On a failing state
Editi Effiong’s Boxing Day thread on Twitter is at once tragic and instructive. It’s tragic because again, someone who believed in Nigeria has “seen the light” and no go do again. It’s instructive because it shows how maliciously crafted lies, repeated often enough, have real-life consequences.
A few years ago, I told a story about how my business lost a deal that was worth eight figures in naira because of malicious tales. The fellow who believed those rumours, has apologised and we’re good now, chat occasionally, but we’ve never done business. For the record, the people that he ended up giving the job to fucked it up. He admitted as much and said that what his own firm wanted to achieve was set back by years all because he was taken in by a lie.
My friend and partner, Tunde Leye told another story that had a happier ending. Happier, doesn’t always mean satisfactory, but in that case, we got the job and executed, and have gotten repeat jobs, so that is satisfactory. What even makes it more satisfactory is that some of those who tried to destroy us have been relieved of those positions as time has shown that they bring no value other than backbiting and social media nuisance. 2023 is around the corner so someone will find them useful…
Even more satisfying was that this year, an agency gave a job to a multinational, who told them that their partner in Nigeria is SBM Intel, and thus one of the very people who’d spread rumours about me was forced to squirm in meetings that Tunde and I anchored.
As my Ma used to say, “cream will always rise to the top of the barrel, while the dregs will make their way to the bottom where they belong.” So I have no fears for Editi. He does good work, he will always make his way in good circles. I do fear, however, for Nigeria.
You see, I used to be a believer in getting one person for slander and libel until in 2018, I did sue one once. To be honest, I’d feel better if I’d lost the case, but no I haven’t. It has just entered legal limbo. I gave up on the case when after travelling to Abuja (yet again) for a hearing in early March, I was told that the judge had been reassigned, and so the case would have to start again. This nonsense has happened to me twice, so it makes me question what the point is of suing.
I’d also advise Editi not to bother suing as it’s a waste of time, but from his thread, he clearly already has experience of that time-wasting activity, and therein lies the biggest tragedy. A country’s legitimacy is built on the faith of its people in its institutions. Of all these institutions, the most basic is dispute resolution, because as long as we have two human beings on earth, there must be disputes. It is from dispute resolution that adjudication, security, taxation, and other functions of the state arise.
So let’s ask ourselves an honest question: which of you in Nigeria trusts the Nigerian state to be an honest and impartial arbiter in a dispute with your neighbour?