Do You Know Who I am?
“What can you do to me? Lock me in jail? I live in jail. You have made my country a prison. Kill me? I am dead already. Shame has killed me. I travel abroad and I am insulted. People ask me what’s wrong with my country. I tuck my head in shame. They think there is something wrong with the black race because of you, Mr. Legislooter. I know there are so many more Nigerians, honest, decent, intelligent, willing and able to make the flowers bloom, and re-establish this great nation into a world leader”
The problem starts with these words, ‘do you know who I am?’ thinking you are somebody, for all the wrong reasons.
Yesterday, I was engaging with a Nigerian lawmaker and at some point in the conversation, he catechized me: Do you know who I am?
Allow me to first introduce myself. March 18th, 2013, the day of the dastardly bus stop bombing at Sabo, in Kano and the birthday of ENDS, is the day I became who I am. I said, NEVER again…will I sit and not invest all I have to fight the terrorists and the cabal behind the situation making life unbearable and precipitating all forms of terror in Nigeria. I felt like I was in that bus. Perhaps I was in a sense…a part of me was; – the vacillating part. We will never forget March 18th!
So to your question; yes, I do actually know who you are. You are nobody. In-fact, worse still, you are worse than nobody; you are a problem, my problem, the problem of my people. A walking, talking indissoluble problem; like a bad movie that refuses to have a ‘The End’.
Am I expected to respect you for your corruption? I’ll tell you what it is. You are not corrupt. Corrupt is a fancy word the colonialist invented to decorate your worthlessness. You, Sir, are a thief! It’s just an elevated level of the same stealing…shop-lifting. You claim you bought 100,000 uniforms for the soldiers, and leave them to dress in their old uniforms, with broken morale, so you can steal the money for the lot. You claim you bought new equipment, while you only refurbished the old one and stole the money. With your family and friends, you divide up my country. You take kick-fronts. You cut up Nigeria and Trans.fer it to the Corp. You starve and incarcerate the poor and feed and free the rich. You steal my money… how then will I respect you, you thief. Your hands are in my pocket, taking my Kobo’s and you ask if I know who you are.
Who are you, Mr. Lawmaker? How about you tell me who you are, and what laws you have made that have benefited me, that I may regard and respect you. Tell me what I need to be proud of, dear honorable, Mr. Excellency. Prove to yourself that you know what and how to develop our nation. Show me the qualifications you have that justify your appointment? Dishonesty is no degree, common, get serious. I may be a cleaner, a teacher, a gardener, a tailor, or I don’t even have a job—being one of the millions of unemployed Nigerians, thanks to you—but I am way better than you. When I do work, I am qualified for my job, and I do my work with due diligence. Can you say the same? How do you earn your wages and why are you the highest paid for it in the world, when in a depressing inverse relationship, you are the worst at it?
There is no denying, a lot of what we become has to do with how we were raised. My dad was a diplomat in the Buhari-Idiagbon administration. When the brutal IBB regime sacked them, he walked too. Unprepared for retirement, we drank garri and ate maggi-cube meat. But that empty belly and hardship taught me- loyalty, dignity and honesty. Three words you may never understand. I am tempted to ask- what did you learn from your dad, Mr. Who-I-Am? Did he happen to tell you that God is the Only ‘I Am’?
Depleted: You lack an ounce of dignity.
Worthless: You lack morals.
Hollow: You lack substance.
Shallow: You lack vision.
I am not saying this to console myself. I may not have but a few bills in my account, but trust me, I am heartily content. I am rich! A kind of richness you will never, ever enjoy. Every penny you have stolen weighs you down. This makes you need to steal more, and more. But all the money of the poor will leave you feeling only emptier. Every penny I have I earned decently—I did not steal. And my pockets are empty because I gave what I did not need to eat today in charity. Can you say the same?
