‘See-finish’ is a popular Nigerian Pidgin term. ‘See finish’ is used mostly by affected or afflicted people to convey their helplessness in their situation. To many others, it simply means “familiarity breeds contempt”. In its loose form, that proverb means “extensive knowledge of or close association with someone or something leads to a loss of respect for them or it.” That’s how one online dictionary defines “familiarity breeds contempt.”
Lolo, the Nigerian actress, in her “Lolo’s Law of See Finish” drives the term home thus: “The more thoroughly we know a person and are aware of their shortcomings, the more likely we are to take them for granted.”
From all indications, and as the country grinds painfully and screeches to the 2023 general election, ‘see finish’ is how Nigerian politicians have been handling things in and about the country. In the last eight or so years, this ‘see-finish’ attitude towards Nigerians and Nigerians’ concerns/affairs has been most pronounced. It is like ‘in your face’ kind of thing. The country, courtesy of its current handlers, has been soaked and drenched, and steeped in so much propaganda.
The people do not trust their leaders because of crafted news, biased and misleading information. Our society today is slanted in many angles, depending on where you are facing. And as the people adjust their seats and sitting positions in preparation for the denouement of the Buhari presidential era, the politics people that have “seen us finish” have hit the streets again. They have oiled their various information machines; they have mobilized their foot soldiers and they have sharpened their mouths and pens.
They have already have unleashed them on us – virtually and physically – everywhere.So, because Nigeria is one hugely interesting country, Nigerians have started to receive their favourite politicians and speak their language, just as the politicians have expected of us. We they have abandoned caution as they have been primed to do. The country excites curiosity in very many colourful and intriguing ways. Nigeria’s body polity; the country’s economy; its belief system and Nigerian people’s idiosyncrasies have been successfully diverted from the path of national pride, growth and collective development. Most things about the country are seen or are taken in a ‘we against them’ manner that has now become a pronounced pattern.
In the recent, the owners of the land and their cronies (euphemistically called stakeholders) have been analysing our idiosyncrasies according to our sundry affiliations. Only a few Nigerians genuinely look at issues dispassionately. Nearly everything, including the most potent unifier of Nigeria: football is viewed from our personal prisms to either support affiliates or denigrate those who are not. In doing that, Nigerians gravitate towards all manners of high sounding nonsense and swallow all kinds of lies.
The puppeteers are adroit at their game. They know which exact strings to pull to control who and what. The controllers know us in and out, them don see us finish… and as such, they know very well and effectively press “our Mumu button.” That’s the position the country has found itself in the last eight years or thereabouts.
Beginning from the Chief Olusegun Obasanjo civilian administration, when the word ‘nascent’ qualified our democracy, to the euphoria of Goodluck Jonathan ruined by blinding propaganda, we kept sinking deeper and deeper into poor management of the country.Comparing the previous administrations and their handling of the country rekindles the hilarious but profound submission attributed to Pat Riley when his Miami Heats snapped a victory after 13 straight defeats. Asked his reaction to the victory recorded over Sacramento Kings, Riley said: “I feel like a mosquito in a nudist colony, I don’t just know where to start.”
Confused Riley could breathe, but he also was unable to breathe, because he would not know where the victory would lead his team. Bad governance mixed with the politics of 2023 has led many Nigerians to the kind of Riley confusion.
But it is known that the stature of a bride determines how her inlaws would play their roles. That explains the levity with which the rulers take Nigerians, and the seeming indifference of some of the aspirants despite the perrennial cry of hardship by Nigerians shows that they know what they are doing. It is known to these power mongers that Nigerians would cry, make noise for a few days and adjust to whatever dose of hardship they force on us.
Take the new thinking in petroleum pricing in Nigeria for instance, we would act like the bereaved mother hen. Our protestations are “full of sound and fury…” because those who put life in the struggle against oppression are now the ones in government. The mother hen was robbed of a little child by the hungry, unfeeling kite. The robbery was well planned, swift and precise.
The angry hen swooped on everything and on nothing, cackled raucously with so much bravado and ran around the space. She even flew half-heartedly in pursuit of the long-gone kite. Meanwhile, the predator, had since escaped with the child of the raging mother hen. Her furious shows amount to nothing in the end.
When the hungry kite got home to the elders of his community, they asked him what the bereaved hen did. “She shouted and ran up and down and after me but I flew away quickly to escape her, and to this place. But I noticed that she later went quiet” he answered. “Very well then… Congratulations. She had done all she could and that is all she can do. Go and enjoy your loot.”
The next time the roving kite got hungry, he went in search of food as normal. This time round, he saw the mother duck and her many children bumbling around the grassy yard. The duck’s children are more in number than those of the hen, he thought, and they appear more vulnerable because their mother had not given them any warning cry. Could it be that the mother duck did not sense the danger? Does she not know that I am around? Well, it’s a ‘low hanging fruit’ he muttered in his breath as he glided downwards and picked one of them.
He wished he could have taken more than one because of the ease of the operation. The mother duck acted oblivious… or was she not aware that I have stolen one of her children? There was no hullabaloo. There was no pursuit or shouts of hysteria.
The wondering kite got home and the waiting elders asked the same question as before. They saw that it was the child of the mother duck this time. “How did it go?”, they inquired. “She did not do anything. She did not even warn her children of my presence. She only looked at me as I made away with her child,” he reported. “Quickly, go back and return the child. Do not harm it let alone eat it! That is a very bad signal. We cannot decipher or guarantee the intentions of a quiet person.”
Nigerians cannot be feared like the mother duck. Our politicians don see us finish.