Date Published: 11/23/09
NIGERIA: A PLACE WHERE A DAY AFTER BECOMES WORSE THAN THE ONE BEFORE (2) By Temple Chima Ubochi
Example has more followers than reason. (Christian Nestell Bovee)
Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality (Warren Bennis)
Forethought and prudence are the proper qualities of a leader. (Caius Cornelius Tacitus)
Corruption is like a ball of snow, once it's set a rolling it must increase. (Charles Caleb Colton)
Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be. ( Ralph Waldo Emerson )
True leadership must be for the benefit of the followers, not the enrichment of the leaders (Robert Townsend)
A government, for protecting business only, is but a carcass, and soon falls by its own corruption and decay. (Amos Bronson Alcott)
If vice and corruption prevail, liberty cannot subsist; but if virtue have the advantage, arbitrary power cannot be established. (Algernon Sidney)
When cowardice is made respectable, its followers are without number both from among the weak and the strong; it easily becomes a fashion. (Eric Hoffer)
Corruption is worse than prostitution. The latter might endanger the morals of an individual, the former invariably endangers the morals of the entire country. (Karl Kraus)
Behind a leader there must be followers, but they should always be on the lookout for the main chance and ready to change sides if the current leader doesn't deliver. (Mary Douglas)
This writer still believes that the pivotal problem of Nigeria is lack of good leadership and not that of good followership. What the people see is what they emulate. My people say that “when the she-goat is chewing cud, its kids would be watching and learning (nne ewu n’ata nri, umu ya ana ele ya anya n’onu).” This writer is not trying in anyway to exonerate the followers in to-to from the problems of Nigeria, but, he sees the followers as the secondary problem while the leaders are the primary problem.
There's no way anybody can sequester the attitude of the leaders from that of the led. Attitude flows downward as the fish starts to decay from its head. To make it very simple and very elementary for all to understand that what/who is up, controls what/who is down, let’s take the human anatomy and physiology for example: If the brain is healthy, the whole body would function well, but, a sick brain produces a sick body/attitude. Suffice it to say that when a person’s brain is in order and functioning as it’s supposed to, all other organs of the body would be performing their respective tasks accordingly, but, if the brain has a problem, it would affect all the other components of the body. The mad person on the street, who’s picking empty cans, dancing when nobody is beating any drum for him/her, laughing when there’s no comic around, seeing/hearing things a sane person could not see/hear, have behavioural disorder caused by an abnormality in the brain (the head).
This writer is calling on Nigerians to continue holding on while praying, God is seeing our sufferings. This writer challenges everybody to set their heart right and make their path straight. Very soon, God will raise for us leaders who would work for the interest of both the rich and the poor, the uplifted and the downtrodden, the strong and the weak. We’re all suffering it now, but, it would not last forever. Let’s not forget that the darkest part of the night is the closest to the dawn.
This writer would want to share this with you. It came from one of my best friends in Netherlands Antilles (Caribbean). I came to know him since I started writing for Nigeriaworld.com, although we’re yet to meet (in person), he has been taking care of my ecumenical needs through his weekly writings. Thank you Ibeawuchi Vincent Aja, I dedicate this part of the article to you. I appreciate your effort, be assured that my love for you will never die. I hope to meet you one of these days.
Mr. Ibeawuchi Vincent Aja sent this to me, but the poor Nigerians and the leaders of tomorrow (those God would anoint) could find meaning in it:
“I have found David... a man after my own heart... Acts 13:22. Some of God's promises are fulfilled quickly. But others, like the one God gave to David telling him he'd be king, have to be fought for. The Jebusites controlled Jerusalem ; they taunted David saying, '… You will not get in here… ‘( 2 Samuel 5:6 NIV). To make matters worse, Jerusalem was on an elevation hundreds of feet above David's army. The only way up was through a water cistern where they had to wade and climb through pitch-black darkness. 'Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion… ‘( 2 Samuel 5:7 ). Understand this: if He has to, God will bring you up through the gutter to get you to the throne! Notice two words: 'nevertheless' and 'took.' When you're up to your neck in problems and the enemy is saying, 'You won't make it,' stand on God's Word and declare 'nevertheless.' Rise up in faith and claim what God's promised you. '… The people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits' ( Daniel 11:32 NKJV). God can show you how to exploit the situation for your good and His glory.
But don't expect everybody to celebrate your success. '… When the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel , [they] went up in search of David… ‘( 2 Samuel 5:17 NKJV). You'll have to fight to get to your destiny - and fight to hold on to it. You can't 'coast' on old victories. With each new battle you have to get fresh instructions. '… David inquired of the Lord, saying, "Shall I go up against the Philistines?"… the Lord said… "Go up, for I will… deliver the Philistines into your hand"' ( 2 Samuel 5:19 NKJV). Today, go forward knowing God is with you.”
