THE FORTUNES OF UNFORTUNATE NIGERIANS
I could not spare putting the following political mixed grill together on paper. It is unfortunate that in Nigeria we have some leaders who are only good at doing the wrong things and insisting that their obnoxious acts should be seen differently from the evil results they generate. It is expected that leaders should be above board in terms of personal integrity and self-respect. Even when a leader appears uneducated and lacking in learning, he is expected to show effective “common sense” and the learning of his orientation, the type received from birth until personal accountability: the learning only parents give to their offspring. The moral deficiencies churned out by our political, economic and military leaders expose their lack of adequate or proper education; the one by orientation as well as the one by academics. I am sure many will agree that education, whether by academics attainments or by simple home training, refines a man morally and intelligently.
It is expected that if a man has no “home training”, at least if he went to school, he is expected to learn how to deal and relate with other people, this is the reason it is always said a graduate qualifies for his attainment(s) “in character and learning”. This notion submits that even when character is not molded at home; it should, on the long run, be molded in school. Most of our leaders are men and women who, whether correctly or mistakenly, have acquired several degrees and have accomplished inordinate desires. Academic pursuit(s) for them is a “MUST” to achieve, and many go a great length, and make desperate efforts, to acquire up to “masters” and “doctorate degrees”, some “honourable” and others “honorary”, including chieftaincy titles: coming out learning only unholy and despicable methods for chiefly mastering and doctoring evil against the people whom they cajole, maim and kill in their desperation for power.
What should one expect in a country where leaders love cosmetic appearing and pretentious living, showing off primitive vanities as what really matters in life? The Holy Book says “take heed and beware of covetousness, for a man’s life consists not in the things which he possesses”. We live in a country where a professional is recognized by the papers he got from “God knows where”, whether they are genuine or not, no one cares; nobody cares if the papers truly qualify their presenters for the assignments they assume: are they capable of effectively and effectually defending their qualifications through progressively productivity and excellence? Unfortunately, what we have are men and women who fill up their garbage heaps with arrogant self-denial. I am so angry that for the past 16 years Nigerians allow some strange men into our political space, making us swallow our stupidity for been unmindful of who we allow as our leaders.
I have taken this time to come this far because I have some issues I wish to bring into perspective and to clarify. It is unfortunate that the impression I have of our political, economic and military leaders is that of a people who think Nigerians are utterly and irredeemably vulnerable to abuse and abandonment, and have therefore chosen to see us as a stupid and an “anything goes” people. They appear to believe that they can do anything they wish and get away with it. They leave me with the impression that the laws of our land are meant only for the common people to respect and obey; and not for demagogues like them. This is very unfortunate. They see personal and corporate responsibilities as what they deserve from others. They do not necessarily have anyone for and to whom they are responsible. I welcome Nigerians to this era of the “fortunes of the unfortunate Nigerians and the misfortune of the fortunate Nigerians”.
Senator Godswill Akpabio’s road accident
While I share my sympathy and commiserate with the relatives, friends and well-wishers of Senator Godswill Obot Akpabio over his recent road accident in Abuja, as I join them in thanking God for his fortunate survival, I would not wish to close my eyes to what may have caused that accident. Thank God he did not die. His accident has offered Nigerians a new vista in testing President Buhari’s sincerity in and commitment to the “Change” mantra. I thank God for using Senator Akpabio to create this opportunity, a simple and less cumbersome one, geared to test the Buhari administration’s sincerity in fighting corruption. For the purpose of enlightenment, every offence committed against the laws of this country is corruption, to the extent of the infringement of those laws: it is therefore onus on the agencies responsible for investigating Senator Akpabio’s accident to let Nigerians know if or not a Senator was so irresponsible as to allow himself to be driven by his driver into an accident in broad daylight.
From eye witness report received, the accident happened because Senator Akpabio’s driver tried to beat traffic regulation, powered by an electronic device that ensures directional signals at road junctions. Knowing and obeying traffic laws are conditions for the approval of the Nigeria’s Drivers’ license. The road junction where Senator Akpabio’s car crashed into another is a road junction Senator Akpabio has used routinely for not less than 8 years and should have known about the traffic lighted junction to be responsive to caution; as a Nigerian who is held in high honour. Whatever should proceed from him should, no matter what, be of good example to other Nigerians. This is why that one accident MUST be publicly investigated and prosecuted accordingly, it is an appropriation to decency and it will ensure the contentment of Nigerians.
As Senator Akpabio recuperates on a London hospital bed, he must know that we know that he is entitled to N100m medical allowance per annum as a former governor of Akwa Ibom State, and his hospitalization in London, which will come with some claims that the Akwa Ibom people will bear, it must be clear that his accident was from the carelessness of his bloat-headed driver and the his irresponsibility: it will therefore be a robbery of a people for him to build a multi billion Naira hospital in the State and yet return with receipts from hospitals abroad for Akwa Ibom people to pay, for the trauma he carelessly incurred. Where should the Akwa Ibom people nurse their own trauma of his continued rip-off?