I know who you are. You are the robber that stole my money. You are the murderer that led to the death of my friends and family; the termite that destroys our shelter; the rodent that steals our grain; the weevil in the beans. You are the cricket—the generators you condemn us to—that disturb our sleep at night and raise our blood pressure. You are the dead battery; the squeaky sound that tells me my door hinge needs grease. The gum underneath my shoe. You are what I take Panadol for.
You steal my money then use it to buy my loyalty, my votes. Not because I am stupid, no, but rather because I am hungry, that is why I took the money from you in the past. It was my money; I only wanted and needed it back. And I voted for you as agreed, again, not because I was stupid, no, but because I am a man of my word. I took back my money with a promise to vote you in, and a trust that though you are a villain, you said you will do those things, and I gave you my trust.
Now that I have explained myself, can you do the same? Pray, tell, how do you sleep at night? Are you not afraid of death? Or like the Pharaohs of Egypt, you plan to be buried with the loot to pay your way through the afterlife? Take a hint. The gold was found in their tombs with their rotting bodies, by men and not the custodians of the gates. It bought them nothing in easing their pain in hell.
I know who you are. Your method is to convert men into monsters. You surround yourself with them, and when your conscience is pricked by a worthy man, you figure out how to corrupt him, to make him like you. You bribe as much of the polity as you can, to justify your ephemeral conscience that all men are bad. No one is like you. Bribed, corrupted, diminished, we are still not you. You are alone. You are the rot, the bedbug, the leech that sucks the blood and spreads sickness. I have no respect for you. We have no respect for you.
Who are you? What do you see in the mirror when you dress-up; ready to go out again to cut up the property of the people you are servant to? How do you feel as a father who steals from the property of all the friends of his children? How do you feel as a mother, to whose credit, many mothers cry every night as their families go to bed hungry? ‘Nigeria: The worst nation to be born!’ Thanks.
Do you not see the development in America? In Brazil? In Malaysia? Even in the dictatorial Arab kingdoms like Qatar, Kuwait, UAE? And knowing that it is who you are that makes Nigeria stay so retarded? Do you know there are superb subways in Hugo Chavez’ Venezuela? Do you know there is constant running water and electricity in the patchy camps of Palestine? That after 2 years of war, Assad still provides electricity to Damascus? The wise prophet is reported to have said: The greatest Jihad is a word of truth to a tyrant leader. There, you got it.
You are the prion that has detoured and converted all of Nigeria’s brightest minds, even our Nobel laureate into full time activists and our great students into kidnappers, thugs and terrorists. You sleep feeling safe in your tall fences, and with your armed guards, knowing that the people who pay you to serve them are dying as you sleep, due to your uselessness, endangered by your mismanagement, exposed by your vandalism, aged by your treachery.
What can you do to me? Lock me in jail? I live in jail. You have made my country a prison. Kill me? I am dead already. Shame has killed me. I travel abroad and I am insulted. People ask me what’s wrong with my country. I tuck my head in shame. They think there is something wrong with the black race because of you, Mr. Legislooter. I know there are so many more Nigerians, honest, decent, intelligent, willing and able to make the flowers bloom, and re-establish this great nation into a world leader. A nation that not only takes care of its own, but fulfills its destiny, addressing problems of blacks and non blacks worldwide, as we did with Jamaica, with South Africa, once upon a time. A nation that proposes and determines solutions in Africa, in the Middle East, even in Europe. A nation to which African Americans will troop back and settle in; but not just, even Caucasians will apply to emigrate to. A nation that in a world of increasing crises, is not the bottom of the pot, but the beacon of hope. But the few of you who have held on to power since our independence, and the additional shameless morally insolvent new generation mentees, have made the nation invalid, wheel-chair bound. The shame has killed me. There is nothing you can do. Shout as loud as you can; – DO I KNOW WHO YOU ARE! I Do: You are a bloody, petty thief. Not worthy enough to polish my shoes. And one day, you will be buried.
Dr. Peregrino Brimah
ENDS.ng [Every Nigerian Do Something]
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @EveryNigerian