I am yet to see a people more averse to taking responsibility than Nigerians. It is like the ‘anti-responsibility’ gene gets encoded in our DNA by default.
It hardly matters whether we are Hausa, Ibo, Tiv, Itshekiri, Yoruba, Ijaw or what religion (if any) we profess; one common denominator to our Nigerianess is that we do not take responsibility both for our actions as well as our inactions.
When caught with our hands in the proverbial cookie jar, we slap the blame on the ubiquitous villain – the devil. ‘The devil made me do it’ is the refrain to every song sung by the perpetrator.
When blaming the devil is so implausible that we would end up looking like fools, we shift the blame to the human next to us.
‘She would not stop nagging, so I beat her up.’
‘My house girl is a witch, so I branded her with a red-hot iron.’
‘My mother-in-law flies at noon-day, so I poisoned her.’
‘He stole a bowl of garri, so we lynched him.’
How easy it is for us to absolve ourselves of all blame so we end up smelling better than roses and let someone else take the fall!
Oh, you say you don’t abuse your wife or house girl. But you see your neighbour do same and applaud him. After all, women should be kept in their place.
You see someone being lynched and you decide to record it on video, upload it, and even in your warped mind believe you are doing the work of an evangelist by uploading it. After all, it will serve as a deterrent to others, or so you justify.
Whichever side of the fence you may be perched on: whether as an actor or as the passive/indifferent spectator, know that you are responsible for that particular corner you occupy. Choosing not to participate but just to watch evil makes you as complicit as the perpetrator.
Stop justifying any form of evil.
Stop blaming the devil or the government.
It all starts with you.