The entire legal and political system in Nigeria is arrayed to protect those who are the major betrayers of the people, for the purpose of self-enrichment and aggrandizement. Corporate national evil is far greater in magnitude than the sum of sins committed by the individuals comprising in this country. It is important to realize how the very system of a nation could be corrupt, grasping, oppressive and exploitative; making the sins of a nation systemic and corporate than individualistic. Oftentimes, the corporate sins, which are more damaging and destructive, are left unattended, while the individual sins, especially of the downtrodden, which most times are minor are the ones punished. This reminds me of the lyrics of the creator of the “afro beat” genre dissecting the difference between “pen robbery” and armed robbery; how an armed robber would steal little money and go to jail while the pen-robber steals a bullion van load of currencies yet be allowed to throw a party to celebrate his crime. This is corporate and systemic evil.
Update on Senator Stella Oduah’s $800, 000 BMW Armored Cars
Recently, news had it that Senator Stella Oduah has sought and won legal cover against the desire of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate and prosecute her for involvement in the purchase of two armored cars when she was the Minister of Aviation in the Jonathan administration. I wonder why she should choose to unearth the passions that rose against her in the heat of the time by seeking the present legal protection just to frustrate justice been served for her misjudgment and official impudence. Although I agree that it is within her rights to seek legal protection or redress when her rights are infringes upon, but the reason she procured for this protection is unacceptable. Why should an unjust trampler of the rights of others to social justice be protected from a just arraignment? A leader is expected to show good judgment and wisdom in decision making and decision taking. Why should Senator Oduah push for us to see the prudence in her decision to emotionally spend government money without recourse to laid down guidelines and service rules. Why should she want Nigerians to see prudence in her approval to buy two armoured cars for $800, 000 because some inspectors from the International Aviation Authority (IAA) were coming to inspect 25 airports in the country? The interest of Nigerians in this case is not whether she bought the vehicles at all, but why it should be at such exorbitant cost, a sum beyond her executive powers to approve, undermining the powers of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
I therefore posit that even if Nigerians would overlook the amount Senator Oduah approved for the purchase of the cars, we cannot overlook her undermining the powers and privileges of the Federal Executive Council: this is a systemic crime, it is an act aimed at weakening an institution of our Federation, the highest decision making organ of our executive arm of government. If she is excused of her corporate crime, she must answer for her systemic crime against an institution of the Federation. Punishments for crimes should no longer be limited to individual crimes like armed robbery or corporate crimes like official stealing but we must also punish those who abuse our systems causing systemic collapse of our overall government bureaucracy. As it is with us today, our institutions of government, instituted to bring order in the way we carry out government business has been grossly abused.
Today, we are clamouring for the strengthening of these institutions. What happens to the people who exploit and weaken the institutions, making them vulnerable: like the pension scheme scams, which has caused the death of many retirees of government? Senator Uduah’s idea of dodging the question and pursuing irrelevant issues in the face of such serious crime will not be condoned. Taking political power in order to abuse the common people will no longer be tolerated. It should be clear to our leaders that a new leadership strata is evolving amongst young Nigerians; while they hold unto the power, we are working to build capacity and trust amongst Nigerians, with the sole aim of instigating a revolution against our present crops of politicians. We will all, one day, arise like it happened in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Yemen, and which is still persisting in Syria. We will arise as one people and chase every “crazy bald head out of the town”.
It is a “washy wish” effort to simply religiously “save” individuals in any community, and expect that the community would get straightened-out. The systems and structures of evil amongst a people must first be dealt with, and then it can effectively transform the lives of individuals. Individuals are corrupt because the systems and structures are corrupt. It is widely suggested that the systems that order the life of a nation are economic, political and religious. The most secular and materialistic nation has a religious inclination, because it is with a commitment to modernity to bring order and structure to every existence. All other social institutions (education, health care, culture, arts and social services) are subsystems of the economic, political and religious systems. That was why, in former days, religious institutions and governments competed between themselves to see that the people are awarded free education, free health and medical care, and recreational facilities. This encompasses the leaders’ sympathy for the people they govern.
Discipline and trials strengthens a nation but license erodes and weakens a people. We must be warned against the temptations of wealth, power and prestige. These usually undermine the gift and power of God as they envelope us in self-pride, as if these give us power over our breath, and yet they push men to take the lives of others strictly in order to sustain and maintain status quo: people who oppose goodness, wealth which erodes brotherhood and brotherliness; and power which undermines responsibility. Laws are really not rules to be obeyed, but conditions of relationship engraved in the hearts of men. It is therefore hypocrisy when our response to religious liturgies, laws and rituals divorces our responsibilities to our fellow men. The Almighty God did not give us his laws for his own benefits but for creating a just and an egalitarian society, which recognizes God as the owner, the giver and the taker of all things.
An authentic corporate relationship with God inevitably leads to a politics of justice. All dreamers of a perfect society failed because humans are not perfect. Laws and stipulations are not for perfection but for justice. It is impossible to have a perfect society of imperfect humans, but it is possible to have a just society of imperfect humans. The politics of justice readily deals with the redistribution of wealth to the poor, limitation of the power of rulers, and justice in the welfare of ordinary people. It is not enough to build a nation by practicing individual justice. When people can see that all the good in life is not deserved but given by God, they will desire to share their goods with others. If by our religious confessions we accept that all men were equal before God, then we have a duty to individually and collectively ensure the elimination of poverty, economic and political oppression and the protection of the weak.