This article was originally titled SEASON OF ANOMIE by the Writer, Musa Toyyib Olaniyi
Anomie? You have started again with your big, big grammar oh? What is it this time around?
Hmm... Social psychologists aver that when there is a breakdown of fidelity to societal norms and values, anomie is said to have occurred. A sort of shamelessness, loss of standard and reckless impunity.
Ehen ehn! Why all this now?
Were you not in Nigeria last week when about 26 private jets including four from both Nigeria Police and Air Force landed in Minna? It was the conclave of architects of Nigeria's problems. They gathered to celebrate one of their club members who was giving out her last daughter in marriage.
But why do you call them Nigeria's problems? Are you saying it was a conclave of looters because, Buhari made us know that looting is presently chief of our problems in this country?
Don't put words in my mouth oh? I didn't say so. But don't you think that was quite outrageous? 30 private jets for a wedding? This is in a country going through recession where some workers who are being owed backlog of salary arrears are practically begging to feed. We even heard some steal pots of soup and gaari in some states just to defer imminent death staring them in the face due to unmitigated hunger.
So what? Because of that a man should not give out her daughter in marriage abi?
Do you know that the hilltop mansion is like an oasis in a desert. It is situated amidst a people ravaged by depredation and extreme poverty. How the man manages to sleep peacefully in the night is amazing.
This your grammar is too much. Tell us if it is a crime to celebrate.
Well, I'm not saying so. But Obasanjo has sponsored several of that in the past and even took a wife for his son not too long ago despite protestations from the groom's mother but, nobody insulted our sensibilities na? Even Buhari gave out his own daughter in marriage in his own sitting room some months back. Talk of a decent and modest leader. May God heal the baba jare.
I say amen to that because Buhari, in spite of his own weaknesses, is head and shoulders above this putrefying class. Now, all this long story, where is it heading? Is that why you suddenly become a scholar in Psychology, propounding theories of anomie?
No, no, no. None of that. I'm just thinking may be the conclave of the architects of Nigeria's problems were actually celebrating a prominent one among them for a job well done.
And who is that?
Tell me you don't know he is fondly called IBB. The conclave might be patting him on the back for leaving Nigeria worse than he met it when he had the opportunity to preside over the hapless country.
How is that so Mr story teller?
Remember, he was rumored to have participated in all the coups in Nigeria during the military interregnum. That's praiseworthy. Eventually, when he became the Head of State, he dribbled the country so well he named himself Maradona and evil genius. At the end of the day, he dribbled himself lame. He did that when he frittered away the opportunity to emblazon his name in gold in the annals of the nation by annulling the freest and fairest election in the history of the country. And this is apart from the loud rumblings that he garlanded public corruption during his reign. So, when you put all of these together, he is deserving of the love , loyalty and affection shown him by 'the conclave'. Lest I forget, did you notice that except Dangote and a few others, those that came there were public officials? So, you may excuse the business men whose sources of wealth were known from the conclave. But, why don't you ask them how they came about the private jets and stupendous wealth?
Meanwhile, so many myths, rumours, stories are woven around the gap-toothed Minna-born General, when will he write his own memoir to give us an account of his stewardship and also answer many lingering questions?
Hmm..so, this is the anomie you are talking about.
Yes, it is. It was a grand display of shamelessness and impunity. A sort of we don't give a damn. And you may as well hug the nearest transformer if you are peeved attitude.
But seriously, you are making sense with this your theory o.
Stop saying that. It isn't a theory. This is what confronts us everyday. Anyway, let me spice it up a bit for you.
O ga oh. I'm all ears.
You know the man in the Red Chamber with questionable certificate? The man whose credential in the House of Representatives was torn clothes during a rumble in the House. I'm not saying the man is a pugilist oh. Even though, he turned himself to a body guard during the peripatetic appearances of the Senate President before the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
You mean the man that claims to have about seven degrees, including those of Harvard and London School of Economics and Political Science?
If it is a joke, stop it. Those reputable institutions have debunked such claims.
OK. Sorry about that. You are referring to Melaye.
Yes, the controversial man whose source of wealth is as controversial as his personality. He has written a 600-page book on corruption.
So, what's the big deal in that? Are you insinuating that a third class graduate, who entered the university with questionable entry requirements can not author a book?
Not the least. I don't set store by paper qualifications. Your substance is more important than the pieces of paper people call certificates around here.
Hmm...you and this long story sha.
Just wait. The man launched his new book titled ' Antidote for Corruption: The Nigerian Story ' in Abuja recently. Dr. Bukola Saraki wrote the foreword to the book while Madam Patience Fika Jonathan was the Chief Launcher. Does the name ring bell? Can you beat that?
Yepa, this is serious oh! These are people standing trial for grave corruption allegations oh. So, it is like asking murderers to give oration or to officiate the funeral of homicide victims. That's true anomie really. So, what do we do now?
That's not all. Can you remember one of the states ravaged by meningitis which Governor proposed the 'sin hypothesis'?
Yes, the governor that was lambasted by one philosopher king for saying that meningitis was God's way of punishing his people for fornication.
Yowa! The man was rumoured to have diverted $3 million dollars out of the bailout fund meant to assuage the suffering of Nigerian workers who have been owed several months of unpaid salaries. But that's not all, the interesting aspect of the whole scam is that the man was building a hotel with the stolen money in far away Lekki in Lagos State. Can you get the link? Sins of fornication and adultery and hotels. Obviously, in his hotel, nobody will commit adultery or fornication, so the patrons of the hotel would have no reason to nurse fear about meningitis or any disease or affliction resulting from waywardness.
Ha! Oh my God! All in this country?
Yes, in this obodo Naijiria.
So, what do we do?
You are asking me for the solution?
Well, Nigerians have slept for far too long. Let them wake up from their slumber and take back their country from the predators. You know I called them conclave. In conclave, what they do is taking decisions. So, if Nigerians remain apathetic the way they are, the conclave will continue to meet to essentially share the nation's resources apparently with the you -can -all-hug a transformer attitude. In the interim, start from your own little sphere of influence. Yes, clean your own corner . But without doubt, if we remain docile and passive, nothing will change. It is all about anomie. If care is not taken, in no distant future, a counter culture would have been created and nurtured in which the bizarre and abnormal become the norm. We are getting there already.
God bless Nigeria.
Musa Toyyib Olaniyi is a Psychologist, lecturer, public analyst and writer. He writes from Ondo State, Nigeria.