The truth about Nigeria is that we are on average a very badly behaved people. And this is irrespective of which sector of the economy one chooses to look at. The artisan structures his (usually male) fees around the best replacement parts, and then proceeds to procure and fix sub-specification parts. In the case of the motor mechanic, where they can get away with it, after charging for an original equipment manufacturer part, will refurbish the failing one and replace it. Commercial bus drivers go about their business as if their decrepit vehicles were battlewagons: in a minatory way; responsible for the odd accident, and all the traffic tailbacks. Tenants in multiunit apartments draw a bold line under the concept of the “tragedy of the commons”.
Point is that we all agree that things cannot continue this way. There is consensus around the fact that otherwise we are headed for a precipice. Problem is that it is the other person who bears the greatest responsibility for undertaking the needed change! So what do we do? Now, being a very religious people, inevitably, we take all this to the Lord in prayer: asking that he arranges, somehow, to redeem us. This is the sense in which we (both government and the governed) have approached Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s acceptance of the office of coordinating minister for the economy: part alchemist; part prophet; part messiah.
Now, there’s a certain Jewish tradition that resonates with this: the scapegoat! According to Wikipedia, “Throughout the year and on the Day of Atonement, the record of all the sins of the Israelites was transferred to the Tabernacle by the blood of the sacrifices. On the Day of Atonement, the tabernacle was cleansed of all the accumulated sins by the ritual described in Leviticus 16. At that time, the high priest confesses the accumulated sins of the Children of Israel to the scapegoat, which is then sent into the desert wilderness. The Tabernacle and the Children of Israel were thus cleansed of sin.”
Having transferred our sins unto the super-minister, we go on sinning. Until the next Yom Kippur!