By Rev. Fr. John Segun Odeyemi Ph.D

To be delusional is one of the worst kind of mental disorder anyone could suffer; where the individual holds as true idiosyncratic beliefs that contradict reality and rationality.

Worse still is when an entire people become delusional. A careful and unbiased analysis of our country, Nigeria’s political odyssey will show that it has been fraught with so much inconsistencies and lack of alignment with the true ideal of democracy.

It shows only that it will be right to axiomatically conclude that we have only idealized democracy and delusionally assumed that as a nation, we practice democracy.

I will provide just a few short ontological reasons to back up my argument. It will give ground to my fundamental assumption that the entire nation is in turmoil and travail because we have dwelt in a culture of self-delusion for far too long.

As a nation, our elections are still mostly not free nor fair. The electoral process is fraught with too many inconsistencies and fraud that it will not be farfetched to submit that officials are not elected but preselected by a corrupt system and the same group of ‘professional’ poli-tricksians who are hell bent on holding on to power at all costs.

When this is not possible, they reinvent themselves in other roles higher up on the food chain. At some other times, replace themselves in office with their lackeys and thugs.

As a nation, we cannot lay claim truly that we have had a federal constitution that is all embracing for her citizens. Our supposed constitution is not only sectional; it is rigged by a part of the nation to serve their own purposes.

If Nigeria were a true democracy then the nation contradicts itself by being a member of the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC). There is no democratic system known in human history that is at once a democracy and a theocracy at the same time!

Successive governments and the entire nation continue to tolerate this abnormality as the norm. Perhaps then, you can begin to see how delusional an entire nation can be?

Whatever else is called the rule of law in the Nigerian psyche and presumed understanding of democracy is a farce; the judiciary has become a puppet in the hands of the politicians. The nation’s security apparatuses are the most offenders when it comes to abuse of office and power.

Some ‘evil’ genius in the nation’s profligate history came up with the ideas of ‘quota system’ or ‘federal character’, which is incompatible with the idea of democracy.

The quota system has forced the nation to put incompetent persons into offices, committees and even sporting teams because everyone must be represented at the sacrifice of competency.

Only delusional people will expect a successful government when incompetent and visionless people lead the nation. Nigeria’s brand of democracy celebrates mediocrity as long as the individual is a ‘son of the soil’, a member of my ethnic group or shares my religious beliefs.

While other nation’s go to great lengths to seek out intelligent and patriotic technocrats, Nigeria is happy to occupy legislative chairs with persons who can hardly spell ‘democracy.’ If we are not delusional, why can we not see that this arrangement is not working?!

There is no perfect government or political system. However, when political systems focus on their goals; be it nation building or people building, those nations tend to thrive.

The idea of democracy from its Greco-Roman antecedents is built around “a government of the people, by the people and for the people.” Unfortunately, there is no sane Nigerian who can claim that our brand of democracy is anywhere near this ideal.

Our democratic system is all about the politicians and their comfort; a “government of the few, by the few and for the few.” Outside of the United States, I doubt if there is any other country with as large a people in government as we find in Nigeria.

We have turned the machinery of governance into a source of income, some kind of money vending machine, a cash cow. The kind of financial reward accruing monthly to each of our so called democrats is not only obscene; it is outright evil and sinful especially in a country where the minimum wage is still under ten dollars a month.

The Nigerian situation is akin to what Stefan Molyneux said about bad leadership, “The world, viewed philosophically, remains a series of slave camps, where citizens – tax livestock – labor under the chains of illusion in the service of their masters.”

As a nation, we need to grab a hold of our rudderless leadership before the ship runs aground. Delusions and delirium does not build anything, we need to wake up!

The silence and inaction of the citizens of our country is the fuel that powers this mass delusion of “it is well’ when it is actually getting worse. I have often wondered why Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, Idi Amin and their type were successful at all?

I guess it happens when people delude themselves into accepting that they are livestock in the hands of their leaders. The leaders also delusionally presume the savior’s complex and rule an entire nation purely on fiat and a ravaged brain.

Our delusional presuppositions in Nigeria can only lead us to disintegration, and we are dangerously close to it.

Rev. Fr. John Segun Odeyemi Ph.D
Duquesne University,
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.


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