Saturday, 24 February 2024 04:28

Gaslighting, the Nigeria way - Seun Kolade

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Seun Kolade Seun Kolade

"I heard this woman was on a night out when she was set upon by a group of gun totting men and raped on the streets at night. She desperately cried for help, but no one came to her aid. According to eyewitnesses, the rapists were armed policemen assigned to provide security in the neighbourhood."

"Eeeh yah! See another life wasted. May Nigeria not happen to us!"

"Look, the woman is still alive. Let's take her to the hospital. Hurry!"

"Me. Lailai. Can't you see the woman is a victim of assault? You carry her to the hospital, and you become a witness or even a suspect in the case. You are on your own, please".

"Really? Do they just rope people into cases like that. We are talking about a human life here. It could be you tomorrow"!

"Olorun ma je! I reject that in Jesus name! This can never be me. Look at her. See how she's dressed like a prostitute!"

"Ohh, is it her fault now? What has her dress got to do with the fact that she was assaulted by police officers whose job was to provide security for the neighbourhood? You haven't said a thing about the criminal police officers"

"Leave matter for Mattias, we all know what the Nigerian police is like. But tell me, will you be happy if your sister goes out like that at night?"

"What the hell are you talking about? Look, I don't have time for this nonsense. I'm taking this woman in the car, and to the hospital"

"Well, it's your car. Do what you like. I'm not coming out with you at the hospital. You are on your own"

"You see, this is one of Nigeria's biggest problems: victim blaming and gaslighting. When you mix that with sycophancy, short-sightedness and collective amnesia, you understand why the country has been moving round circle, and always tethering on the precipice. We are talking about a woman hanging for dear life after a tragic assault by men assigned to protect her. But here you are, blaming the victim."

"All this grammar upon wetin! My point is simple: the woman's dressing attracted the assault."

"You are impossible! Presumably you also think Nigerians should be blamed for unprecedented inflation and desperate hunger in the streets?"

"Well I believe all Nigerians bear responsibility"

"Hmmnn. So all Nigerians have the level of power, ordinary citizens and government alike? Or how do you propose to share this responsibility?"

"All I'm saying is everyone must do their little bit"

"You are deflecting the issue. Responsibility is shared yes, but it is shared according to the level of power delegated to each stakeholder. A child's responsibility is to listen and learn in class. This is different in form and level from a teacher's responsibility to teach, and a government's responsibility to provide the infrastructure. When you muddle up the roles and the responsibility, you expose yourself as government's apologist making excuses and selling dummies to citizens"

"All you this Obidient people. You just want to blame the government for everything. Wait for your turn!"

"And there you are, deflecting once again and confirming what I just said. I did not support Obi in the last election. You know this. Even if I did, what has Obi got to do with desperate hunger and starvation induced by unprecedented inflation?"

"And you forgot that the last government ran the country aground?"

"Ah, so it's Buhari fault now?"

"Are you saying you didn't know that Buhari ruined Nigeria's economy?"

"But we are talking about now, about the current government?"

"Asiwaju is trying. Nigerians need to be patient. There is no magic wand anywhere"

"Nigerians do not expect magic. They just want a government that works and does the basics. There is hunger in the land. Only the living can be patient. What exactly is the government doing to address this existential crisis?"

"Look, the government needed to float the Naira. Previous governments borrowed heavily to subsidise fuel and defend a false value of the Naira, and with little to show for it in development terms and value to citizens. The rich were getting richer, and Nigeria was incurring debts for the next generations. It was simply not sustainable. What you see now is the true value of the Naira."

"This level of hunger is not sustainable, and many Nigerians, including the most strident critics of the previous government, will most likely say they had it much better under Buhari. You still haven't explained what the Tinubu government is doing to tackle this existential crisis"

'I am neither an economist nor a spokesperson for the Tinubu government."

"You just sounded like both. If I didn't know any better, I'd assumed you are the special economic adviser to the government."

'I am just an ordinary citizen"

"Ordinary citizens right now are pleading desperately for help. The government should take this seriously and declare a state of emergency on the economy. They should put emergency policies in place to drive production, especially in the agricultural sector. The food crisis is the number one crisis in need of emergency interventions, including short term imports to tackle the problem of hunger. Most importantly, the government needs to take responsibility and lead from the front! This include a drastic reduction of waste in government, including expenses for overseas trip and reduction of allowance for officials. That will send the right message. It is hypocritical for government to ask citizens to make sacrifices while profligacy continues unabated in government. As Francis bacon once noted, 'rebellion is caused by two things: much poverty, much discontent'. There is desperate hunger in the land, and rising anger. The government should act now to forestall a national meltdown. A word is enough for the wise."

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