The Nigerian Syndrome

By Adeola Aderounmu

The Nigerian syndrome is the condition in which the people of Nigeria openly support their rulers and politicians who have contributed tremendously to the demeaning of their living conditions.

The Nigerian Syndrome

It is a also a condition where a crook, a corrupt ruler or a known criminal in government gets massive support from a group of die-hard followers who will never see the negative impacts of the criminal acts that have been perpetrated.

For example, James Ibori has/had supporters who even went to a London court to support the cause of him being a criminal. When Alamieyeseigha ran away from London to Bayelsa State he received a heroic welcome.

There are uncountable examples. Alamieyeseigha was even granted pardon by the massively corrupt Jonathan government meaning that the syndrome is displayed not only by individuals but also by the government. Bode George’s criminal charges and ex-convict status were removed by a court of law. His supporters took to “aso-ebi” with religious songs and they celebrated him as a criminal while his trial and imprisonment sailed through.

The Nigerian syndrome from the foregoing is suffered by individuals, government and institutions in Nigeria. When the complete analyses of this syndrome are done, it will be worthwhile to do a comparison of it with the popular Stockholm syndrome.

The Nigerian syndrome will definitely open a new chapter in anthropology and human/animal behaviour. It will be a study area that will explore corruption, tribalism, nepotism, extremely low human cognitivity, non-performance in government and many more vices that are related to hitherto inexplicable situations surrounding the mad politics in Nigeria.

For it is amazing how over 53 years of misgivings, mismanagement, maladministration and complete destruction of the institutions of government has not drawn the ire of the Nigerian populace in a united and collective way. It is very disturbing how voices of reasonings have been suppressed and replaced with voices of humans with distorted or frail mentalities.

There are several documented examples of how the people of the states or the regions that have been robbed showed open support for the the criminals that have robbed them through the looting of the treasuries. Sometimes the support cut across states and regions.

It is well known that corruption is systemic in Nigeria and that Nigeria is one of the most stinkingly corrupt countries on the surface of the earth.. Therefore what some Nigerians have done is to compare the degree of corruption of each administration. For example rather than condemn and prosecute Obasanjo, Babangida and all the other corrupt rulers of Nigeria, Nigerians find it more “befitting” to compare the level of corruption in these governments and take sides depending on their “feelings” or “nepotic inclinations”.

Actually, this is worrisome because the ideal thing to do is to condemn all these corrupt rulers and their ministers and accomplices in the government houses across Nigeria. Nigerians don’t condemn corruption in totality. They weigh corruption, especially on tribal scale.

The fact that Jonathan did not start the corruption business in Nigeria has earned him massive support among some groups of Nigerians who are only interested in the emergence of a christian ruler or a ruler from the South of Nigeria. Nigerians are slaves to religion too.

The Nigerian syndrome itself is systemic and and as mentioned earlier deserved to be studied in details. The Nigerian syndrome will make up more than a 4-unit course at any University. It  gets wider. In Nigeria intellectuals who are recruited into the government are known to have been part of the looting in government. Journalists like Reuben Abati whom everyone thought can reason logically because of the way he wrote went into government to defend the criminals he had criticized for many years. If you read Abati’s articles while at the Guardian, the complexity of the Nigerian syndrome will take a new turn.

What is it with the mentalities of the ordinary Nigerians that allow them to support the way the government is maltreating them? Why can’t Nigerians see that the government is bad and make a determined and collective efforts to ensure that the government is geared towards competency, accountability and probity? Why do people in government end up as criminals even when they were good people outside of government?

The Nigerian syndrome include the myopic views that Nigerians have on national issues and also their short-term memories of issues that have long lasting effects.

What is wrong with Nigerians? Why do they grade corruption rather than condemn it altogether? What is the relationship between corruption, tribalism, nepotism and Nigeria’s system of completely mad politics?

What is the cure for the Nigerian syndrome and does this cure hold the key to any attempt that will be made to eradicate corruption? In short, is there hope for Nigeria with the system of government that is in place?

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