definitely not the Muslims since they wash five times a day and the pagans do not exist), we shall all live with the ridiculous situation in this country and once in a while, say “God dey” or “It is well”. We shall pretend that it is possible for a private citizen to connect a pipeline to his home and we shall also pretend that we have a great police force who managed to make this discovery after months of underground work and investigation.

P.S: To borrow the words of Patrick Obahiagbon, the Edo state representative in the National assembly, you all should stop “big stouting”, “suyaing” and “peppersouping” and get to work. The security problem in this country is out of control. Whose mother, wife or sister has to be raped by an armed robber before something is done? Whose baby has to be shot at close range before something is done? People are suffering and yet their cries seem to be falling on deaf ears. It is only a matter of time before people start taking matters into their hands. Abeg, I don tire.


Uzezi said...

let me take the spot please.

Uzezi said...

it's sad really. some people want everything. and the only reason why that pipeline has not exploded in his house is because of the innocent neighbours. He will be rewarded handsomely. U r right. it's only in nigeria that these things happen.

Patrice said...

Learned helplessness, sadly. Whatever happened to the 'social contract'?

TheAfroBeat said...

Even though i know this isn't proven fact, i have to echo all the comments that it is only in Nigeria where this scale of thievery can occur. Nothing in moderation for us, because the stakes (oil revenues) are so incredibly high. If you look closely at other oil producing African nations, they come closest (but still not that close) to our scale of thievery juxtaposed with immense poverty.

And yes, even though we get riled up from time to time, it's still as you asked, whose sister has to be raped for someone (who can) to put an end to this madness?

nneoma said...

Actually, I would have to disagree with some of the comments declaring that Nigeria's greed is unparalleled.

Smuggling of oil is common in big oil-producing countries - especially in countries in which the majority of the people do not benefit from the oil trade - Bolivia, Iraq, Syria, Brazil, Venezuela and the list continues. So yes, it is tragic, but it is not limited to Nigerians only.

In regards to the unparalleled greed of Nigerians, I also disagree. Those people who fall for these 419 schemes are just as greedy as their perpetrators - it is just that one party out-smarted the other. (I am in no way advocating 419, or glorifying it. Unfortunately, the greed of the mugu who falls for the trick has devastating consequences on their innocent families and 419 stains the national image). The Haliburton scandal of few years ago reminds us of how greedy American companies can be. Also, I think that the greed of the West in Nigeria has had far worse repercussions on modern Nigeria - hint, Niger Delta crisis. That crisis stemmed from the legitimate concerns of the the residents in which they found that the GREED of western companies destroyed their lands and means of livelihood. I am sure very few of us need to be reminded of the human and ecological tragedy that has happened there. Yes, some Nigerians have taken advantage of this but the vast majority of Niger Delta residents, both past and future generations, are still rendered victims.

In light of the 4,000th US soldier death in Iraq and countless hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, I think that the greed we see in Nigeria is in no way compared to that we see amongst US leaders. Let's face the facts, Bush led the US into a war for oil - forget WMDs and Saddam. His greed and that of his other oil cronies, like VP Cheney and Condi Rice, led to their imperialistic quest. Heck, colonialism was one big exercise in GREED - scrambling all over Africa, Asia and other continents for natural resources to STEAL. Let us not forget red rubber in the Congo in which the greed of King Leopold had grave physical, psychological and mental impact on the people. Let's not forget that if you are in the United States, you will be hard-pressed to see a Native American walking on the streets because most were wiped out due to greed. Diamonds in southern Africa, Sierra Leone - GREED GREED GREED of who? Not Nigerians, but rather the West.

So, when people say that Nigerians are thieves, I can't help but to roll my eyes. Like you said, there are thieves and then there are thieves and then there are THIEVES. And I think the Western society, fits nicely into that latter category.

nneoma said...

Oh I forgot to add:

"Cleanliness is next to Godliness" was never mentioned in the Bible. However, Christians are still called to be stewards over the earth. Christians EVERYWHERE, including myself, have failed to take up this adequately. In fact, in the US, many Christians who are closely allied with Republicans are anti environmentalist movements.

Pagans do exist - well, I know that at least in Igbo land they exist. They have been able to merge their own sacred traditions with other more mainstream religions (Christianity, Islam, etc.). However, I have met some that are strictly pagan, though, they are much older.

also, I meant all my previous comments in love. I do recognize that Nigerians have their issues but I do tend to get a little pissed when some suggest that we are the worst in the world. We are human just like everyone else. The way some put it, both in these comments and elsewhere, it makes us seem as if the devil has apportioned to Nigeria an extra dose of evil. This is how we lost the World Cup 2010 bid to South Africa which I was extremely upset at - I mean c'mon, we lost the bid to a country with the third highest murder rate in the world. Only Colombia and Iraq have higher murder rates.

Waffarian said...

@Nneoma,no wahala, I am always happy to hear different opinions so please, keep leaving them.

As for the "pagans do not exist", that was used in irony. As in, we all claim to be muslims or christians, nobody will openly claim to be a pagan in Nigeria although as you said, it is commonly merged with our christian or muslim beliefs. That is why I said "only in Nollywood".

nneoma said...

my dear, sorry, i am not the best with irony. even native doctors openly attend church. i say the more the merrier.

by the way, i am happy opposing views are accepted on this blog. thanks

Runa said...

People should read this.