Sometimes I imagine myself as an alien; a being from outer space, visiting Earth incognito, and the first country I landed in in my spaceship was a country called Nigeria, and after a few decades living among them, concluded that it is an interesting yet confounding and hazardous country where they have enough but whose greedy and selfish people (leaders and followers) ensure that nobody, not even those selfish and greedy amongst them, ever have enough. It is a conundrum to the alien, who can never understand why a people can be so self-destructive, self-flagellating, self-deprecating, indolent, gullible, and helpless as to allow such poverty and hopelessness amongst their teeming population.
Conclusion? Nigeria, as we know it now, is a dysfunctional country; a country of endless possibilities and impossibilities. A land and a people struggling perceptibly very hard against itself to develop to its full potential. A people so used to, and conditioned to abnormalities, that normality, to them, is now abnormal. A crazy country of near-crazy people, leaders, and followers alike. I don’t understand it, even as one of them.
The alien in me wonders why these hapless Nigerians are marching towards their doom, unseeing, unhearing, silent yet very vocal, religiously, and ethnically fractious and divided. They are like lambs to the slaughter, held by nose-rings by their over-paid, over-worshiped, over-valued, over-pampered and corrupt leaders, who have never proven themselves worthy of leadership and take everything from the people but hardly return anything to the people.
These political elites, comprised of all kinds of doubtful characters and supposedly brilliant ones, are killing us directly and indirectly with their corruption, lack of vison and focus, insensitivity, greed, selfishness and what not. We keep on saying “Olorun mu won”, (God don catch them) but we are not doing anything much about it. OK, since Buhari came to power over two years ago, we keep hearing news of trillions of looted funds returned under cover willingly to avoid jail or exposure, and the daily revelation of corruption against so many past and present government officials and politicians, how many have been charged to court, not to talk of being convicted? Let three or four of them be jailed for 20 years and you will see a change. Some indicted public officers, who should be in jail by now have even been surreptitiously recalled back into service. And this by a government that came to power mainly because of its anti-corruption stance and campaign. Many indicted individuals are even now ministers, senators, and chairs of many agencies. Thar, she blows, me lubbers!!!!!!
Nigerians are sick and tired of reading about revelations and scandals; they want to be reading of convictions and jail sentences (if not a few executions by firing squad).
Our people also condone corruption, because of selfishness, religion, and ethnicity. That is another problem. And we celebrate wealth, especially ill-gotten wealth. The mentality of Nigerians is that if a man makes his wealth illegally, that man must be smarter than you, so you acquiesce to him and adore him.
The Real World of Nigerians is where the non-corrupt are considered foolish; where mediocrity, indolence, and corruption, are rewarded while merit, honesty and hard-work are ignored and even punished sometimes; where those in power build private schools, and ignore the public schools they all attended free of charge while growing up; where their own children do not attend such schools but rather attend the best schools around the world.
Nigeria is where the medical consultant will check you medically in general hospitals but prefer to treat you at his or her private hospital; a country where you think it is your family’s turn to bite from the national cake as soon as you are appointed to a public position.
It is the same country where government officials preferred to spend Dollars or Pounds within Nigeria because it is easy to carry on than heavy useless Naira, and of course confers more status on them than if they carry the Naira. Our country that the church members cannot afford to pay the tuition fees of the same school their General Overseer used their contributed money and tithes to build.
Corruption is endemic in every facets and areas of endeavour of our country. Need I keep saying that?
In Brazil, the President was impeached recently, so was South Korea; the so called Big Boys (politicians) going to jail, people condemning corrupt ex- and present rulers. This is the same process everywhere around the world. The problem in Nigeria is that we don’t condemn these set of men of dubious characters and integrity; we keep celebrating them, even giving them inane nicknames (Okanlomo, Oshokomale, and all kinds of nicknames that don’t sound right to sane ears, especially in the South West and South East). I feel sorry for Nigeria – this country is drowning gradually. These guys have a large percentage of Nigeria’s money with them.
War on corruption is a collective responsibility of us all. In fairness, it was Obasanjo who laid the foundation to fight corruption by really and consciously establishing the EFCC and the ICPC; let us build on it. Our legal and judicial system is corrupt too. President Buhari came to power on the back of anti-corruption and a reputation from his military rule as a disciplined man, but nepotism, favouritism, regionalism, and cabalistic suffusion seems to be derailing the good reputation and the anti-corruption war.
The Nigerian Corrupt or the Corrupt Nigerian have enough money stolen and salted away and can hire assassins to eliminate whoever crosses their way. They fight back viciously and murderously to protect what they have looted.
The problem of our society is elite based. The elite creates diversionary scenes; the Media took the baits; gullible Nigerians pick on the bones and our dogs bark at the wrong trees. Ignorance and laziness has reduced majority to point of dullness. We can hardly deduce or figure out issues with our senses. What have been long regarded as abnormal in our communal society are now so normal that we now regard normality as an aberration and abnormality and abnormalities are now endemically and consciously accepted as norm.
The rivalry among our ex-military men and some of their collaborators is another thing that is tearing us apart and very destructive to the lives of all Nigerians, especially our youths. The Nigerian civil war, it was them; June 12th, it was them; our present-day Constitution, it was them; Halliburton scandal, it was them; the corrupt life and style of Nigerians today, it is them. These men and their collaborators are living in opulent wealth while the rest of the population live in abject poverty. They have taken Nigerians as hostages and we look at them helplessly and haplessly while we beckon unto God and pray our way out of this imbroglio. The real enemies of Nigerians and Nigeria are Nigerians…!!!!!
It is clear to most Nigerians now that our Senate, House of Representative and House of Assembly members are simply a bunch of self-serving felons. They have even turned themselves into the Judiciary by calling for unfreezing of accounts frozen by the EFCC, and have tried on many occasions to usurp the powers of the Executive. They do not even know their roles, responsibilities and functions as dictated by the Constitution they swore to uphold. They are all over the place to cover their own criminal and illegal activities.
What can be done practically to remove and replace these crooks should now be our focus. To expect thieves and criminals to cleanse themselves and to change their ways is never going to work and we can moan and groan all we like, they will never ever change since they believe that they are untouchable.
The Nigerian constitution includes a provision for the power of recall by constituents. Should every single constituency not have an active body organising such recall? When these dis-Honourable “Sinators” and “Legislooters” see their colleagues being recalled one by one, then they will sit up and will be forced to serve the people that placed them in such plum positions to start with.
Revolutions need not be bloody; they can be attained by using existing powers in different ways.
Tell the Truth always!!!!