~ by Bayo Adeyinka
You dig your own borehole. Every house in Nigeria has its own private source of water. You are your own Water Corporation. Some people in this generation have never seen pipe-borne water.
You hire your own security guards – your estate or community hires one and because you don’t really trust that communal effort, you still hire a private guard for your house. Police? Don’t even start. You are your own Police.
When you’re on the road, you’re at the mercy of agberos, touts and kidnappers. So you hire a bodyguard. If you can’t afford a bodyguard, you depend on God.
You get your own generator because there’s no power. Sometimes, you get one for the home and another for the office. If there are 10 offices in an office complex, that’s 10 generators. You are your own Power Holding Company.
You buy and install electric poles on your street. You pay to buy all the cables and you even buy transformer. You are your own DISCO.
You contribute money to grade the road on your street or put interlock pavestones. The communal efforts take a long time but you can’t afford to allow floods destroy your house. You are your own Ministry of Works.
You fall sick but you can’t even afford to go to the hospital. Every Nigerian knows when you’re ill, it’s either malaria or typhoid. You’re your own doctor so you know what to prescribe for yourself. “Where There Is No Doctor” must have been written with Nigeria in mind. For many, it’s either they depend on faith healing or gofundme. Otherwise, you buy your own gloves, needles, look for blood donors, etc in a hospital. You even have to beg for bed space. God help you if you’re a burn victim. You may have to drive yourself and other victims to the hospital. No ambulance to assist you. Safer to have coke and fanta poured over your head since you really don’t have too many options.
Education is substandard so after school hours, you must still hire teachers who will attempt to teach what was taught earlier. Meanwhile, you buy packets of chalk for the public school your child attends. You bought the chair and desk he sits on. Parents through PTA contributed money to paint the classrooms and even hire teachers. The school belongs to government but in reality, you run it.
You’ve been looking for employment to no avail so you get to a time that you have to sit down, think and then employ yourself. You are now CEO.
So what exactly does the government do for its citizens in Nigeria?