By Prince Charles Dickson Ph.D.

Under pressure we wail under pressure

Under pressure black people under pressure

Under pressure nigerians under pressure

No food in we belly

No money in ah we pocket

No bed we lay we head

The people dem are suffer

In ah ghetto, in ah city

Everywhere dah me go oh

Me see them, some are cry, some are die

Some are weeping! Some are wailing!

Everywhere dah oh eh

Under pressure we wail under pressure

Under pressure everybody under pressure

Ras Kimono Under Pressure

You see the Nigerian looks upon Nigeria as a theatre and the entire population representing and manifesting the full spectrum of acts and actors. In this revelry, life is the theatre; the nation is the stage upon which we perform. The politicians and a few of us are the actors, very often mediocre. When stars appear, it is more often because a play must have a star rather than because the player is possessed of some dramatic genius. We saw it with Obasanjo, we saw it with Mr. Yar’adua, and with the shoeless one, we are seeing it with the soon-to-end Mr. Buhari. We falter and we muff our lines; sometimes our performance takes on an aspect of the grotesque-nobody takes this seriously because it is perceived as being the nature of the play. Our people become the audience.

I once watched with bemusement, a deaf and dumb boy who caught his mom with a stranger in bed. When his father came home, the poor young boy was at loss on how to communicate his discovery. After several futile attempts, the boy ceased trying. The father on the other hand patted him, walked into the bedroom and was scolding the wife, he asked her why she was sick, rolling on the bed and could not call for help from the neighbours or the family doctor?

I am not going to talk about the currency redesign brouhaha, because as good a policy it supposedly is, again it has exposed the gross behavioural nature of some Nigerians. The Central Bank, the Commercial Banks, the Bankers, the PoS Operators and the general populace are guilty of varying degrees of culpability.

And, then the fuel palaver, same one that once upon a time Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said: “This is the winter period. There is always more demand for refined products from petroleum during winter in the colder countries. This is what we are experiencing now.” Today, I guess it is winter in those places again. And at the black market, the usual trend, certainly high petrol price, unavailable and weak Naira, low minimum wage and increasing poverty.

Legislators neither here nor there, governors’ not sure where they stand. In all the noise the product disappears. Transportation fare increases, food prices sky rocket…a nation that has a disconnect between the ruled and its rulers, like the deaf and dumb boy, his mother, the stranger and his father.

Fact is, our currency wahala, and fuel palaver is not the government’s problem. What are we really subsidising, is it the high cost of energy or unavailable petroleum products. Nigerians are tired, hungry and not in protest mode. There’s no fuel scarcity but fuel criminality because leadership lacks will.

Where are the refineries promised, all gone with the wind called Turn Around Maintenance! There is no PMS in the fuel station but unregistered marketers/blackmarkers all have the commodity… a continued rationalisation and justification of absurdities like a commentator put it. It is even more disheartening when the intellectual effort and voice of elites are at the heart of such theatricals due to ethno-religious cleavages birthed on economic disenfranchisement.

Our major problem is the lack of leadership manifesting itself in every facet of our human endeavors. Some of these areas may be fixable in future if we get the right people with the right policies but how do you fix the future of the mass population of our children who are not getting educated today?

The future of Nigeria is bright, interesting, but scary if we reflect about it. Teachers are illiterate, students can’t go to school because schools are closed down and alternatives are unaffordable, the change is bleak…

The fuel management chain is a lucrative cankerworm of corruption, our banking system is not exactly different, a serious government can yet tackle it, it’s beyond committees and white papers. Its action, only action can stop the rot. Nigerians can, I believe we can but we don’t know that we can, doubt if we are ready.

The reason is simple…we are not just part of the problem, in some cases we are the problem, when Sunny Okunsun sang

which way Nigeria

which way to go

I love my fatherland

o yeah

I want to know

Yes, I want to know

I love my fatherland

which Nigeria is heading to

many years after independence

we still find it hard to start

how long shall we be patient still we reach the promised land

let’s save Nigeria

so Nigeria won’t die

which way Nigeria

every little thing that goes wrong

we start to blame the government

we know everything that goes wrong

we are part of the government

which way Nigeria is heading to

inefficiency and indiscipline

is ruining the country now

corruption here there and everywhere

inflation is very high

we make mistakes in the oil boom

not knowing that was our doom

some people now have everything

while some have nothing

which way Nigeria

which way to go

I end with this encounter, a politician was charged with profanity for calling an opponent a bastard: the politician retorted, “When I call him s.o.b I am not using profanity. I am only referring to the circumstances of his birth”. What is the circumstance of the birth of Nigeria, can anything be done to bring destiny and fate to conjure up some good for us all?

The elites are having a field day but each fleeting moment , three facts of life beckons, the rising of sun, setting of the moon and truth—Only time will tell.