June 30th, 2010
people live in extraordinary times. In an era where
free-for-all, naked corruption and outright indiscipline are
steadily pushing the nation towards the path of political
and economic regression, the almost 50 years old independent
nation comes under a collective threat, a self induced treat
for that matter.
Just take a note of the open fights that are occurring
within some Legislatures. In recent times there was the
blood bath in the Edo State House of Assembly, and as of a
few days ago there are reports of open acts of assault and
battering in the federal House of Representative.
One sees how some in the leadership are out rightly
hijacking billions of naira or millions of dollars for their
own personal use.
A sum of monies the crook could never completely consume in
his or her life time, which makes one wonder if persons’
with an illness like poor impulse control, or what this
author presumptively terms “corruptomania”, as well as
conditions like anti-social or authoritarian tendencies have
roles to play in these ill-defined leadership behaviors?
These men and women by national definition are supposed to
represent the conscience of the nation, especially when the
legislative or Public House is where good manners, good
ways, ethical behavior and positive modeling are supposed to
prevail at all times.
Comes then is the major question? What are we doing to
reduce these psychological, social, political and economic
Psychological screening, testing and evaluation on aspirants
and candidates for higher public offices remain vital. A
task for Nigerian-based certified doctoral level clinical
psychologists and certainly not by psychiatrists who by law
are not about the use of psychological instruments for
examination, as they are certified mainly in the assessment
of the medication needs of a patient.
A psychologist with appropriate and African oriented
psychological tools and instruments could be put to use to
conduct appropriate testing on incoming and current public
officials in money and other sensitive positions,
However this idea that could vastly reduce the weight of
criminal investigations, the load of court cases and help
safeguard the national treasury is being vehemently resisted
by the some law makers, the power-that-be,the
This resistance is particularly painful as there are public
officials, potentially and realistically that could benefit
from these testing as evidenced by the occurring high level
of assautive,corruptible and other lawless behaviors marking
some of these persons.
So the only simple and quick way to protect the nation from
these rotating forms of crises or quandary is through acts
of public Protest; a tactic that have worked well,
especially in societies that have constitutionally taken to
a presidential executive type of democracy.
Nigeria since 1999 has modeled after an executive
power-propelled society like, the United States of America.
In this type of political system, the presidency along with
the legislative authorities and a composition of ministerial
powers exercise great power over the lives of the people.
So with this type of enormous political power, plus the fact
that in Nigeria, some of these public elements are outright
power drunk, which then leave the people open to continued
pain and sorrow.
Since these elements in the halls of national power exercise
so much influence over public and private policies that
oversee the entire system of the nation, let us fight them
through acts of public protest. Thank God that many of these
powerful elements are there by popular vote, even though
some came in through corrupt and strange deals.
Nonetheless, they can still be monitored by the collective
hands of the people of about 150 million. These collective
hands are capable of inducing a quick nonviolent and
straight in your face type revolution as already envisioned
by a few good natured patriots in and outside the country.
A revolutionary protest is ripe against some of these so
called leaders since they are as worse as some with
militarily background who once ran the country. God knows
that is not what we want again!
Some of these civilian power-and-money hungry
politicians/officials are under the mask of having come to
power through popular votes, election and appointment,
therefore portray themselves as non-threatening to the
people. No, it a big lie!
Within the context of the mass irregularities that have been
going since the early 1990s there is cause to question why
the same few power-that-be leaders fight to maintain power
to all cost and by any means possible. Even if it takes such
means as political kidnapping, political assassination and
fermenting student, ethnic and religious agitation, all to
the personal benefit of the authority figure. Often this
powerful elements, work from behind the door of influence.
The question of why these elements cling to power is appears
easy to answer.
They are living high on billions and billions of Naira. And
above all, Power is sweet, but there are limits especially
when the taste becomes all too addictive.
Take for example the current matter of Halliburton bribery
scandal with the alleged reports of illegal personal
benefits received in form of millions of dollars by some
former Head of States and other so-called prominent
It is not unusual to hear about major acts of public crimes
amongst Pastors of mega churches, Vice-chancellors of
universities, Provosts, Board Heads, Chairman of local
councils, State Governors, Federal Ministers, Legislators,
Military leaders, Chiefs of police, Education directors, and
Bank directors. The least goes on and on.
These special characters have one common description that
apparently makes them close minded to the pains and
pressures of the people.
Here are what could be characteristic of some of them that
just make them plain bad people. They love to take orders
from the likes of a corrupt corporate head, such as the
corrupt “Oyibo” or the White man. Especially the type that
sees unstructured oil producing nation like Nigeria as a
play ground and as a result seek out the “mumu” or “yeye”
leaders, that is, the susceptible Nigerian in power.
These corruption-minded and positioned Nigerians appear to
harbor features of marked disregard for legal and moral
standards. They are quick to rationalize their mal-conduct;
”I am not the first to dupe Nigeria”
They take the pleasure of engaging in acts of deceitfulness.
They fear the bringing in of new concepts and ideas, and
they love to hold on to the old ways of doing things, just
to enable them stay or
return to power.
They see themselves as never wrong but mostly right and they
are quick to make enemies and show contempt for those they
see as not supportive of their deeds.
They ridicule, discriminate and essentially laugh quietly at
their perceived enemies, and hate those they fear.
These special characters often pretend to be flawless and
tough. In fact and as a rule, they harbor feelings of fear,
paranoia and suffer from extreme sensitivity.
They tend to seek superior positions and centers of power,
not because they are rooted in intelligence or morality but
to either act as a so called leader or simply as a follower
to a much more powerful person.
