According to a meme circulating around social media last week, humanity is categorised into three groups. Dr. Kefocher Kevichusa, who wrote the original article, credits the Greeks with dividing humanity into three categories – idiots, tribesmen and citizens.
The idiots of the Greek era are those people who do not care; tribesmen only see the world through the prism of their tribe while the last category – citizens, want to ensure that things are done to satisfy the Jeremy Bentham theory – for the greatest happiness of the greatest number.
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The piece could have been written about present-day Nigeria. It was very illuminating to know that the idiots were not necessarily retarded in thinking; they just didn’t bother themselves enough with law or the logic of how things are run. The tribesmen on the other hand would only react when they feel that the interest of their tribe is threatened. It would appear that they would lose life or limb to defend perceived tribal interest. Citizens always lookout for what’s in the best interest of society.
Five years ago, or shortly after he was sworn-in as president, it was imperative for Muhammadu Buhari to go to London to cure whatever ailed him. All humans are frail and would pursue healing wherever it could be found. If they could afford it, many would travel the seven seas to get healed. As an ordinary citizen, Buhari could either less afford it, or pretended not to. As president, he has consistently used and abused the privilege.
In the fifth year of his presidency, almost the second year of his second term; it becomes untenable and even grossly immoral not to be able to treat common ailments at home. It is here that it becomes imperative for the citizen to ask questions. We have witnessed his wife shout herself hoarse about the sorry state of State House clinic delineated to cater for the first family and those close to them. Sorry as that is, knowing that the British PM was treated in a cottage hospital, we moved from there to seeing Buhari’s wife take off to Dubai on our money for treatment. We remember how the first son was flown to Germany for care. What sort of first family are these ones?
The citizen asks the question: why his president cannot build or equip a hospital at home to treat himself. The citizen asks this question remembering how his dime was spent evacuating Stella Obasanjo’s corpse back from treatment in Spain. The citizen remembers how Umaru Musa Yar’adua’s long convalescence led to the adoption of the doctrine of necessity to wrestle power from the cabal abusing it in trust for a vegetative president.
The citizen remembers with shame, how Patience Goodluck Jonathan gleefully declared how she died and resurrected eight times on a German gurney. The citizen is pained to see the shameless elaborate state-sponsored thanksgiving party thrown to welcome her back. The citizen asks – how many illnesses or deaths would it till a ruler knows he needs to overhaul Nigeria’s health sector?
Most disgraceful for the citizen is what has characterized the health sector under Buhari. The citizen’s shame increases seeing diminutive Chris Ngige, a trained physician threatening to invoke sack or no-work-no-pay rule against his colleagues for asking for improvement in the health sector.
The citizen recalls how Buhari’s former health minister encouraged his younger colleagues to abandon hope of getting jobs in their fields and to drop the stethoscope for scissors. The citizen is saddened that he is daily burying young and old, women in childbirth while these clowns play to the gallery.
It is said that the Greeks extend the definition of tribesmen to include region and religion. The tribesman asks first whether an issue or idea threatens his tribe, his region and his religion over whether it is right or wrong. The Greeks warned about the dangers of electing an unreformed tribesman into powerful positions. They warned that an unreformed tribesman looks at everything from the prism of his tribal relevance. The tribesman trusts only his ilk.
Juxtaposing the Greek definition with Malcolm X’s definition of a house Negro, we see Nigeria under Buhari in 4D. Hear Malcolm “The house Negro usually lived close to his master. He dressed like his master. He wore his master’s second-hand clothes. He ate food that his master left on the table. And he lived in the master’s house – probably in the basement or the attic – but he still lived in the master’s house.”
Malcolm continues – “When the master would be sick, the house Negro identified himself much with his master he’d say, “What’s the matter boss, we sick?” His master’s pain was his pain. And it hurt him more for his master to be sick than for him to be sick himself. When the house started burning down, that type of Negro would fight harder to put the master’s house out than the master himself would.”
Watching Ngige threatened his colleagues brings to mind the house Negro. Watching those who bury their own for preventable diseases pick enemies of those who demand answers reminds one that there are more tribesmen in and out of government than the Greek envisaged to be good for society.
Thanks to Nigerian citizens in England, who visit Buhari’s hideout and heckle him to stupor but for his ailing ear. In Nigeria, tribesmen in and out of uniform would have mauled them but in London, freedom of expression and association covers them.
Tribesmen want these protesters extradited home to jails where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. For tribesmen, Buhari could live abroad treating an earache while they die of malaria. They’ll ask for their oppressors to live long so that their children too could serve him where they stopped. Shamefully, the children are toeing the line.
Tribesmen would be burying their own as – ikon Allah ne! But God in his heavens would be shuddering and – don’t pin your idiocy on me, hold your tribal leaders to account.