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Date Published: 05/12/09



In this part of the world, we are encouraged to respect and honour our elders even when their behaviours cannot be understood by us. Many of us grew up following the steps and directions of these our elders even against our wishes and the prompting of our minds. We were taught to respect them if not for anything but for their wealth of experience. It is said that what the elders see from their sitting positions cannot be seen by a younger person from a standing position. So we grew up learning not to question their words and actions. But when we become a little bit mature, we begin to navigate away most of the time from those things that we had been made to believe and live with.

The problem in most families and even in the polity is between the aged members and the young ones. In most cases, the older generation insists on having their thoughts followed religiously and the young may want to alter the status quo. It is very true that the only constant thing is change. It is also regrettable that the older generation resists change in thought patterns. The truth must be said, and the truth is that many are growing old but have not grown up. Many are expecting to be respected only based on their age difference and not what their minds can produce. We have many old people around who have not grown up and they expect you to confer with them for advice or suggestions. When that is not the case, they say you do not have respect for your elders. 


I want you to consider a profound quote with me at this point. “Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child, and your princes feast in the morning! Blessed are you, O land, when your king is the son of nobles, and your princes feast at the proper time for strength and not for drunkenness!” When I came across this, the picture of our great nation was on my mind. It looked obvious that Nigeria had been led by ‘children’ and may still have little children on the driving seats in different fields. The quote explains that the polity is doomed when children assume the position of leadership and the princes or nobles feast in the morning when they ought to be working and putting things in place. That seems to be the situation with our nation.

When you have children in the house, you would notice that one thing you have to contend with is their character flaws. The problem with the leadership in our nation is that of lack of character. And it is said that when character is lost that everything is lost. It is the character of children to prefer to play, wine and dine when they ought to study or do some work. Our leaders prefer solidarity visits by their kinsmen to putting basic amenities in place and letting the people feel the impact of governance. They prefer newspaper and television good will messages and adverts to playing by the rules and maximizing our intellectual capital. To them giving graduates motorcycles to ride around town are poverty alleviation.

A child does not know that poverty is not the absence of money. Rather it results from absence of knowledge. Instead of addressing the underlying causes of poverty – minimal productivity resulting from a lack of intellectual capital – our child-like leaders have focused on giving false hope to their people. The children in the corridors of power need less talk about poverty alleviation and more action to eliminate poverty. Many people who should have graduated from the university are still there owing to strikes. The children in power prefer sorting out political differences with fellow politicians than listening and addressing the welfare of lecturers. Their lack of genuine interest in education shows that they do not want poverty eliminated.

It is only a child that does not realize that a country like Singapore does not have oil but can boast of about thirty-two refineries, while our nation cannot boast of one working refinery. Only a child does not realize that the people’s potentials are far more valuable that what lies beneath the soil. Our princes are feasting in the morning – excess crude oil revenues were shared amongst the tiers of government and wasted with basic infrastructure and amenities begging for attention. Only a child does not know that Nigeria is a hyper-consumer; decreasing production, increasing consumption, and increasing poverty. Our king is a child, and the child does not know or realize that we are consuming what we do not produce, producing what we do not consume. A child may not know that a growing economy is a producing economy. When the king is a child, Nigeria remains a sleeping giant and all the manufacturers relocate their businesses because of power crisis. When the king is a  child, radio and Television stations are shut at will and journalists are harassed doing their work  in a 'Democracy'. The child needs some growing up! 


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