t is commonly said that fixing any society was very easy because it only needed to begin with a conscious determination to fix the man. This school of thought maintains that it was the man that created his society, nation, or country and not the society that created the man. The many challenges that had bedeviled Nigeria and which incidentally continues to bedevil her, when looked at from this school of thought's logic; raises the interest of an average Nigerian to the point of wanting to know: How does fixing the Nigerian affected the attempt to fix Nigeria?
Let me begin by stating that I belonged to the aforementioned school of thought. Fixing Nigeria. Could there be any successful attempt to fix Nigeria today without first fixing the average Nigerian? Was there any link between attitude and national success? How about indiscipline? Where does it seem from? The will to embezzle public funds? Does it relate to a greedy attitude? Religious intolerance? Does it have to do with our attitude towards our relationships with one another's religious beliefs or is it about what the Holy Bible or Qur'an said?
Nigeria's quagmire has been traced to the unfaithfulness of the average Nigerian to our national pledge. Our attitude has largely placed us in the situation that we found ourselves today. The greed, the indiscipline, the corruption, the impunity, the nepotism, the bribery and the pervasive mentality towards life has been the manifestations of our attitude. Keith Harrel defined attitude as the outward reflection of what resided inside the individual. Let me add to it by saying that attitude is a reflection of character.
From the outset, the character of those who created Nigeria was questionable. The various ethnic groups that made it into Nigeria was questionable. Amalgamation was a situation were people from different backgrounds came together to further the interest of Colonialism. There was a desperate need by these numerous tribes to become relevant with the colonial authorities and that gave rise to competition and even the resort to unethical tactics just to attain that goal. What mattered most in that time was not a national ideology.
Nigeria is not like Zimbabwe or South Africa or even America (during colonialism) where the need for a national cohesion became more important than the need to engage in a competition orchestrated in order to divide the people. The mindset of a man who was in competition with his neighbor can never be said to be healthy for the fact that every race first of all sent the participants into the activity of searching out one another's weaknesses and how best to exploit such to ones' advantage. This is the story of Nigeria and this is how we got to where we are today.
There is no denying the fact that the competition among the various ethnic groups was far from being over. The competitive attitude has denied Nigeria a national ideology. It has encouraged the culture of corruption, impunity, nepotism, religious intolerance and sectional dominance. It has turned our national institutions into a nobodies business and affected our psyche to the point of relaxing our individual convictions because the next door neighbor compromised too. This attitude of competition has made every public servant an inheritor or in opportunity.
Deriving great encouragement from organized religion, the mindset of competition among the Nigerian people has driven us to the point of deceiving in the name of the gospel, amassing questionable wealth and shedding human blood in the name of Allah. The fear of an Islamic agenda is basically an offshoot of our attitude of competition. The suspicion between these various faiths is only a confirmation that something from within the Nigerian was negative if we considered that Islam and Christianity were both foreign religions.
The failure of leadership has also shown that since the leaders came from the masses; what made them fail was common among the masses and therefore when leadership succeeded; what made it succeed should come from the masses. If a man came from the Northern part of Nigeria to lead Nigeria, he normally reflected sentiments that were common among people of his region and, vice versa. Folks who embezzled public monies did so duly empowered by prevailing attitudes. So, the road to fixing Nigeria has continued to point towards fixing the Nigerian.