The Idiot Class of Nigeria

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The Idiot Class of Nigeria
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Ndidi Uwechue

Ndidi Uwechue is a retired Metropolitan (London) Police Officer and a Pro-Social Advocate. Her personal mission is to use every means available "To produce a safer and more caring Nigeria". She writes from Abuja.
Ndidi Uwechue
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10th October 2019

We can look around us at the type of society that different nations have created for themselves and come up with a general evaluation of the thinking of either the majority of the citizens there, or at least of the “critical mass”, those whose thinking style has captured the nation. For example in a nation where government is sincerely concerned about citizen welfare and poverty reduction, where the weak are considered and catered for, where development is visible, and where things work pretty much as they should – you can call that an intelligent society.  These are nations whose citizens value their citizenship, who take active interest in maintaining their way of life, and whose national passport is held in global esteem.

Then you have those other countries where the weak (the poor, the disabled, the uneducated) are pretty much discounted and next to nothing is provided for them: Not electricity, not proper hospitals, not proper schools, not proper waste management, not toilet facilities, not potable water, not housing. Nothing to make life just a little agreeable. Citizens here are frustrated and angered by what their country represents, they are embarrassed by their national passport, their deep desire being to flee to a very different kind of place.  If you have ever been to such a country, you see the wretchedness of citizens’ lives, and you wonder what those in authority, i.e., the civil servants and politicians, are thinking. And you just wonder why these leaders have created, and maintain such an unjust and decaying society. Searching for an accurate assessment, you come to realise that the IDIOT CLASS have captured such a country.

When the Idiot Class have seized a country, it means that the feeble-minded impose their own standards upon the people, they determine the norms, they determine which kind of behaviour is rewarded, and which kind is punished. When the Idiot Class have snatched a country, they decide what the country will look like, and what will grow or what will die.

In a functioning country, civil servants and politicians see their purpose as being “to bring about the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people” (Jeremy Bentham, 1748 – 1832). This creates an environment where citizens are community-minded, knowing that they have a responsibility to come together to work for the good of the country.  While when the Idiot Class are in leadership, civil servants and politicians see their purpose to be to use their positions to grab ill-gotten and  undeserved gain for self, and the country be damned! This greedy focus on self spreads through society to create a deep selfishness, thus an individual-mindedness in citizens such that “community” does not mean much, and everything is seen through the narrow question of, “What’s in it for me?”

Basically, where the Idiot Class have captured a country moulding the national orientation upon self, there tends to be multi-dimensional corruption with its attendant underdevelopment. While intelligent nations are busy trying to solve their problems and even prosper, conversely, where the Idiot Class hold sway there is nothing like that, but rather deepening of poverty, decay, and the death of individual and national potentials.

It is well-established that names and labels can convey a message even before getting to the actual substance of a matter. For instance, the Chinese call the 109 years when they were under the control of European powers their “Century of Humiliation“, a title that in itself indicates a sorry period in their history. Such frankness in naming something they find distasteful, tells the coming generations that being colonised by others is something to be vigorously resisted. In a similar way the title “Idiot Class” tells us that it is shameful to be found among this group. “Idiot Class” may sound rude, maybe even offensive, and it certainly does not sound politically correct. But it is the correct label and description for those who think that it is their right to be corrupt even though their actions harm the entire community and country! Essentially, the Idiot Class is a member of that group of individuals who think that doing things the wrong way, and being corrupt is clever.

It is unfortunate that in the country of Nigeria, the Idiot Class is setting the pace and determining the culture. This has created a dysfunctional and delinquent environment where too many people are pleased with themselves and feel quite clever when they successfully outsmart a fellow human being, or swindle their country, all for some form of personal gain.  A few examples of those in the Idiot Class are:

  • A pupil or student who cheats in coursework, tests, and exams.
  • A trader who sells fake or dangerously substandard goods.
  • A person who uses his/her position to steal public funds. This is usually a civil servant or a politician, and the business person who helps launder the stolen money.
  • A person who is not at work when he/she is supposed to be yet wants to be paid a full salary, and later get a pension too.
  • A person who is influenced by or influences others with bribes.

There is no perfect country, but in Nigeria we can do so much better for ourselves and our community. Despite the country having a lousy reputation, we are not all in the Idiot Class, there are Nigerians who are not excited by doing things the wrong way like the Idiot Class are, but who prefer to do things the right and proper way, and who show restraint. They want to live in a Nigeria where society values and promotes human virtues. Where decency is common, where there is community-mindedness, consideration for others, and discipline.

Is it not time we got disgusted and outraged enough with the Idiot Class that is holding back Nigeria’s progress , and counter their flawed and debased orientation with an honest and intelligent approach to being and doing? I therefore urge sincere Nigerians and friends of Nigeria to get involved in ridding the country of the activities and influence of the Idiot Class. This is achievable by being sincere and doing what you say you will do, by not making excuses for failure but taking responsibility, by not cheating others or in exams, by not stealing, by not partaking in dubious office schemes, by challenging wrongdoing and indiscipline, by being a whistle blower, plus by taking active part in social action and citizen participation to improve your community. It also helps to embrace what society often sneers at as  “big grammar” and read a lot, for reading expands the mind and heart, and opens up the doorway to knowledge and ideas, needed to create a better society.

For some time now the Idiot Class have captured Nigeria and are driving the culture. But a critical mass of serious and determined Nigerians, who are part of the much needed Intellectual Revolution, can set the whole nation aright and remove the influence of the Idiot Class because as Bob Marley sang, “So if you are the big tree, we are the small axe. Ready to cut you down, to cut you down.”

 

 

 

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