OPINION: THE STORY OF THE FOOLISH NIGERIAN

The ‘Olodo’ analogy is at the heart of my conversation this week; Nigerians are a people that are easily blown by the wind. ‘Olodo Rabata’ is a phrase, I first heard from my mom in a small song, it means a big illiterate, a forgetful person, a dullard, and some will say naïve. An Olodo can’t write the letter O in the alphabet–and rabata is used to emphasis BIG. So I would go for, the BIG forgetful people. Let me add a caveat, Olodos can be intelligent, they can be smart but largely messed up for or by one or more reasons.

The Olodo in that song is said to only know how to eat the fish’ eyes. Literally meaning, what he knows is inconsequential, off the mark, off the point. All noise and nothing more, need I add, the Olodos are largely jolly nonchalant fellows and hardly forceful on any matter, small noise and they move along.

Now, let me tell a short story.

A barber Shop was filled with customers when a little boy walks into the shop.
Looking at the little boy, the barber whispers to his customer, “This is the most foolish kid in the world. Watch while I prove it to you.”

The barber puts a dollar bill in one hand and two quarters in the other, then calls the boy over and asks, “Which do you want, son?”

The boy takes the quarters and leaves.

“What did I tell you?” said the barber. “That kid never learns!” the barber said laughing.

Later, when the customer leaves the shop, he sees the same young boy coming out of the ice cream store.

“Hey, son! May I ask you a question? Why did you take the quarters instead of the dollar bill?” asked the man.

The boy licked his favorite ice-cream and replied,”Because the day I take the dollar, the game is over.”

In no particular order, I have watched a nation of countrymen and women that have become ‘Olodos’. Our retention span so very low, we are hardly able to follow matters to an end. We are not in agreement regarding what is wrong or what is right; our decisions are steeped in ethnographic-jingoism.

We suffer low attention span, we suffer focus delinquency, like a one-year-old baby, so easily excitable, we pick on every matter and like a toy, after a while we drop it, and move to the next one. Most times what makes us cry brings us so much humor–Like did you see that “Old Ruga” is dead and gone to his grave jest or did you follow all the deriving jokes about the now rested KREST Drink from the soon to be forgotten COZA episode.

This is the orchestra of olodos– I will remind us a few…For the kids that are 30years now, it is sad that history is cheating on loads of you, you are neither aware of our military and authoritarian past, and then, you are still learning the ropes of democracy, and then the elders that you ought to learn from are Olodos; they have forgotten that table full of monies at the floor of the National Assembly.

The Olodos naturally choose their battles based on sentiments and bias, so often that it doesn’t last, as very many times they forget why they choose the stand they took. So we have forgotten, the drama of Salisu Buhari and his fake age and certificate, David Mark, and Saraki were instrumental in making us forget when we have one Senate president almost every year.

We have forgotten the impeachment era, Dariye, Boni Haruna, Fayose and co, we have outgrown all that ambush drama whether at executive, legislative or Judiciary level. One that comes to mind must be Justice Salami, and like many have forgotten, how about Justice Onoghen, the NJC, and all the noise. The man finally retired, will get his benefits and the real story will remain untold. All part of the entertainment called Nigeria.

Our leaders take governance tours, we see mid term report, and all the unnecessary policy somersaults. We only grumble a bit but soon we forget, the potholes remain death holes, and these days they are as big as the Nigerian map, and yet we are not in agreement that governance has failed and can do better, we make the noise, collect the names of those responsible and soon we forget. There was a deputy governor that was impeached because he had poultry, all has been rested in the dirt bin of old memory for those that can recall.

In Osun it was Hijab versus Choir robes, we took it to the law school, and after all the gymnastics, we are still torn by unresolved conversations that leave us complaining Nigeria is a secular state that prays more than even religious states.

Everything with us is treated with a touch, another small touch and we move on. We recently touched the Zainab Aliyu case, and we touched that nightclub that was bulldozed down in Abuja, all that arrests of wives, daughters and girlfriends in the strip club was simply a touch that we have lost touch on. The truth remains that we are unable to keep it locked on an issue and get done with it.

Senator Elisha Abbo, maybe like that tanker fire in Lagos, after the drama that is similar to all the technical wins and loses in the war against terrorists we will forget.

Is it surprising that we even played with the idea of removing history from our schools, we don’t want to remember, we don’t forget, and therefore we cannot heal.

Let me end with this short take, “Interestingly – “…when the City Planners sat down to design Washington, D.C their intention was to build a city that would intimidate and humble foreign heads of state…the planners have succeed…just look at the Capitol, the White House, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, the Mall, WWII / FDR Memorial, the Pentagon, Martin Luther King Memorial, the Smithsonian – especially Air and Space, Iwo Jima Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery VA, etc…

We pray, steal, debate and then end with a prayer, and still we are in circles. We are yet to define why we are Nigerians, what Nigeria is or wants to be…What are we building, and like the boy at the barber’s shop, we are all smart by the half, the barber thinking he’s smart, the boy also thinking he’s smart, and we are all on that Olodo radius.

Which one thing have we stuck to and done well and achieved its purpose without forgetting why we were even on it–are we really ready to change. Only time will tell.

*** Written by Prince Charles Dickson PhD.

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