A frustrated candidate Trump once asked the black American community that just wouldn’t warm to his campaign and the prospect of his presidency, ‘’what the hell do you have to lose?’’.
After the spokesman of the Nigerian president informed Nigerians that a legion of rats overran the office of the president of Nigeria and chased Muhammadu Buhari into a hole, it seems that Nigerians have been presented an opportunity to experience government by another species. And frankly, we have nothing to lose by changing over to a rat regime.
A lot of outrage followed Garba Shehu’s announcement that the official station of the leader of the most populous nation in Africa has become the playground of rodents. But it would be more prudent to transcend anger and look on the bright side. We have a coup de grace and a collection of humble rodents ready to tackle the mess that is Nigeria.
Let’s try the presidency of rodents. The rats may do a better job of governing the country than all the Nigerian humans that have risen to that position.
We have lived through the eras of all shades of civilians: the sophisticated, the crude, the minimally insane. We have had juntas of all manner of soldiers: the coup broadcast orators, the prostitute-loving megalomaniacs, the vandals of the national treasury.
We have also endured the failure of leaders with the most touching life stories: a former prisoner loosed from the noose and handed the reins of power, a fisherman’s son who went to school without shoes, and a lanky ex-dictator who wept like a jilted lover after the voters had spurned him the third time.
We have tried the worst of the best Nigerians and the best of the worst Nigerians. At every election, every coup, every occasion of transfer of power, we hatch optimism from our collective despair and fantasize that we have finally come to the turning point. All we gain by those serial investments of hope is the renewal of our heartbreak.
Human leadership has consistently failed Nigeria. Nigerians seem hardwired to mismanage their own country. More so, they appear to live with a sense of destiny that obligates them to ensure that Nigeria continues to function as an example of jinxed leadership.
57 years of disastrous human administrations qualifies Nigeria to attempt a switch to animal leadership. Our speciesism, after all, has not produced any evidence that the Nigerian nation is being managed more efficiently than any rat village. So, we might as well submit to the rats.
The rodents that invaded the office of the Nigerian president were apparently on a humanitarian mission. They have pitifully watched a blessed country and its enterprising citizenry go through cycles of broken leadership and wasted opportunities. The characteristically unambitious animals took the unprecedented step of intervening in the governmental affairs of a human settlement because they felt they could deliver a more responsible political leadership to the Nigerian people!
We should give them a try. There is more order and prosperity in their realm than in ours. They are more successful in organizing their society than us. They may turn out to be the saviors we desperately need.
The rats’ historic attempt to establish colonial dominion over a human settlement may prove to be all that Nigerian humans need to learn the art of leadership. We really have nothing to lose by submitting to their authority. There could be something about their leadership paradigm that we would find easier to assimilate!
That rats have taken charge of the presidency was supposed to be a piece of fake news from Ayo Fayose. But it was true. President Buhari’s own spokesman said that rats invaded the most dignified, sensitive office and important office in the land and staked a claim to the space.
The rats’ takeover of the office of the Nigerian president is the most convincing proof yet that Nigeria is not working. It is a sign that even the animal world is cognizant that the only thing that is working in Nigeria is the state’s own perpetual dysfunction.
President Buhari fled the Nigerian healthcare system and became a medical exile in the United Kingdom because the State House clinic was a glorified joke. He spent 104 days in London because he couldn’t bet on the kind of death-fastforwarding non-hospitals poor Nigerians have to depend on. And while he was there, he glamourized the medical tourism he promised to end, inviting batches of politicians for photo-ops at taxpayers’ expense.
Buhari’s return from London would further reveal that Nigeria was even sicker than the man who runs it. He couldn’t resume at his regular workplace because the office he left behind received no care. No attention whatsoever was paid to its interior security and neatness throughout his absence. The place was ‘leased’ to any rodent that could enter into it.
And the rodents found their way into the office and had a field day. This is in spite of the 2 million naira voted for the fumigation of the State House in the 2017 budget!
There is no doubt that our capacity to sustain the pretense that we are a country has atrophied. We can no longer do what the most chaotic banana republics in the world do. We cannot keep the office of the head of our government vermin-free.
The scandal of the rats’ revolution highlights the profound hopelessness of Nigeria. We fail in rocket science and in refining our crude. We fail in electricity and in education. We fail in defeating terrorists and in keeping rodents out of the office of our commander in chief!
The rodents didn’t come to occupy space. They came to fill a conspicuous leadership vacuum. They came to model a quality of leadership that Nigeria cannot prosper without.
For too long, we have endured a relay of failed governments to our increasing misery. It’s time to try the rule of rodents. A government of humans by rats for humans.
A ratocracy can’t bring us more suffering and shame than we are already used to.
Nigeria, ‘’What do you have to lose?’’
Emmanuel Uchenna Ugwu
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