The Nigerian society is known for is its many contradictions. One of the most worrisome trends today is the dearth of independent thought and initiative. It seems the only way to get ahead in our country today is to lick ass! In typical Nigerian style, it is called ‘being loyal’. Leaders at all levels are surrounded by charlatans and sycophants. This is easily seen in paid advertorials on television and newspaper, extolling the non-existent virtues and qualities of supposed leaders. Men and indeed women who are dispassionate, objective and honest in their assessments are thrown to the dung heap.

The public service which is supposed to implement government programs and policies is so riddled with incompetence and corruption, they are no longer able to advise the government adequately and truthfully. And this despite billions budgeted yearly for training and capacity building. All because we have enthroned a system that not only denies merit and ability, but also promotes mediocrity and shallowness.

It is further instructive that getting a job or contract under the prevailing system depends more on who you know than on what you know or your ability to perform. We have come to place square pegs in round holes and our society is littered with shoddily done jobs and projects.

This trend is fast becoming a way of life in the country, just like corruption. Even the Nigerian educational system, especially tertiary education, is not immune from it. Student activism, which used to be the bedrock of developing intellectual capacity, has been killed and students are today like sheep being led to slaughter. A system that produced highly cerebral and positive minds like Ogaga Ifowodo, Mike Igini and George Iwelade (Africa of blessed memory),has become a pale shadow of its former glory. Graduates are produced nowadays with no capacity for independent thought and opinion. Many cannot articulate a coherent opinion on salient issues and are driven only by the greed to make money.

We must begin to reverse this trend. The nation cannot develop if we continue along this trajectory. Any society that does not promote and develop innovative and enterprising individuals, persons with a mind of their own, capable of productive thinking and not scared of saying the truth, will sooner or later, WITHER AND DIE!

Piece written by Oke Okpomo  Follow him on twitter@kpomskerio

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