Hands tied


We’ve got to be grateful for what we have man. When you see someone just deteriorating, not looking after themselves like that, lost, not in themselves… It makes me think you know.

Sometimes… in life! Life, haha… You think you’ve got it hardest, like God has singled you out. Oh man. Like no-one else has got it bad, cos you’ve got no money, or there’s problems with your family, you know. We’ve got to be grateful. Cos when you listen to another person’s story, you’ll find out, boy. People are struggling, they’ve not got food, no shelter, no papers, no language, nothing. Don’t take it for granted, your health, the people around you. Life ain’t easy y’know, but compared to the rest of the world, oh boy.

Let me be clear. Healthcare. Take my country [Nigeria]. If you’re in an accident, you get sick… they take you to the emergency room. You know the first thing they ask you? Who’s paying. Cos if you can’t pay, they not gonna treat you. If you offered to pay it off? No. Imagine their response: we’ve got ten other people today needing the same operation. They’ve got overheads, workers to pay. No. They’ll leave you in the waiting room. The nurses will come, they’ll say ‘my hands are tied’. You’ll die there. It’s wrong! Some of these treatments might just be a few injections, antibiotics. But a national health service? We have a very large population, but…

Why don’t people fight back? Well, the poor are angry. There’s a new president who’s standing up against corruption. Billions have been circulating in that economy, enough for a good standard of life, a welfare state. But they’ve siphoned it off, the top officials, into foreign accounts, properties. This new guy is shaking them down, trying to get it back. At first the officials said OK, but now they’re trying to stop him. But he’s popular, he’s doing the right thing.

He’s got all these officials against him, he doesn’t look well, he’s in his 70s. There’s a, what’s it, an ‘old boys’ network’ against him! Because it’s always been the same people in power, the old men, since the 1880s, the 1660s… and their sons will be in power too. They come into power, offer to make certain rewards, take advantage of certain funds… haha! And when they are on their way out, they will sponsor someone on the up, who will look after their money, and maybe they will give them some.

Take this cake. This is the national cake. And each man comes into office and cuts his big slice and says it is mine. And then the next one. And the people ask what happened to the cake, and they will blame someone else.

It’s easy for other countries to judge. You know that thing David Cameron said, about Nigeria and Afghanistan, being corrupt? Our president said, ‘I don’t want any apologies, I just want to get back the money that’s been siphoned to Britain’. To Britain! All the tax evasion, property deals and offshore accounts. That was a very good answer. There is very little welfare state there. If you have no job, you would just starve… no, family would help. The new president has introduced a new payment for people in hardship who do not work. It’s not enough for food and rent, but it’s a start. But many of the young people, the young graduates, have become armed robbers. Yes! Because there are not enough jobs for them. They have taken up crime. There are many problems in Nigeria, but maybe it’s not as different as other places.

One day, I’d like to go back there. I have some land… I could farm, grow fruits! I know how to do it. One day.

Change, it comes down to choice. Human nature? Yes, maybe. Ultimately each person has a choice to do or not do what they’re doing. That can be very hard, there might be a whole lifetime of doing things a certain way. They might be scared of change, cos there’s a reason why they’ve done things this way up til now. They might drink or use drugs cos they’re avoiding something, innit, and to go without that means facing those feelings. Leaving a community of people you use with. You can lead a horse to the river, but, yow! You can’t force it. That’s down to each one of us. And many people don’t make a choice, and you got to just accept that.


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