Metropole Magazine

Today's Weather: Abuja NG: Partly Cloudy, Day 360|Night 260

11 Nov Written by  Japheth Omojuwa

The Irresponsibility of The Nigeria Elite

For every answer the Nigerian society demands of its elite, they make sure to answer in the most unusual of ways and they make sure the problem gets compounded. Were our elite able to see, think and act differently, we would most certainly have a better country.

How many of Nigeria's privileged class think that the answer to a bad road is fixing same? Very few of them. While the obvious path to solving the problem of a bad road to one's house would be to mobilize the community and the government towards fixing the road, the average Nigerian elite fixes the problem of a bad road to his or her house by buying vehicle, say an SUV that'd withstand the road. Once that is done, the problem is deemed to have been taken care of. 

The wave of private jet ownership in our country comes off this same phenomenon. The increasing danger in flying the local airlines over the years needed a solution. That ordinarily should be about cleaning up the system and making sure certain safety procedures are in place to guard against more plane crashes. By making the aviation sector work for Nigerians, a lot more people would be affected. The irresponsible Nigerian elite again chose another kind of solution; they created their own aviation industry by acquiring private jets. That way, they believe they'd escape from the consequences of unsafe commercial planes. 

Buying landed properties outside of one's own country is a form of investment and should not be frowned against unless the source of such investments are traceable to the looting of public funds. For many members of the Nigerian elite though, buying houses abroad have little or nothing to do with investment. It is a form of escape from reality. How do you think the Nigerian elite deal with the challenge of armed robbery? The less richer ones raise the fences of their houses, double the size of their burglary proofs and just obsessively think of guarding and protecting the self and immediate family. The more financially endowed just relocate outrightly; buy a house in Dubai, London, New York, Accra and the likes. That way, the problem is solved. That is how an irresponsible elite class responds to a societal challenge. What happened to working together for a collective solution that ensures both the rich and the poor are protected from the menace? What happened to solutions that are far more sustainable and inclusive? Why should our response to situations like this always look as though we are saying, "others may die and suffer as long as I can create a buffer for myself"? 

At a point in Nigeria virtually everyone wanted to own a private school; it was lucrative to do so because the demand for enrollment in private schools just kept increasing. People had lost faith in the public schools and in the usual way, we dealt with the problem by looking at the easiest way out. What happened to looking for ways to make public schools better serve our children? This phenomenon progressed from elementary education to secondary education and has since progressed from even private universities to having Nigerians run to places like Kenya and Uganda for university education.

Should there not be a better way to fix all these problems without running away from them? I’ve got an idea. See you next Monday.