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Can President Buhari Discipline Nigerians?

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, GERMANY - JUNE 08: Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari attends the second day of the summit of G7 nations at Schloss Elmau on June 8, 2015 near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. In the course of the two-day summit G7 leaders are scheduled to discuss global economic and security issues, as well as pressing global health-related issues, including antibiotics-resistant bacteria and Ebola. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

By Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

When President Muhammadu Buhari took over power in May 2015, many Nigerians expected him to wave a wand and bring about change.

They felt that their votes had hired the right man who would immediately fix all that was wrong with our country.

But, while delivering a speech to commemorate Nigeria’s 55 years of independence from the UK on 1 October, President Buhari made it clear that he would not do the job on his own.

He invited every Nigerian to share the burden of change with him: “We all have a part to play to bring about change.

“We must change our lawless habits… We must change our unruly behaviour… To bring about change, we must change ourselves.”

Few of us who live in Nigeria can deny knowledge of exactly what our president was talking about.

We are quite familiar with ubiquitous unruly behaviour:

  • The Nigerians who will never stand in any queue, who must make their way to the front as soon as they arrive
  • The drivers who will never stop at a traffic light, who consider it anathema to allow an empty space in front of their vehicles
  • The invisible individuals who excrete piles of solid waste on the pavements, night after night
  • The staff who take three weeks’ leave to attend their father’s burial, then another three weeks later in the year to attend their father’s burial, again. “That first one was my father who paid my school fees,” they say. “This one is my biological father”
  • The mothers who threaten the head teacher with fire and brimstone because their children were punished for coming late to school
  • The bosses who, in the presence of their entire staff, praise you for your excellent work skills, then wink and ask if you also have excellent “bedroom skills”, while everyone present bursts out laughing
  • The top government officials who show off their importance by the number of people jam-packed into their waiting rooms. They give you an appointment for 7am, knowing full well that they do not intend to see you until 10pm
  • The air hostesses who frown throughout the flight, to avoid giving you the false impression that they are at your beck and call
  • The “big men” and “big women” who scream “Do you know who I am?” when you ask for some identity before they can be allowed through the gate
  • Those who ring the airline to request that the flight be delayed for their sakes, while their fellow passengers gaze out of the aeroplane windows for an hour, wondering why the flight is delayed, this time

I could go on and on. The catalogue of unruly behaviour in Nigeria is endless.

And, like President Buhari has pointed out, for the country to move forward, these bad habits have to change.

 

Culled from CNN

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