I do not want to sound off as an apostle of doom; this piece is not about religion, but about the law of life. It is about the recklessness and impunity with which those who hold the reins of power in Nigeria conduct themselves and government businesses in and outside of the borders of the nation. It is a ringtone of reminder to them and their cohorts that there is something called THE LAW OF RETRIBUTION which usually catches up with a man no matter how hard and far he runs. He who hurts another man will be hurt; he who cheats another man will pay for it. For every crime there will be a punishment, and for every wrong-doing, there will be a consequence. He who cheats a nation cheats a people and robs many of opportunities to become what they could have become in life. Many, very many Nigerian politicians are guilty of this vice. Sooner or later, they will be appropriately rewarded, and it will be untold.
On August 16th, 2013, a Nigerian politician, Nse Ntuen from Akwa-Ibom state took a trip to the US via Baltimore with luggage full of US dollars. Out of sheer tomfoolery, he declared to Customs Authorities that he had only $5,000 on him, but had $82,000. He claimed he was going to donate the money to charity. Encyclopedia of lies makes a dwelling in the veins of many of them. When you are drilled by any US law enforcement agency, the encyclopedia will become an open book, and the truth will be revealed. It was in this case, and the money was confiscated.
Money that could have built schools, educate impoverished children, create jobs for miscreants now in kidnapping business in Akwa-Ibom now in the coffers of Maryland state government. 80,000 dollars in my hands will sink many bore-holes in my home town of Imesi-Ile, rebuild dilapidated schools, and equip our health clinic. The question I asked in a soliloquy was; who is this guy? How did he have access to that much cash? My journalist colleagues and friends residing in Nigeria later told me that cash in different currencies are stashed in unseen troughs of Nigerian politicians. “These guys travel with millions in cash. Fola, 80,000 dollars is their girlfriends’ weekly maintenance allowance”, I was told. Ntuen is just an example of what is wrong with our politicians. There are worse cases.
In the first instance, how did things in Nigeria get this bad in our very own eyes? How did these guys become so powerful, shoveling in so much wealth, and exercising pervasive, firm grip and control of the polity? Are these guys aliens who just strolled into our midst perpetrating this level of stench and decadence? No, they are all Nigerians. Some of them got power through force, and some through fraud. We all know how most elections are conducted in Nigeria. In all of the nation’s history, many of our leaders were, and are looters and loafers who seized the reins of power through force and fraud. If force is the foundation of how you possess a possession, then there is a time-bomb strapped around the edifice you have built. It will soon explode, for there is a law of retribution. If fraud is the foundation, then the house built up in quicksand will soon crash, because there is a law of retribution. These two factors of riding to power through force and fraud are contributive to how these present crops of leaders perceive government and governance.
The vetting process of Nigerian elected officials is fraught with loopholes that were taken advantage of. Who are these guys? What are their roots? What schools did they attend? What church, mosque, and Babalawos’ shrine are they drawing their spiritual inspirations from? What qualifies them to lead a people as sophisticated and informed as Nigerians? These questions carefully inform how leaders behave the way they do. Some of them lived for years and decades in the US, UK, Portugal, Russia, but did we bother to find out what were their sources of income? How did they make their money? Who were they abroad? These questions are significant in determining who our leader is as a person, and what his worldview might be.
For instance, if this writer chose to run for office, anyone in the world can track me down to my days in CKC Primary school in Odo-Ona, and African Church Grammar School all in Ibadan. You can also track me down to Ife where I trained and worked and the NIJ where I trained. My tracks are very visible in Sports Journalism in Lagos with the Tribune and Punch Newspapers. Providence Rhode Island, Baltimore Maryland, Lynchburg Virginia, Eagan Minnesota, Milwaukee Wisconsin, all in the USA will provide anyone with what you need to know about me as both a student and a tax-payer. In this dispensation of Google, anyone’s private information is now very public. We should know who our leaders are, not who they tell us they are.
Drug dealers are reportedly serving in our senate, swindlers and fraudsters are serving in the House of Representatives. Killers have reportedly become governors and cultists and robbers are their aides. People who never stepped within the four walls of any college imaginable become commissioners of Education just because they were able to forge some degrees and eliminate one or two opponents of the governor or senator. There are people who know who these people are, and where they are coming from.
The depth of decadence in Nigeria is unfathomable, and largely due to who our leaders are as persons. If we do not carefully analyze and consider these factors, our hope to turn things around in the nation will just amount to wishful-thinking. We then end up in political shadow-boxing and surreal sciamachy. Much energy expended, and no results achieved. A house built on thieving and deceiving is a house built on sand. It cannot stand. But a house built on sweat, strength, and sincerity is a house built on the rock. It will outstand.
THE LAW OF RETRIBUTION will catch up with a man no matter how hard and far he runs. He who hurts another man will be hurt; he who cheats another man will pay for it. For every crime there will be a punishment, and for every wrong-doing, there will be a consequence. He who cheats a nation cheats a people and robs many of opportunities to become what they could have become in life. Sooner or later, culprits will be brought to book in the court of man and God.