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Oluwadunsin Deinde-Sanya: He Is A Thief, But…



A long time ago, I was having one of my many discussions with my sister. We talked about a range of topics and we got talking about women who have husbands that cannot tuck their manhood in their pants for long. We talked about a woman we know whose husband is highly responsible, caring and loving, but… he cheats like kilode. It is not the ordinary form of cheating that you know, but the chronic one that makes his crossed eyes dart restlessly when a woman passes swaying her hips. It was so bad that this man had no particular taste in women, he would cheat as long as you’re a woman. As we sat our idle asses down and analysed his philandering, I blurted out, “He’s a big cheat, but at least he’s very responsible and he takes good care of his wife and kids.” My sister looked at me nonplussed, disappointment colouring her cheeks, and said solemnly, “You see what I’m trying to say? We try to justify every wrong doing and let someone off easily when they do wrong, just because…”

It’s been over a year we had this discussion, but tonight, I am sitting alone and ruminating on those words. I have come to grasp that Nigerians, or perhaps a lot of people in general, are very maudlin in nature. We let sentiments cloud our better judgement, and we love to give excuses as to why someone did something wrong. If we are not being sentimental, we are being inanely ‘woke.’ But that is a topic for another day. In the process of all these, we subconsciously blur the line between right and wrong, scruples and decadence, and then tell the ‘victim’ to “take it like that or leave it for God.”

I have examples:

My neighbor’s wife packed out of the house with her children. She complained that her husband beats her so much (which he denied). When the other women tried to intervene, they said, “But he pays school fees and takes care of ‘your’ kids.”

Okay. So?

This man beats her (according to her) and the other women think he is justified, just because he pays school fees?

A policeman harasses a taxi driver for #50 and one of the passengers will say, “It is not easy o, he has wives and children to take care of.” So what?

Yahoo boy dupes a man of all his life savings “Kai, these yahoo boys are dangerous, but it is the situation of the country that is pushing them.”

A man consistently cheats on his wife. “It is not easy to eat Egusi soup all the time, you have to mix it with Okro sometimes,” or “Just manage, you know he is a man; he is naturally polygamous.”

Has it ever occurred to you that it is also a woman’s nature to be polygamous? Or polygamy is inbuilt in the penis?

It amuses me the way we condemn an act, and then quickly accompany it with ‘but…’

One disadvantage of always giving excuses for wrongdoings is the fact that we begin to set the bar so low – lower and lower till it can sink no further.

I am guilty of this.

I have had very terrible experiences with waiting on queues in the BRT terminal for buses to arrive. My most bitter experience was when I had bought my ticket and had to wait for close to three hours before a bus arrived; each minute and hour passing with the hope that a bus would come soon. I made up my mind never to board BRT buses anymore. Recently, I decided to ‘just try.’ I got to the terminal and only had to wait for about 30 minutes before a bus arrived. As the bus approached, I said in my mind, “Wow, they tried o, this bus came just 30 minutes after.” I immediately asked myself, “They tried ke, isn’t that how it’s meant to be?”

It is the same way we have power for 10 hours in a day and people will say, “Nepa has tried o, even if they take the light now, they have tried.”

Hmmn. Okay.

Or we drive on a road and then someone will say, “This road is smooth, but there are no street lights, at least the government tried by repairing the road.” You know accidents can occur on that road when it gets dark, but no, the government has ‘tried’ for doing what we elected them to do.

We have gotten to that stage where we hail our government for uncompleted projects – “at least he started it” – or worship them for what they are meant to do: “The government did 2 out of 10 projects, shebi he sha did something.” I can’t forget the day I complained about waste management and my friend said, “Do you think it is easy to rule Lagos?” Okay, so why were you elected?

Another disadvantage of giving excuses for wrongdoings is that we also blame the victims rather the culprits.

SARS harasses a young boy and extorts him of all his money, “And we still have good ones among them o. You too, why are you on dreadlocks, you shouldn’t have tattoo on your body and you should have worn normal trousers, not ripped jeans.”

A man and his son rapes a girl till she dies. “This is terrible o, but that man is a lecturer – very nice and quiet. This must be the work of the devil, why didn’t the girl cry out since all the years.”

A lady mentioned on twitter how a very little girl was raped and while she was in the hospital, the nurse said, “Why won’t they rape this girl, just look at her, she is too beautiful.”

I know the world isn’t set in black and white, but certain things are indefensible. There is no justification for that politician who embezzles public funds, even if he had built hospitals and roads. It rankles me when people say “I know he’s corrupt, but he has also worked.” What’s the meaning of that? Or when a politician behaves like a clown and you say, “After all, he did stomach infrastructure.” Or you want to vote in a man who has allegations leveled against him because, “I know he’s a thief, but at least he will work.”

How low can we set this bar?

It is becoming bothersome the way we think, the way some things will happen now and people will say, “Shebi it happened in the previous regime.” Yes, it happened, so why did we vote for change? It is worrisome when you say a governor is very cruel and imprudent for building statues instead of paying salaries and someone will say, “What of your governor, shebi he is the youngest governor, and his brain is obviously the smallest too. It is the same all over.”

Hold on, are you trying to say we should keep quiet and accept this?

In a discussion with my father some while back, I complained of certain things and he said, “You don’t want to face reality.” I went on to remind him that this ‘reality’ was created by humans, and it became reality because older generations before us folded their arms and watched abnormalities become our reality today.

Again I ask, how low can we set this bar?

Like I said, I know the world is not set in black and white, but don’t you think in our ‘wokeness‘ and sentiments, we are beginning to add too many shades of grey?

The presidential election is fast approaching. Let’s ask questions, apply logic and facts rather than tribal or religious sentiments.

