Nigerian leaders – and the Led – could earn $100 million for their hardly-used brains when they die! – Deleola Daramola

Brain SwitchJpegA brain switch that may be needed for Nigerian leaders and those they lead.


I have often wondered why we Nigerians, the leaders and the led, are like this. I have at many times been involved in debates ranging from “Is (sic) black people cursed?” to “ours’ is a wasted generation”. I belong to different online fora where intellectual discussions that could seem to proffer solutions to our leadership and followership issues, none, and I mean it, none has achieved anything significant. It’s either some of us would selfishly dance round, or parochially and sentimentally defend their kinsmen in power or end the debate cursing each other.

Even Mr Obasanjo sometime last year said that ‘we are jinxed and cursed; we should all go to hell”. How frustrating could any leader who has seen it all be! As I have argued all my life, the ex-president concluded, “The whole thing is not just about leadership. If we talk about good leadership you should also talk about good followers. If you talk about human right you should also talk about human duties and obligations”.

There lies my point: if we have been having bad leaders, we must have been having bad followers! I read Nigerians many times, banding our leadership as clueless, but aren’t we also when we push every one of our misrule issues on God? I remember ‘a parable of brainless leaders’ written by Prof Okey Ndibe sometime last year.

President Robert Mugabe had sent one of his ministers to represent him at an important state function in Japan to which other leaders from different countries were also invited. On the day of the event, the minister had a monstrous, migraine-grade headache and it became an emergency. Japanese doctors x-rayed his head to determine the source of his problem, then prescribed one or two medications, and, pronto, the man became fit enough to attend the official ceremony. As the Zimbabwean official left the hospital, the Japanese doctors gave him a sealed envelope addressed to President Mugabe.

The minister delivered the sealed envelope to Mugabe. President Mugabe was livid with anger after reading the content of the letter: “Since I have been president of this country, nobody has offered even five hundred dollars for my brain. But the Japanese want to pay $100 million for the brain of a man who is my mere minister when he dies. Something is wrong here.” Looking straight into his eyes, “You must have told them that you’re the brain of my cabinet. In fact, you must have boasted that you’re the one who thinks for this country,” he accused the man.

Sweating, “Please call them,” the fear-gripped minister suggested, afraid that his life was on the line. “They will confirm that I never told them I was this country’s brain.”

Mr. Mugabe then dialed Japan. “President Mugabe here,” he announced imperiously. “What is this nonsense about buying my minister’s brain for $100 million when he dies?”

“Well, sir,” said a Japanese doctor, “we’re delighted that you called. You see, we treated your minister for a paralyzing headache he suffered during his visit to Tokyo. We scanned his brain in order to find out what caused his almost paralyzing headache. We marveled at what the scan showed. You see, Mr. President, your minister is 75 years old, but his brain is still almost brand new, hardly used. That’s why we made an offer to buy it when he dies. We plan to implant the brain in somebody who knows how to make use of a brain. Let me assure you, Mr. President, that your minister made scientific history. This was the first time scientists anywhere in the world discovered a virtually unused brain in a certified old man. By the way, sir, if you can find a few more unused brains like your minister’s, your country can count on earning huge revenues from brain exports.” Mr. Mugabe smiled. “That’s no problem. I can guarantee you a steady supply.”

In our case, our leaders and we, the followers have been clueless, selfish, wicked and unimpressive. When our leaders throw brainlessness at us, we suck it in and sulk; we could at least show them we are thoughtful. Two months ago, the Governor of Lagos state was explaining why his government is not building low-cost houses for low-income earners in the state when he uttered those wicked words: “For cynics who say we have not done low cost housing, I want them to show me where low cost land is, low cost cement and low cost iron rod and they must give us labor that is low cost and Naira that is low cost as well”.
Really? Is the money he is using to build the houses his? Romney lost his bid to the American presidency because of a secretly recorded tape where he pilloried ‘low-cost’ Americans.

Mr. Jirbo, a teenager was shot in the mouth by a member of the more than two-dozen military team guarding the multibillion-dollar Gboko cement factory owned by Dangote. He would be deformed for life; his mouth disfigured and emptied of almost all teeth in the upper region.

His offence: relieving himself near the Dangote factory complex, and refusing to pack the waste with his mouth when ordered to do so by the soldier! Then the villagers in an outburst of violent reaction that followed, the soldiers made sure they shot dead seven other people.
For the love of God, aren’t these soldiers paid from tax-payers money? Why will a private business be guided by the national soldiers? Why are we not asking questions?

I am thinking about our brains and there is good news. Scientists have never understood which part of the brain controls when you’re conscious and when you’re not. Now, researchers seem to have found it by coincidence while studying an epileptic patient—and used electronic brain stimulation to flip the switch on and off. Ultimately, if they know how consciousness is created and which parts of the brain are involved then they can understand who has it and who doesn’t. Do robots have it? Do fetuses? Does a cat or dog or worm?
May be one day, studies can help us to use our brains to ask questions from those we choose to lead us. May be during election, we can switch it on; may be we can mandate each one of them to have one implanted so that it can remain switched-on throughout the period they were elected to rule. Maybe.


FRIDAY, JULY 11, 2014.  4:05 p.m. [GMT]





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2 Comments on “Nigerian leaders – and the Led – could earn $100 million for their hardly-used brains when they die! – Deleola Daramola”

  1. Falade A.G. Says:

    A fluid and lucid write-up.
    But, hmnn…
    I reserve my comments!



    • emotan77 Says:

      Dear Prof.,

      Now, this is one occasion when I would really have appreciated your comments, especially considering you are a medical doctor!

      This hilarious write-up though bearing sad implication is worth the thoughts of not just medical people but philosophers, sociologists and regular people like me although I do not have much to say beyond the fact it is very true that millions and millions in Nigeria do not use their brains. How this came about can be dumped at the doorstep of the “situation in the country” but there are countries where situations are tough and the citizens still have time for thinking that could one day bring development to their land. People who live in trailer parks (the lowest dwelling type in the USA) read books, may even save to attend a cultural event once in a real long while, et cetera while I’ve met a Nigerian university undergraduate majoring in English Language who told a stunned interviewing panel that he had never read any Soyinka and wait for this – nor Achebe nor Ekwensi because “we do not read African authors”!

      In Nigeria today, the only thriving “industries” are entertainment/entertainment-related businesses and, wait for this those reading this outside Nigeria – banking! How could banks thrive in a land with most industries comatose?

      Dele’s essay may be derived from a joke but who knows what could happen in future?




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