It was the renowned American psychiatrist Mrs Kubler-Ros who gave the resounding statement that love and fear are our only emotions and all other emotions stem out of them. Putting this into perspective and the dire ire of the most populous black nation, our country Nigeria, and you have these two contrasting emotions - the love and the fear. Guilt is considered a negative emotion and hence stems out of fear as a factor; but what about ‘guilt’ bore of love?
Approximately 70 per cent of Nigeria’s population, representing about 105 million people, is under 30 years. So here is a country whose backbone is its youth, unfortunately a higher percentage of whom are idle, yet still fervently in love with the nation but have accepted the narrative that we are powerless to change anything that is controlled by the aristocratic older 30 per cent of our population. So there began our personal bout with guilt, one that is fought by the many millions of us inadvertently in love with our country but powerless to resist its impending denigration.
On a daily basis, mass acts of corruption and blasphemy are carried out by our political class, our so-called leaders; from tens of billions missing like a needle in a hay-sack; little girls bundled away like farm produce; villages ransacked and thrown to tatters; jets being bought colossally with our nation’s treasury; security votes diverted to God knows where – but what do we do? We sulk, we cry inwards, we storm to social media in our virtual worlds, but in the end we do not transcend from the virtual to the real world. Time passes by and we seem to forget, we do suppress and try to move on, leaving our culprit leaders to go scot-free, yet again and let us continue to fight with that guilt. Yes, we might suppress it but inadvertently it’s still innate and all we do is pretend that someday things will change. “Change is on the way”. How sad!
To suppress our guilt, we shirk our personal responsibility, constantly finding something and someone to repeatedly blame for the failure of our nation, our failures. From the colonial power houses for bringing us together, to the military for putting us in shackles and to the dispensations of democracy for looting us all away; to the councilor for being so corrupt, to the chairman for being a stooge to orders above, our governors and the president for being our tormentors-in-chief and the judiciary for letting them go scot-free? But when do we ever own up to our own “responsibility”? Or don’t we have a responsibility to our nation? Have we simply been kidnapped by the force that is the elite that all we can is o eternally fight our moral guilt and believe we are not wrong? Unfortunately, rarely do we transcend from saying we should do this to actually ‘now doing this’.
From a problem of leadership, now the cancer is spreading, it is a citizenry problem; it is a Nigerian colloquial problem. At the market, the trader transfixes rotten tomatoes in between the ripe basket of tomatoes without any aorta of fear, you stand up to him and complain, what does he tell you, “Oga, this is Nigeria oo”. You are bewildered but what do you do? You sulk and move on to fight with the guilt of not being able to do anything. You are on a queue for almost an hour, but every minute somebody just comes in and is ushered at your peril. You shout and claim it’s not fair but eventually sulk and fight with that innate guilt, that you are helpless to the situation in fear of its repercussions, the guilt of fear. The cancer indeed has spread.
Now, as you are reading this, at certain parts your brain clicks. “That is so true”. “That reminds me of the other day”. “Unfortunately, that is Nigeria of today for you”. NO! That’s your responsibility-shirking innate guilt, hostile attitude in action yet again. Why are we hiding behind our shells? Nobody is going to proffer solutions to this crestfallen nation by earning millions while shouting and debating, albeit even groggily sleeping. It is an individual effort that starts right there where you are; you either make a move now or eternally be fighting with that guilt.