They are very happy as long as there is extensive personal
gain from the environment they themselves occupy.
These higher up political/economic crooks often project
themselves as purists, religious attendees and
In fact, these special characters feel that they are
entitled to be in the seat of power. These economic bandits
in some cases want to be worshiped and sought out by those
they see as powerless or unfair to them.
They are often individuals who manipulate persons,
institutions and communities. They sometimes show spirited
engagement to religious houses, and communal localities for
the purpose of creating conflict between the opposite
It is difficult for them to walk away from centers of power
through retirement, deployment or resignation. To deprive
others of economic and political growth they admonish the
young adults in order to avoid power shift from themselves.
power must always revolve around them or those they control,
directly or indirectly.
They are never satisfied or content and will continue to
give in to self-power even if they have to pathologically
ride the nation, bankrupt the people, provoke political
crimes, or cause national insecurity for the outside world.
They in fact love to swim in their own image, vision and
fantasy, as such holding political office, institutional or
corporate directorship becomes highly attractive to some of
Typically, they are very defensive of their ego; as such the
act of personal protection becomes paramount when they are
in or out of the corridor of power.
So what do we do with these sorts of persons who seek to
treat their fellow men and women with a mind set of
indifference, motionlessness, dishonesty, back-ward looking
and self-serving attitude?
One way for the people to stop being marginalized is through
the psychology of protect which could be in form of constant
and strategic protest. These protests should be marked with
non-violence but must be dramatic in order to draw local,
regional, national as well as international attention.
The various levels of protests should be system based so as
to attract extensive coverage by the media. Various marches,
stands, sit-ins, movements should be strategically carried
out in selected places.
They must be protests and campaigns permitted by law as long
as they are non-violent in practice where ever they are
conducted, which should include the homes, schools, ,
workplaces or other selected places, occupied by the
targeted leader or system.
For example, it is not uncommon to see some Schools in
Nigeria where pupils or students sit under the tree because
of poor classroom conditions. Well spread across the country
are public hospitals where there are no gloves for the
medical practitioners, and no emergency transportation to
bring in patients.
There should be a mass protest by poor ailing Nigerians at
Airports waiting for that Higher up public official or “Big
man/Madam” known to be returning back to the country
receiving after medical checkup or treatment outside
Group activists, young adult students, market women,
messengers, teachers, health workers could organize dramatic
demonstrations around a particular school or hospital as
well as by a Ministry of Education or Health.
It is often common for public University students to be out
of school due to dispute between facility union and the
government. In these periods, students should raise cries,
instead of gravitating towards helplessness, or showing
interest in cultism, in criminal activity, or seeking visas
to go to the Western world.
Nigerian parents should carry out mass protest against
educational authorities instead of running their children
out of the country to attend universities in Ghana, Cuba,
Jamaica and other nations.
Nigerian students should put out their spirit of activism
through the power of free speech as mandated in the Nigerian
(American-look alike) constitution of 1999. They should
design mass but peaceful protest, and the focus on such
protest should be on political misbehaviors, and about the
public breach of civil, educational, or medical stability.
Major peaceful protests should be occurring in front of a
Court where a case of corruption is undergoing delay upon
delay, especially when a few convictions occur from many of
Also, mass protest inform of a Million Diasporan March
should be organized in Nigeria, at least this December as a
warning to some of the ‘at home leaders’ known for their
rottenness, and protests of these nature could serve as a
sequel to the coming national election—a good one with
As long as Nigeria prides itself as a sovereign democracy
the law makers, the law enforcement agents and the courts
must watch against any employment of unwarranted force
towards protesting Nigerians, in order not to provoke
violence between the authority and the participants in civil
The psychology behind protest allows the people to bring the
targeted leader or systems to attention or even yet to a
standstill. Protest should be about change through peaceful
demonstration against the system and by way of nonviolence
fight against the targeted leadership.
Public Protest usually succeeds when it is organized
carefully; involve dedicated participants of large scale.
Protests are usually a cause of concern to leaders who find
wealth and power through ruthless, selfish and corrupt
The psychology of the protest should focus of the game of
the “bad big man” or “bad big madam” that is, the corrupt
powerful individual. A protest should have a leader, a
tactic and a method for the purpose of being able to
challenge its target and deliver a message.
Protect organizers must work beyond personal gains, and
should have confidence, and be success-minded, flexible in
their tactics as well as in the message in order to make a
win, no matter how small.
The protest style should have its own idiom, expressions,
energy and alliances which should be subject to quick shift
in order to avoid been stagnant.
No sensible Nigerian will disagree that there have been a
bad neighborliness, marriage and relationship between the
people and the leadership, the corrupt types especially.
It could be that some of these elements could be steeped in
various psychological and social and cultural markers and
characters as indicated throughout this writing. So no
wonder they are continuously being outright disrespectful
and non-abiding to the rule of the law. Since they remain
resistant to simple aid like psychological screening and
cleansing, let’s go for something more in the open—the act
At a time when Nigeria is seeking for political directions,
let us bring in good governance through the collective power
of the people, and let us stop becoming victims of the
continue pumps and celebrations of the corrupt leaders as
they do these things to keep the people cool and happy, at
least on the surface.
As we mark Nigeria’s 50th birthday, let the psychology of
mass protest take charge of the minds of children, market
women, students, workers, good faith chiefs, open-minded
persons in charge, and legal aliens living in Nigeria.
John Egbeazien Oshodi, Ph.D, is a practicing
Clinical/Forensic Psychologist and the Interim Associate
Dean of Behavioral Science, North Campus, Broward College,
Coconut Creek, Florida.