Vote wisely.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Oluwadunsin is a Writer and Editor from Lagos, Nigeria. Her works have been featured on BellaNaija, The Kalahari Review, Barren Magazine, and others. Want to get in contact with her? Easy!! Send a mail to [email protected] You can follow her on Instagram @oluwadunsin___ and on Twitter @duunsin.


  1. Elle

    November 2, 2018 at 6:53 pm

    Very interesting write up, I certainly share your views. I call it settling, a form of mediocrity.

  2. didi

    November 2, 2018 at 8:40 pm

    Its this way because most people know in their little corners they are guilty of something. Who are you to fault the government when you steal fom your boss? Who are you to ask for constant light when you have delayed the payment of you employee’s salary? Who are you to accuse a man of cheating when you are having sexual intercourse with everyone you date? These are cheap examples ohhh. People condone the wrong thing because they know their closet of a life is messy.

  3. larz

    November 2, 2018 at 8:43 pm

    When people see a 100% good in someone and an allegation that blemishes them even if it is just 1%, gets them defensive. In a bid to justify that that person is not a horrible demon, we can trivalise the damage that they have caused. Just because the blemish on that person is only 1% negative from their 100% good, it doesnt make that evil act any less. In fact, the victim of the action was probably impacted by 100%.

    Imagine a great philantrophist who is well known for his good deeds, he has given his kidney, built several hospitals, given loads of scholarship. Infact for argument sake lets say the value of his charitable contributions so far is 100m. But what if I told you he bullied someone when he was in university and scammed them 100k from them. It was so bad that person had to drop out from school because that was all the money they had whilst this “philantrophist” used the money stolen to start his empire. What if the person he stole from got kicked out of their family home, ended up living on the street, developed mental health issues as a result and eventualy then committed suicide. In the story above, the evil act the philanthropist committed years ago was only 1% bad in his perfect world of good. However, that 1% bad act he committed was enough to ruin and end someone else life (so practically 100% destruction of another).

    My point isnt to say the philantrophist isnt a good person but we must act least ACCEPT that the act was bad and that a “generally” good person did something bad and we ought to condemn the act with all we have on that basis.

    Oh my, I didnt I wrote an essay. Sorry

    • Oluwadunsin

      November 6, 2018 at 8:58 pm

      You’re absolutely correct and I’m so glad to read your ‘essay.’ Perhaps another factor is tribalism that keeps threatening to tear us apart. If that philanthropist were to be an Igbo man, the Igbos will probably say “it is an ‘attack on him, because he’s Igbo.” If he were a Yoruba man, the Yorubas will probably say “he is our son, he can do no wrong.” When we begin to see ourselves first as Nigerians, rather than Hausas or Itsekiri, perhaps things will get a little better.

  4. Mama

    November 3, 2018 at 4:38 am

    My sister, the bar has been set so low in our society that there is no longer a bar sef. Anything goes. Point it out and the first line of defence defence is that you’re judgmental. Take a look at the kind of people and stories we celebrate and hype and you get a glimpse of what our values are. I’m no longer suprised by anything.

  5. Kkay

    November 3, 2018 at 8:34 am

    Oluwadunsin a million thanks for writing this piece.
    I was on the phone with a friend last night on this unconscionable mind-set of some Nigerians who do not hesitate to justify mediocrity, evil, wrong behaviours and promote tribal politics just because…..

    Let those ones know there are some Nigerians who will not join their bandwagon and compromise good conscience in support of irresponsible, decadent and corrupt people just because….

    Look at the state of this country in every aspect of life -heartbreaking!

    Today, even the so-called educated Nigerians tell you a thief is better than a killer. Pitiful!

    @didi and larz you both hit the crux of the matter about this severely debilitated giant of Africa ravaged by corrupt leaders, pathological fraudsters , drug barons, human traffickers…… and those Nigerians who justify them just because…… they do or have done one seemingly good thing out of the myriad of evil things they do.

  6. Saywhatnow

    November 3, 2018 at 9:33 am

    Oluwadunsin..this is a ” woke” article,lol…we should just keeping pushing the back higher inch by inch, there a little, here a little, I push,u push,till we get the bars back where they ought to be..buh we must first have the conversation WC u have eloquently done..then proceed to “inching up” by standing for truth,standard for what is right,protesting against what is wrong..if we commit to day we’ll look back n say…see how far we’ve come.

  7. Funmilola

    November 3, 2018 at 9:54 am

    Of course we don’t demand perfection. But we shouldn’t pretend and defend horrible acts ’cause the person is nice in other areas.

    This statement: “Buhari is a an honest man, he’s just surrounded by corrupt fellows” irks me. He’s equally corrupt as the people he’s surrounded with.

    I trust we can do better, for the bar is low and as someone said “may food not block our mouth when its time to say the truth”.

    And as always, you’re a beautiful writer

  8. chi

    November 9, 2018 at 9:29 am

    Thank u for this. best write up ever. very intelligent and unique write up.

  9. 'LA

    November 12, 2018 at 1:39 am

    Sharp! But can do without the “ke’s, o’s, & sha’s”…. Absolutely irritating, as is with the record skipping mediocrity she labours to explain.

  10. Ahmed

    February 18, 2019 at 3:31 pm

    Good article.We certainly have a big problem in this country.Trouble is,most Nigerians are ethically challenged.Public servants and politicians get away with every imaginable crime for the simple reason that the people are morally dead.Most will steal given the chance.Thats’s why those in positions of power are so loot anything in sight.They know the people are all thieves.
    Take a look around.How many people can you trust to behave with a modicum of integrity?
    One in hundred?
    For as long as we are what are,we shall continue to live our pathetic,stone-age lives.

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