THE NIGERIAN PROBLEM: The Role of Followers


Where corruption, insecurity, terrorism and the likes thrive, the fact that Nigeria suffers poor leadership cannot be overemphasized. Over time, individuals, groups, articles as well as movies have shown that Nigeria’s backwardness on the journey to development is majorly as a result of the reckless and selfish attitude the leaders. It has therefore been established that poor leadership is a cog in the country’s wheels of progress.

It is very easy to hold leaders accountable, once they fail to do the right thing. One, because they should be accountable to the society. Two because they are at the helm of affairs and it is very easy to point their faults. Thus, the progressiveness or otherwise of a society is easily attributed to the leaders.

We have established that out leaders need to do better. Yes. How about the followers? Do they or do they not have a role to play in the progress or otherwise of a society? The purpose of this article is to therefore examine the role of the followers, who are also the citizens in the progress, as well as the underdevelopment of the nation.

The fact the followers, otherwise called the citizens also contribute greatly to the problems facing Nigeria is very much underrated. Unlike the leaders, these followers are not into the gross acts of corruption and nepotism perpetuated by these leaders. These people I want to speak of are the potential Napoleons. The ones in the schools, the churches and mosques, the banks and marketplaces. I shall speak of them according to the category of followership they fall into.

First are the ones who FOLLOW. The kinds only follow and nothing more. They are neither angry nor happy with the government. They are as humble as a lamb led to the slaughter. They neither contribute anything to the development of the society nor add any. They are fine, as long as they can feed once a day. Now the bad thing about this group of followers is that they can never demand a change. Therefore, the government does as it pleases. They do not really care. This possibly explains why Nigeria keeps recycling old men.

Then, there is the MYOPIC FOLLOWERS. You see, these ones cannot see beyond their nostrils. All they do is ‘enjoy’ what they are given now, at the expense of later. These ones are the group that sell their votes for crisp naira notes, like Esau sold his birthright. The problem these ones cause do not really affect them but affects future generations and they are good tools for the leaders to carry out their selfish interests.

The group that dominates the vicious cycle is next. Maybe I should call them “VICIOUS CYCLERS”. Now, virtually everyone falls into this group. Those little things we do contribute to the Nigerian problem keeps us in this group. Take the case of an employer who demands money from a graduate before offering him an employment. When the graduate finally gets employed, he in turn steals his money back from the employer. Now, that’s a form of corruption. Consider this also: You stopped by at the bank and getting there, you see your very good friend at the counter attending to customers. You quickly make your way to the front, exchange pleasantries, complete your transactions and you step out of the bank. You haven’t stolen anybody’s money, have you? No but that also is a form of corruption. It will neither end there, nor stop with you, so the vicious cycle continues.

Then, we have the ASS KISSERS. These ones will do anything for money. Anything. Money and power have proven to be great tools used to manipulate man. It is rather unfortunate that man has allowed himself to become a slave to these things at the expense of his being human. This is the case with the ‘Ass kissers’. They take money from the oppressor and blindly argue that he is the best thing that has happened to them. These ones are the ones tht bend their back to be rubbed by the politicians.

Finally, the POTENTIAL NAPOLEONS. If you ever read George Orwell’s Animal Farm you would instantly recognize these ones. These ones only want to swap positions with the oppressor, nothing more. As some have opined, only one out of ten Nigerians will dare to be different from their oppressors. Many do not want to be oppressed, they want to change places with the oppressor. This perhaps explains why people we trust to represent us well get to top positions and do worse things.
Without doubt, followers play a huge role in the success or otherwise of a nation. As it stands, many would like to refer to Nigeria as a failed State, it should be noted that the leaders did not solely make the country this way. It is a collective effort of leaders and followers.

When we realize we also contribute to the problem, we see ourselves as the solution, rather than blaming part of the equation. Of course, leaders must be held accountable, likewise, followers must also be held accountable.

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