It is 62 years of successful break away from British colonialism in Nigeria. May be we should not have broken away in the first instance. But these three slangs of Sapa, Japa and Kala have come to stay to define our reality. Sapa depicts the depth of extreme poverty, generational squalor, brain dead gullibility and so on. Sapa in all ramifications leads to decision to Japa. Japa depicts migration and relocation out of the country to avoid Sapa. Would you blame anyone for that? In between Sapa and Japa is the decision to hang over, but if you want to stay back you need to Kala. Kala is about survival, it makes you have extreme selfish attitude in your approach to survival. But it is what it is!
Everyone in Nigeria exhibits Kala attitude because it is a tough and rough ride to barely survive each day. Should we blame ourselves? I will say no, we didn’t really create our situation and existence.
Nigerian economy is tied to the global capitalist system. Five generations after now will still deal with it. It is an endless situation. The truth is that there are only people who will control the resources to their own advantage. You can be among the lucky class of resource controllers if you are: a traditional ruler, with access to land, connections and affluence, your generation will have a way out of poverty. A second category are politicians that get into position of authority, they have clever ways of “smart appropriation”, with that happy life is guaranteed even when out of office. Religious leaders are the third category. They play mind games with the masses in the name of spirituality and they also turn to entrepreneurs. They capitalize on systemic failures to make people think their problems are a curse and affliction. They live on the little hard earned from the masses. In the fourth category are business owners, business is a risk and opportunity at the same time, they take advantage of the whole situation to make money. A fifth category is the celebrity/entertainment industry, it’s a revolution and a blast to survive, make money and become famous. If you are not among these five categories, it is really a long way to survive.
Since 1999, we have had a kind of privatization! Government is no more responsible for anything. Unfortunately, there is demographic explosion that has increased the rate of crime. The Sapa is very real! Does the government need to do more on birth control? We have Almajiri children, may be boko haram would not have surged with a dangerous ideology if there was equitable wealth distribution. Or banditry should not have turned in to kidnapping if politics is not entangled with ethnicity. The challenges of the Nigerian state is huge. Hence, the decision to Japa will always be rife.
Sapa, Japa and Kala could depict extremely dangerous situations that is not healthy for Nigeria. With Nigeria’s privatized government, should social protection be a dead end?
Happy independence day Nigeria, it is well.
Dr Mutiat Oladejo is a lecturer of History and Gender Studies at the University of Ibadan, Ibadan.