Yesterday, I talked about The Nigerian Psyche and asserted that psychologically, Nigerians as a group, do not truly believe that they "are capable of grand success either as individuals or as a nation." From reading the responses to that post, it is clear that we understand the importance of a national psyche. Furthermore, we also understand why a positive and enabling national mindset is crucial for the success of any nation. Some commenters confessed what many Nigerians feel - a hesitance to be unconditionally proud of our fatherland. Some noted that there is little concept of a collective national goal but more a collection of individual objectives. These and many more perspectives on the issue, have helped to further the discussiona nd will hopefully allow us to create a workable solution to the problem I present below.
Today, I would like to posit that the problem with Nigeria and Nigerians is one I like to call Persistent Psychological Paralysis. It is not an official condition, so looking it up will not be helpful. It is simply a term I chose to apply to a mental attitude that I feel most Nigerians, myself included, tend to have when it comes to Nigeria.
Persistent Psychological Paralysis (PPP) is a condition that Nigerians know fully well. In my opinion, PPP represents the current national psyche and its sufferers are so beaten down that they are unable to realize that
- Their situation must change, and/or
- They can change their situation.
PPP FURTHER EXPLAINED
Every Nigerian is aware of PPP and instinctively understands what it is even if they are unable to properly define it. It is encased in the very nature of Nigerian behavior - the 'siddon look' attitude many Nigerians (this writer included) overwhelmingly have at various times. This attitude is in many ways a coping mechanism that Nigerians have been forced to adopt in order to deal with the pains of Nigerian citizenship.
Consequently, PPP stems from Nigeria's history as a nation and specifically, the modern history post independence in 1960. Time and time again, the hopes and dreams of Nigerians were dashed by a confluence of intersecting factors including inept leaders, corrupt officials, and apathetic citizens. As a result, Nigerians and the nation have failed to rise to the original expectation of greatnesss anticipated by its citizens and the world. All are well aware of Nigeria's failures - the lack of adequate health care is obvious for the world to see when the political elite fly abroad for health services. Dangerously substandard roads and other infrastructure result in the constant loss of lives and productivity on a wide scale. And, the nation now has an unfair reputation as a country of slick scam artists that we have failed to squash.
I can't help but think of Battered Person's Syndrome as a similar condition. Consider this reference to Battered Person's Syndrome,
"...any person who, because of constant and severe ... violence ..., becomes depressed and unable to take any independent action that would allow him or her to escape the abuse. The condition explains why abused people often do not seek assistance from others, fight their abuser, or leave the abusive situation. Sufferers have low self-esteem, and often believe that the abuse is their fault. Such persons usually refuse to press criminal charges against their abuser, and refuse all offers of help, often becoming aggressive or abusive to others who attempt to offer assistance. Often sufferers will even seek out their very abuser for comfort shortly after an incident of abuse."Sound familiar?
I personally believe that if not dealt with, PPP will prevent Nigeria from ever becoming a success story. It will dissolve any possibly measurable gains and choke our future before it even gets a chance.
What are your thoughts on PPP? Do you think it is indeed an issue to be concerned with or not? Would you have an alternative explanation for the attitude I termed PPP and, if so, what would it be? On Thursday, I will address in some detail why I think it is important for every Nigerian to be concerned about this 'condition'. I hope you will return to read and share your insight as it is a crucial aspect of solving what I fear is Nigeria's downward psychological spiral.
- The Nigerian Psyche
- Being Duped By A Family Member
- Are The Poor To Blame For Their Poverty