I CAN ONLY SEE A FEW 'MUMUS'.
Well I came across this debate between Lagbaja and Okey Ndibe (see link above) bordering on Lagbaja's 200 million mumu song. It turns out that both men are in agreement that Nigerians are indeed mumus, sighting our collective failures as a nation.
Who is a Mumu? By my own definition, a mumu is a ‘bloody fool’, end of story.
Lagbaja's response was an epistle while Okey's initial article was 'just there’, same old social crusading story.
I first heard Lagbaja's 200 million mumu song many months ago and I found it very disappointing. I dislike Nigerian celebrity hypocracy; where someone decides to use his/her star power to castigate Nigerian society while somewhat overlooking their own core individual faults.
Fela was a great music legend no doubt; he criticized government immorality and everything that was wrong with Nigeria. But at the end of the day Fela himself lived a lewd life, used drugs, kept multiple sex partners and died of AIDS. Fela in many of his songs attacked personalities like Obasanjo, Buhari and Yaradua; but if asked to choose, which of these personalities would you rather leave your children with? Fela?
The other day my sister Stella Damascus made a soul inspiring video speech against Nigerian senators and the child marriage controversy. Stella’s views were on point but on the other hand, here's a lady that is ‘allegedly’ a bona fide husband snatcher...go ask Doris Simeon.
I am of the view that Nigerians are too hard on themselves, we overlook our very good traits and dwell too much on the negatives. Few years ago (even till this day) I was bombarded with by the giant strides made by our neighbour Ghana. Nigerian journalists (like Okey Ndibe) were probably the ones singing “Ghana this, Ghana that” ...So tey, I vex packed my load and went for a Ghana vacation, starting with Accra. Lo and behold Accra, the capital city and pride of Ghana, in my own opinion is just a cleaner and more functional version of Ikeja district in Lagos state.
Accra is not even on the same level with Lagos marina, Victoria Island and I'm not even mentioning Abuja. In Accra I saw Nigerian banks everywhere, the only modern cinema in the entire country is owned by a Nigerian. Yet, in many discussions about developmental strides you hear Nigerian commentators singing Ghana’s praises and castigating their own nation. I tire for my people o.
We Nigerians are too quick to belittle ourselves even in the presence of foreigners and when they disrespect us, we start complaining. The United Kingdom government has recently informed us that from November Nigerian travellers will deposit a £3,000 bond before being granted a UK visa. How many Nigerian social crusaders have suggested to our government that perhaps it’s time Nigeria exits the Commonwealth group?
Back to Lagbaja, since the ‘200 million mumu song’ has re-emerged in my consciousness thanks to Linda Ikeji’s blog, I'd like to state here categorically that Nigerians are NOT in anyway mumus. Yes, we ‘dey dull’ in certain areas and we also have a very sick political leadership in both ruling and opposition camps but which nation doesn’t?
As a political scientist (and I have my 2.2 degree to show for it), I dare say that in every modern human society including the advanced western world, the concept of 'government' has always been used to hoodwink the populace.
For example in the almighty USA, an American president once accused another sovereign middle-eastern President of possessing weapons of mass destruction. Based on that assumption, America went to war, lost thousands of American soldiers, countless civilians and yet no weapon of mass destruction was ever found. Are Americans 350 million mumus too? Are American soldiers currently in Afghanistan also mumus? Your opinion is as good as mine.
I once watched an international news documentary on the Congo DRC war where countless bands of rebels and militants have taken over resource rich zones mostly in the Eastern Congo region. When asked why he was fighting, a Congolese rebel leader responded by saying, "The corrupt government in Kinshasa has taken us for fools for too long; we are fighting to free our country."
How do the likes of Lagbaja and Okey-Ndibe propose that Nigerians rid themselves of their so-called mumuism? Take up arms and march to Abuja? Kill all our civilian leaders? Adopt the Egyptian style and beg for military rule? Or perhaps there's no hope,let all Nigerians join Boko Haram and lets blow ourselves up.
Seriously, what are our options?
As far as I’m concerned most Nigerians have already chosen the best option. The option of constantly striving to be the best at what we do individually while looking forward to democratic elections as a platform for leadership change.
I’d like Lagbaja and Okey Ndibe to note that members of this 200 million mumu Nigerians are the small, medium and large scale business men and women pushing this country forward in their own big and little ways. From these 200 million mumus, we also have inspirational youths that are constantly developing progressive ideas and life changing web applications. We have our ‘mumu’ entertainers,professionals, sports men and women doing Nigeria proud in their respective fields.
Above all, we have this one ultimate mumu, a Nigerian CEO of a Nigerian telecommunications firm that agreed to pay this same Lagbaja millions of Naira to become a brand ambassador. The mumu masquerade collected the money too.
As far as I’m concerned the only difference between Nigeria and other advanced nations is that while most western nations have used excellent infrastructures to distract their citizens from observing government corruption, our Nigerian leaders have not done same and as such ‘we don see them finish’.