There Is A Boko Haram In Us


Nigeria, ideally is one of the best places to live in, it is not a Police State as it is so-called by developed nations. In Nigeria you can urinate anywhere especially if there is no warning sign such as “Do Not Urinate Here” and not get fined or arrested. And you avoid using a rest room because you think it’s time wasting, and yet will not show up for a function on time because like you, every other person believes the other person has not come.

Truth is that there is a social problem in almost all of us…put this way; there is a Boko Haram ‘in you, in me, in them, and in us, ’.

These days, scores of Nigerians are killed and all we hear is that, ‘the culprits would be tracked down, we are investigating’ and the killings continue.

I am writing this essay like I did years back, about my beloved nation because lately I have discovered that I have tried hard to write nice stuffs about my nation but each time I try the truth hits me and I end up: I criticize a lot and hardly give solutions…There are enough solutions to Nigeria’s multi-dimensional problems, enough to fill an American Congressional Library, well prepared by committees, panels, commissions and bodies of expert.Name the field or area and I will refer you to a paper, a report that should ordinarily have solved that problem long time ago. But the Boko Haram in us would not allow us to do so.

The Boko Haram is not only in us, but these days it is with us, part of us and are terrorizing us now more than ever. For the avoidance of doubt, what happened to the Vision 2010? Nothing except that we now have a vision 2020 which would go the same way.

There have been reports upon reports that if properly handled would have made Nigeria number one in most things if not everything, because if, despite all the ills of our society we are the happiest and religious in the world…I just wonder what we would have become in a functional democracy.

Understanding the Haram in us, the land of delinquents, both the ruled and the rulers, a very special breed of Harams, we have them from all social classes, the politicians, students, youths, and parents and the common thread is a high level of irresponsibility, recklessness and total disregard for the norms of society.

This is Nigeria, the rich, poor, and everybody cry and laugh almost at the same time; the difference is the swing of the pendulum.

In Borno, residents are fleeing, in Lagos, a government we hailed for planting flowers and painting everywhere has been shown by the forces of nature that there is more to do than all the praises. Our Haram nature has seen governors apologise to faceless persons, at least the SSS say they are and we should help them by being Haram conscious.

Being a Boko Haramite requires a tricky trait. Despite the Woles, Achebes, Anyaokwus, Maitamas, Balewas, Ziks, Awos, Sardaunas, and many too numerous to call, there is a distinction to being a Nigerian and having that Haram nature in you.

The Boko Haram among us makes a law, and proceeds immediately to look for a way to break the law. He explores loopholes and escape clauses, like the immunity clause used for stealing. Ordinary citizens would do it their own way, they will jump queues on no excuse, they will do a U-Turn on an expressway, stop in the middle of the road to say hello to a long lost friend without parking…correct them, and they will abuse your dog.

A unique people; while millions wallow in poverty, we argue over Islamic banking, while a large percentage are unaware of what it really means, others who want o show their Nigerianness threaten fire and brimstone. But because of the Boko Haram in us, we will see more Christians patronise the bank than Muslims. Boko Haram by definition abhors western education yet use bombs, a product of education. A typical Haramite buys a 10, 20, 30 loader CD and he lives in a one room in Ajegunle. We are a confused people, we thrive most when under pressure, we work 18 hours and sleep for one hour, have dreams for the remaining hours of heaven and wake up to the reality of our commotion-dominated existence and what we earn for the 18 is barely a bus-stop wage, that is why someone works in Ibadan and lives in Lagos, another in Port Harcourt and lives in Owerri or Aba.

How does a man that spends 4 hours in the traffic deliver optimal productivity? How do we justify our monetised society, one in which we are saddled with parastatals and statutory bodies that contribute nothing to the system?

How can one understand the Boko Haram nature in us and want to be one, when in power we love affluence and will do anything to stay put. In religious matters, we fake it; in business, our cheques will bounce.

In the civil service forget the noise of servicom, official files get missing and only reappear at the right price. A government Boko Haram official will ban the importation of lace fabrics, yet his wives, concubines and mistresses will die the day they cannot wear one, and pick their tooth with imported toothpicks. In Nigeria you need to understand how a Boko Haram complainant can suddenly become suspect and in the end witness yet still land in jail for a crime that was committed against him.

Only in Nigeria does inflation drop to single digits, GDP grows, yet pensioners are owed in the Nigeria Railways for 25 months while the railway is being resuscitated. Workers are begging for N600 a day wage, while politicians earn some thousands as hardship allowance for enjoying. This is called Boko Haram economics. The pain of this essay is that despite all the exhaustive Haram traits that we battle every day, Nigerians abound in their millions that want to be Nigerians for the right reasons. No Harams.

These Nigerians are not easily understood because they will not give bribes, all their actions are in line with tradition, society’s good norms and rationality. They largely are old now and most times reside in rural areas, although a few still stay in urban areas.

They are generally good and detribalised, they believe in the principles of live and let live. These Nigerians are neither the bottom power women nor the moneybag men. They strive daily to remain patriotic and committed to the Nigerian dream despite the reality that there may be no dream anymore. They are disciplined and are hardworking, they battle the stark reality that as patient dogs they may never have any bone left.

This set of Nigerians suffer the Boko Haram experiment because of the larger majority’s inability to curb greed, inability for us to be fair and rational towards other people’s perspectives, opinions, positions and interests.

The continuous inability to make sacrifices for the common good, an unwillingness to respect our institutions…, the creation of Ministries at will, the abuse of our health and educational institutions underscore the Boko Haram in us; it’s all about figuring it out… Almighty Allah You are a God of purpose…why did You create this nation?


•PRINCE CHARLES Dickson is editor,, Nigeria’s 1st online newspaper.

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