The Innoson/GTB Saga: Why Nigerians Are The Easiest People To Rule by Bayo Adeyinka


I used to think Nigeria was a very difficult country to govern. Now, I think I know better. This country is one of the easiest to rule over. Once you understand the psychology of the average Nigerian, it’s easy to have a field day. This current Innoson versus GTB saga exposes the mind of the average Nigerian.

The average Nigerian has the concepts of right and wrong blurred. Right is only right when their personal rights are breached. At other times, it doesn’t matter. The average Nigerian loves to get involved in fights that don’t concern them. Especially when big men are involved. In Nigeria, we have little men fighting in different corners for big men. In saner climes, big men fight for their little men. We either fight for Atiku or we are throwing punches on behalf of Buhari. We shout in support of Wike or demonstrate in support of Amaechi. Meanwhile, big men never fight big men- they employ smaller men. Our leaders understand our make up perfectly. The average Nigerian loves drama. So they make sure, it is one week, one drama. Just last week, it was the hijab episode. Give a Nigerian good soap opera and he forgets his misery.

An average Nigerian doesn’t really care about corruption. What he is worried about is that the crumbs are not coming his way fast enough. The Nigerian politician understands that perfectly. So they throw packs of Lipton tea and Gala at us. Some are magnanimous and they increase the crumbs to packs of Indomie ‘Hungry Man’ size. Others will allow the citizens enjoy free train rides. The average Nigerian loves freebies. They really don’t care that there is really no freebie anywhere. It is Abu’s money that is being used to give Abu a treat but Abu doesn’t even care to understand. The average Nigerian doesn’t have any ideology. That’s why he finds it easy to explain away anything- including how politicians jump ship.

And here’s the big two- tribal affiliations and religion. Our leaders understand that if you want to muddle up a case, introduce the twin evils of tribal affiliations and religion. Our colonial masters understood this strategy and used it to their advantage. Have we really considered critically what they termed ‘indirect rule’? The strategy of ‘indirect rule’ continues till this day. While the characters have changed, the modus operandi remain the same. Even the most upright are caught in those traps at times. Here, some make very sweeping hasty generalizations- Yorubas are betrayers. Yorubas hate Igbos. Igbos are fraudsters. Hausas are the problems of Nigeria. We forget that we are all victims held together unwittingly and unwillingly in this contraption called Nigeria.

And here’s where I’m going: the Innoson versus GTB case has now become a tribal issue. What was a mere business matter between two business partners has become a national trouble. Our leaders understand that we joke too much and we are never a serious minded people. Maybe that’s why the comedy industry is booming even in recession. We make jokes about everything. Is it not a joke when some are encouraging others to close their GTB accounts even when they barely understand the issues on ground? Nigerians lack capacity for deep introspection, truly. So if there’s a run on GTB because it is a Yoruba bank that wants to kill an Igbo business, what will happen to branches of GTB all over the South East? What will happen to the branch managers (who are most likely Igbos), the Relationship Officers, the tellers, the security men and several hundreds employed by the Bank? If you really don’t care, what about those who supply products and services to GTB branches in the South East such as diesel, their kitchens and restaurants, stationeries, local artisans like electricians, carpenters and painters who are called to attend to one issue or the other? Is it not an irony of sorts that it is this same set of people who are rushing to close their accounts? A case of the real victim not knowing he’s the victim- a flea attacking a dog in order to kill it but not knowing it will die before the dog! I saw a poster where an individual said he asked his two billionaire brothers to move their funds. Well, one thing he forgot is that most likely these billionaire friends of his might also be indebted to the bank. All big men use debt to expand their businesses- it’s not a crime. The bigger you are, the bigger your debt usually- especially once you have demonstrated capacity. But if they want to move, they need to pay down first. It’s not quite easy, you know.

The Innoson versus GTB saga should never have been a social media war. E no concern us. It’s a purely business relationship gone sour between two business partners. People are too emotional rather than logical. Most of those rushing to close accounts can’t even apply for a loan of N1m not to talk of N1b or more like Inmoson was given. So why are they losing sleep over matter wey no concern them? How many of them can afford to buy the least of Innoson’s vehicle? Both of them will bury the hatchet and shake hands very soon. And you, O little men, will not be there. When big men shake hands, little men are never invited. Meanwhile, if Innoson has been accused of committing a financial crime, does helping the economy as a home-grown industrialist invalidate the act?

Anyway, our big men understand we don’t have staying power. In a week, the music would have changed as another movie debuts.

Please I’m looking for fuel. Who has 25 liters to borrow me?


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