There’s a phenomenon I noticed, particularly in my writing life, from a young age; if I talk about what I’m going to write, I never actually get round to writing it. There’s probably a psychological term for it, but that’s outside my areas of expertise.

I suspect it happens to many people in different areas of life too. What I can see for sure is that it clearly happens to the Nigerian government as well, particularly the Nigeria Police Force. In fact, they seem to have turned it into a science.

Party after Party

Select any Nigerian security agency of your choice, do an online search of their news, and what you will be plagued with is parades of “suspects”. I could probably end this piece with just a couple definitions of the word parade:

An organized public procession on a festive or ceremonial occasion.

Or this one by the Cambridge English dictionary:

to show something in an obvious way in order to be admired

Or even:

An ostentatious show; an exhibition.

What happens, then, is that the security agency in question (let’s go with the police for now) has given itself a psychological reward for a job well done when, in reality, the job is far from done. For me, this is one of the primary reasons prosecutions and convictions tend not to happen, or even be a priority for the police, because they have already rewarded themselves.

This psychological phenomenon can also be seen in the approaches taken by both federal and state governments. Take for instance the series of curfews declared all across the federation country. The curfews will go on for a few days until both the innocent and the guilty are starved into submission. Because, as a friend pointed out a couple years ago, most people have only 2-3 days’ worth of food at home and the authorities know this, so they impose a total curfew for 3-6 days, at the end of which everyone is too weak and hungry to put up a fight anymore. They then lift the curfew, pat themselves on the back, and wait for the next round of violence or whatever to erupt. It’s not law enforcement (to be fair, they don’t even attempt to paint it as such), it’s just pouring a cup of cold water into a boiling pot and covering it back up. But, hey, they can congratulate themselves for “restoring normalcy”.

Say What You Like

As I alluded to in a previous article, one of the major reasons that the #EndSARS protesters remained on the street even after the federal government announced the disbanding of SARS, and later acceptance of the 5-point demands, is because the government has squandered what little credibility it had in the eyes of the people. It’s a natural consequence of their exhibited pattern of behaviour and attempts by the government and their praise-singers to make excuses or try to shift blame is, frankly, ridiculous.

Like most other institutional problems in our dear Nigeria, the problem lies in the utter refusal of anyone, at any level, to demand accountability of themselves or their subordinates. Whether the person in charge was elected, promoted or appointed matters not, they almost always prefer to reward the appearance of success rather than the substance of it. It’s why the “COVID-19 palliatives” currently being reclaimed by the citizens in many states remained in warehouses in the first place. As the Secretary of the Osun Food and Relief Committee, Mr Bayo Jimoh, said “the items can only be distributed after a formal flag-off by the CACOVID Office, Abuja.”