Are we really suffering from stockholm syndrome?

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By Andrew Erakhrumhen

Human beings, throughout generations, had been and are still, collectively, interesting! They are not only interesting but also interestingly complex wherever and whenever. This is one of the reasons why academic disciplines in the humanities and social sciences are important contributors to the efforts at continuous studying of (likely/real) reasons why humans behave, in constantly changing manners, the way they do. These reasons are, no doubt, linked to the high capacity of their brains when compared with those for other animals. Well, some may be quick at asking for reason(s) behind such comparison! Nevertheless, this is not the platform for such an argument. The essence of the seemingly controversy of making comparison between humans and animals, is to reiterate what has been well documented concerning the human race, coming a long way. Doing this, they have been able to determine the course of worlds development. The word development is used in relative rather than absolute term here.

Irrespective of several generations of human advancement, they are still humans! They (we) are still exposed to numerous factors influencing their (our) behaviours. We have this in mind when looking at our present Nigeria, the way its leadership is being constituted, their behaviour(s) and the response(s) of those being led. As it stands today, with the exception of few people, it appears that most of the vulnerable Nigerians, at the brink of extermination, are cooperating with their potential exterminators to succeed in exterminating them! The reader may not believe this but it is true! For instance, how do we explain the deafening silence, in almost all parts of the country, where we now have unbelievable economic downturn, newly well festooned corruption and insecurity becoming the new normal (apologies to coronavirus)? No, we are not, in any way, saying that these socio-economic ills were not there yesterday. What we are saying here is that these challenges are increasing, mind-bogglingly, today.

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Yes, it is no more news that these challenges are increasingly becoming entrenched to our chagrin in our daily lives! It has been so pathetic that those promising solutions (CHANGE) to earlier versions now sit comfortably relishing the peace of the graveyard that seems to be existing in Nigeria. It is more painful that Nigerian citizens, without social security (safety net) against the aforementioned malaise, are the ones sustaining the laxity of these age-long ruling elites gathered in glaringly rudderless ships. The ships were well designed but they were deliberately made rudderless! The current and most past ruling (ruining?) elites have no navigating maps, no specific direction, and no definite final destination, beneficial to the whole country. Presently, All People Conniving is the same as People Deceiving People! Unfortunately, the citizens at the lower rung of the socio-economic ladder are still unable to emancipate themselves from mental slavery using the words of Robert Nesta Marley (19451981).

The strategies for mental enslavement are well anchored on many factors mostly those that revolve round primordial sentiments. These and other sentiments including fear of the unknown have made many compatriots to currently suffer from Stockholm Syndrome. Using a simple dictionary definition, Stockholm Syndrome may be defined as feelings of trust or affection felt in many cases of kidnapping or hostage-taking by a victim towards a captor. You may ask: What has this syndrome and its definition got to do with Nigeria and its citizens? Simply, the answer is that Nigeria and Nigerians had long been kidnapped by the ruling elites and their collaborators in various shades! Believe it or not, Nigeria and Nigerians had been made perpetual captives in kidnappers den with no intention of being released on ransom. These captives may not know but they need liberation! The capturing, of Nigeria and Nigerians, did not occur today and that is why we have been having some social critics lamenting for a long time.

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The availability, in the past and currently, of patriotic social critics whose intention was, and still is, to call attention to this kidnapping and how liberation can be successfully achieved has made Stockholm Syndrome unacceptable in Nigeria. It is believed that this syndrome contributes largely to why Nigerians resolved to saying things like: Leave the present government to do what they like, God will help us! Let us manage it like that because we are all in it together! This is the time for politicians in my region to be in government, so do not criticise them! Keep quiet because you are not the only one affected by Nigerias problem! The government is doing well (even when the reverse is the case)! The captors have been so successful that their captives support and celebrate them when they extend their oppressive tendencies toward those that refused to be kidnapped. Instead of supporting their fellow oppressed they do otherwise by vilifying them. Recent Nigerian history has abundance of examples.

We were made to believe that this country belongs to us all (really?), so no citizen has a higher stake in it than others. No citizen is supposed to be a slave in this country but the reality, now, reveals otherwise. The country, for no lack of abundant brilliant minds, is currently painfully run by con-artists/charlatans. These shameless characters have taken governance in the country to lowest ebb recorded in the countrys history. These for long are the real kidnappers who have successfully kidnapped many of the rest of us! In fact, we are already apprehensive about what may likely happen if the country is messed up, by them, beyond what we are experiencing now. Thus, Nigerians should wake up from their slumber to ask necessary questions and put these clueless groups including future leaders to task. This is not impossible! Let us discard the primordial sentiments used in dividing us as a people. This will definitely go a long way in providing cure to the unfortunate malady known as Stockholm Syndrome.

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Andrew Erakhrumen, PhD is of the Department of Forest Resources and Wildlife Management, University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria

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