If a leopard cannot change its spots or a tiger its stripes, why is it expected that human beings can change character traits? I have avoided most political debates about the forthcoming Nigerian elections, because there doesn’t seem to be anything to be gained from reasoning with many stakeholders in the process. The issues at the heart of the malaise in that scenario haven’t really shifted very much within my lifetime. I choose to take to heart the wise words that Doris Day sang so unforgettably in the chorus of the song Que sera, sera.
As a member of the board of trustees of a theatre company that presented many memorable Nigerian derived British productions, I attended a high profile meet and greet event once that attracted several people of other nationalities who have a special interest in Africa’s most populous nation. Out of all the conversations I had with attendees, there was one in particular that affected my mood profoundly.
A woman I spoke to asked rhetorically about the cultural products of other African nations, in comparison to Nigeria’s output. I had to agree with her that Nigeria produces more intrinsically African art on a large scale than anywhere else on the continent. She couldn’t understand how a nation with so many creative minds should find it difficult to make progressive strides in political and infrastructural terms.
Is it possible that the answer lies in the types of people who are attracted to politics and administration in that country? What is it about the status quo that repels those who dare to think outside of the box?
A simplistic response is the idea that the stalemate has been deliberately set up by external manipulators, to keep the nation grounded. If this is the case, what is being done to rectify the situation?