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MOVIE REVIEW: Why every Nigerian politician should see the Joker

So why should every Nigerian politician see the joker? It is a prophecy, it’s a statement for the future...everyone who controls any part of the wheel of power in this country is building a Gotham city.

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Joaquín Phoenix as Joker (Photo credit: India Today)

Nigeria has been described as a shylock society where the strong prey on the weak to keep the social strata in place.

The Joker is a political satire set in Gotham City, a failed state where the rich prey on the poor to keep alive the social strata which keep the poor perpetually marginalized and disenfranchised so that it makes it practically impossible for them to climb the social ladder.

Set in 1981, the Joker is a story of Arthur Fleck, a struggling stand-up comedian who got so sick of being neglected by the society as if he does not exist that he turned into a life of crime to assert his social relevance thereby turning the city of Gotham into chaos.

Many who have seen the movie, the Joker, would agree with me that the Gotham City is a fictional glorification of the Nigerian society and Joker is a total summation of the 99 per cent of the Nigerian population who are disenfranchised, neglected, treated with scorn and contempt and abandoned to eke out a living for themselves in a dilapidated economic system intentionally structured to favour only the rich.

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Gotham City emits every aura of the Nigerian world of man-eat-man; where the rich gets richer by feeding on the blood of the poor.

Ask me why every Nigerian politician should see Joker, the movie, and here is my summation. The answer is so glaringly it can be seen by a child.

From every indication, the Nigerian system is tilting towards apparent collapse. It is degenerating into lawlessness, pulsating inequality, and open sore corruption creating all-round despair.

Yet, the Nigerian politician proudly sits on top of this chaos, feeding on this lack, taking advantage of the resulting poverty attendant to this power structure. He glorifies himself as the people’s messiah and lords himself over them while stealing them blind.

In the Joker, Thomas Wayne labels the poor as being envious of the rich because they are successful. He regards them as clowns using a mimic of the joker’s mask. In Nigeria, if you criticize a politician’s extravagant display of stolen wealth, you are tagged envious of other people’s success. You become an enemy and state apparatus is used to hunt you down.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian masses who work have nothing while those who do not work but are privileged to be kit and kin of the ruling masses have it all.

Gotham is rife with screaming unemployment rate which makes it impossible for anyone to get a paid employment. Arthur is only able to get a job as a hired clown. Despite the fact that he has to support an aged sick mother, he is fired when his gun falls off while performing in a children’s hospital.

I have said it many times, that Nigeria is the easiest place to get a job. The hard part is in knowing the person to give you the job. It is almost impossible to get a job in Nigeria without knowing the job giver or knowing someone who knows someone who knows the ‘job giver’.

For this reason, the largest percentage of the employable population is out of jobs, struggling like Arthur and taking unpaid and underserving jobs to make ends meet.

Yet, the politicians, like Thomas Wayne, are riding in plain glory on easy-made wealth and are only interested in winning elections. In Nigeria, it seems we are just busy conducting elections which have become a plain strategy for selecting friends of family and families of friends to occupy positions of power.

Like Thomas Wayne taking advantage of Arthur’s situation and the chaos in the city for his political campaign, the Nigerian politician takes advantage of our poverty, our illiteracy, our no hospital, our no road, our insecurity, our no school, etc to campaign and win elections.

Nobody cares about the masses. Because by doing so, the gap between the rich and the poor will keep widening and widening creating a chasm that will be impossible to fill. And the Authors of this world will forever remain the Arthurs of this world until they let their imaginations run wild and descend into the abyss of darkness and turn our world into an unbearable Gotham for even the Thomases.

Lastly, as I write this article, I can hear the ululation of children in my neighbourhood, screaming ‘up Nepa.’ We have not had light in two days now running into the third.

Social services in Nigeria is a foregone issue. Every aspect of social services from electricity to proper drinking water, from motorable roads to functioning hospitals, and from a working educational system to basic employment opportunities have been neglected to take care of itself. Therefore, if you want roads, you build your own, if you want power you buy a generator set, and if you want quality education, you send your kids abroad.

In joker, we see how Arthur lives. We see where he lives. In a dilapidated, abandoned building reminding you of the ghettos in our towns where the poor are forced to live because they can’t afford anything different. In contrast to the mansion where Thomas Wayne lives.

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Arthur has a medical condition which makes him laugh uncontrollably in odd times. He depends on his medications to survive and keep the reactions at bay. But the social services is suddenly cut off and Arthur is now unable to afford his medications. Who cares?

How many Nigerians find themselves in this situation every day in this country? How many Nigerians die in the hospitals because there are no medicines, no necessary medical equipment, no money to pay hospital bills, and no electricity while an operation is going on in the theatre, no medical doctor to attend to a pregnant woman, how many Arthurs will be let loose if this trend continues…?

Yet, our politicians jet out of the country every day for any medical case to a better country with taxpayers money. Leaving our hospitals and other social institutions to deteriorate, decay and die.

It is just palpable!

So why should every Nigerian politician see the joker? It is a prophecy, it’s a statement for the future. We, collectively, the rich, and everyone who controls the wheel of this country, are building a Gotham city.

The Nigeria we have today will eventually become a Gotham, and every unemployed, disenfranchised Nigerian today will eventually become an Arthur and when those who can afford it have all jetted out of the country to Europe, to America and Canada, what will happen to the rest of us who can’t afford to.

Welcome to Gotham!




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