Is disorderliness embedded in the DNA of the middle-class and upper-middle-class Nigerian?

The middle-class, upper-middle-class and very rich Nigerians constitute the bulk of passengers who frequently travel by air within the Nigerian airspace. The poor are rarely seen in that space. So the matter of today’s intervention is primarily about the persistent disorderly show put up daily by a sizable chunk of Nigeria’s elite in various airports across the country.

As soon as the aircraft touches down, many passengers immediately unfasten their seat belts and pull out their mobile phones to switch on their devices, contrary to the advice from the cabin crew. It is as if these persons are suffering from some kind of withdrawal symptom from their devices!

Why can these persons not obey a simple instruction such as ‘…Please ensure that the row in front of you is empty before you stand up to retrieve your luggage from the overhead lockers…” This part of the advisory from the cabin crew became a constant in the aftermath of the devastation caused by Covid and the need to implement various forms of social distancing to mitigate the spread of the virus. But as has been observed by many, the average Nigerian air passenger, frequently violates this simple and unambiguous advice. The level of impatience put on display is appalling, making it seem as if we have normalized this behaviour.

On the average, there are usually more persons standing than are sitting when the aircraft has touched down and those in the first rows have stood up to leave the aircraft! Suddenly many persons, including those from the furthest rows in the back will be scrambling to pull out their luggage from the lockers and heading in haste towards the exit. After rushing out many of these persons who checked in their luggage will then go and wait to pick up their luggage from the luggage section. Look at their faces while they wait for the machine to deliver their luggage and you can almost guess that they wished there was a way to hurry the process! They rush out of the aircraft only to go on to wait for their luggage. It’s amazing that the contradiction is lost on many!

The steady blame of the political class for how they have led the country may continue unabated because of how they have led the country but every charge given to the political class to change their ways, is weakened by a middle-class and upper-middle-class hugely complicit in the general decadence and display of disorderliness we see around us. How can such persons effectively demand for order by word and deed in their centres of influence when at their core they are seriously conflicted?

If this special group of people constituting some of the most visible, most popular, most influential, most educated, most dynamic, most knowledgeable about current affairs and most sophisticated persons, cannot ‘hear’ simple instructions as are typically dished out by the cabin crew then the falcon, indeed, cannot hear the falconer and mere anarchy will be loosed upon the land (apologies Y.B Yeats)

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