At long last - and at the prompting of friends - I have decided to start my own blog. One person did suggest I remain anonymous but I don't see the point. Nigeria's venal leaders (and I'm going to be blogging a lot about them) have never given a damn what people write. As a former governor once remarked, how many people can even read, much less access the net? This is true enough, especially in the north, where Islamic fundamentalists are busy wrecking havoc because those who were supposed to send them to school preferred to squander the billions the country has earned from crude oil on foreign property, private jets, and harems. As I write, one former governor is detained at Her Majesty's pleasure for money laundering, another is a vegetable after taking the controls of his latest toy, and a current senator (and former governor) took as his fourth wife a 13-year-old Egyptian he bought from her parents for $100,000. This last-mentioned explained that the Prophet himself married a minor and that, in any case, he followed the Koran and not the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria he has otherwise sworn to uphold. This explains why the Child Rights Act has been in abeyance since 2003.
That said, the real challenge will be to find fresh ways to write about this awkward, frustrating, maddening entity called Naija.That it could be so much more than it has allowed itself to become - that we have allowed it to become - is a cliche in itself. And I say 'we' because it has always seemed to me simplistic to put the blame on the leadership alone, as has been fashionable for many years now, ever since our most celebrated novelist said so in a pamphlet. But the leaders are themselves Nigerians, albeit of a more desperate disposition given what they had to do to get there - murder, drugs, racketeering: all the Mafia-type activities. Oppressing your fellows is merely a matter of circumstance. Even the gate man hired to protect us in our homes because the police aren't up to the job, being themselves steeped in the corruption that has failed to deliver electricity to my neighbourhood for the last five days, will show you that he is 'a somebody' before you even wondered whether this was indeed so. The intellectuals are worse, but more on them later.
My self-imposed brief is to post a weekly blog and see what the experience has been like this time next year. See you in cyberspace.
Copyright: Adewale Maja-Pearce