The crux of this article starts forth: The people are the government and the government is the people. Why we have government is because all the people cannot rule at the same time, otherwise, the government would be unwieldy and anarchic. As such people decided to give their power to a few to exercise it on their behalf. So the people look up to those they elected or those selected for them, for direction. It then means that those submitting themselves for elective posts should be the uprights and should be ready to set good examples for the people to follow, otherwise, such a country would be taking the fast lane on the highway to hell. Nigeria is driving full throttle on this highway and the end might be nearer than most of us had envisaged, no thanks to the demeanour of our elected/government officials.
Good behaviour on the part of the led should not and must not precede good leadership and governance. The Nigerian people all along have looked upon the leaders for direction and found them corrupt and copied the mindset from them. In the 1970s and 1980s, governments were inept, corrupt, but, not as overtly as now, that was why corruption was not as very pronounced then as now. Muritala Muhammed was one of the most corrupt leaders in Nigerian history, but, death didn’t allow Nigerians to grasp his corruptive tendencies well, that’s why people are still eulogising him till today.
In the 1970/80s, the value of naira was high, things were better, people still have a nostalgic feeling for those good old days. Then, nobody left Nigeria for greener pastures elsewhere; only those who could not secure admission into the then high classed and competitive Nigerian universities, went abroad to study and some did not even wait to collect their certificate before rushing back to Nigeria to a waiting job, car and house loan. Graduates from Nigerian universities and even secondary school leavers then had to choose jobs; state ministries were even going to secondary schools on recruitment drives, even before students sit for WASC exams and many (students) rejected some offers. Then, although there were crimes, but, they were isolated, unlike now they are as pronounced as well as the norms.
If one accuses Nigerians of being docile or inertia to a fault, it would be understandable, because, they have suffered to the extent of sacking the ruling elite, but, the problem is that people of different ethnic stocks view each other suspiciously, the downtrodden from all ethnic groups have been brain washed to see people of other ethnic/tribal groups as the cause of their problems, because, the elite of the different ethnic groups are exploiting the poor for their selfish gains. The Nigerian poor masses can be exonerated here as far as the precarious condition Nigeria finds itself in, is concerned, because the same people, their children, friends and cohorts have been ruling Nigeria, whether as military men or politicians, since 1960.
Some might say that people get the kind of government they deserve, but, the problem is that Nigerians have never had the opportunity of electing their governments. Successive governments have been superimposed on the people. With the exception of 1993 when the people elected their government for the first (Chief MKO Abiola of the blessed memory) that was never allowed to stand, every government in Nigeria was either through military coup or rigging. To show how a government can change the people’s psyche: The Buhari/Idiagbon government came and changed Nigeria and its people within the short time it lasted, despite its shortcomings, but, all that fizzled out once the (Buhari/Idiagbon) government was overthrown by IBB and his cohorts. Based on the corruption unleashed by the IBB government, the people went back to their old bad life styles they jettisoned during the Buhari/Idiagbon regime.
Now let’s look at the few state governors that really won their election. I am sure Fashola of Lagos State won his election, see how he’s performing; Peter Obi of Anambra State has the people’s mandate, that’s why despite being impeached or sacked three times by forces of darkness, enough of which that state can boast of, he went to Supreme Court three times and recovered his mandate three times. Obi’s political opponents are behind the high crime wave in the state as they want to discredit the able governor through that way and make him not re-electable. But Obi’s opponents are fighting a losing battle as the people of the state are now aware of their ploy. Unfortunately, Prof. Soludo has decided to contest the governorship post of the state, he cannot beat Obi in a free and fair election, Soludo would lose the election and that would not augur well for his status. Anybody who advised him to contest the gubernatorial post against Obi, does not mean well for him. He must have been ill-advised.
All the same, the point here does not mean there are no other governors really elected, who are under-performing. What this writer means is that if the people are allowed to elect their governments at all levels, the chances are that majority of the elected would put up above average performances.
Let’s look at a foreign country. People might give example of USA as a place where the people are imbued with a sense of love for the country and would do everything to protect it (the country), whether they have good or bad government. It’s not always the case. During Bush Snr. era, USA was on the edge due to lack of good leadership and good governance, the economy took a sharp downward turn and life became unbearable for many. This writer knew so many Americans (soldiers and civilians working in military complexes) who refused to go back to the US when it was time to leave then. Also, Many Nigerian-Americans left there for Europe, some left their families in US and came to Germany to do menial jobs like loading of containers for people shipping goods to Nigeria then, just to eke out a living any how. These were people with degrees acquired from American universities. Then, entered Bill Clinton who showed good leadership and good governance and things picked up, but, Bush Jnr. came and messed the whole things up again. The GOP is waiting for Obama to clear their mess again (it’s now the norm that the GOP messes things up and the Democrats clears it for them).
In the 1970s and 80s, Nigerian government officials were satisfied with whatever they earned and it was really enough for most of them. Then, the insatiable greed for acquisition of wealth by all means was not as pronounced as today. Some of them might have been corrupt, but, they were not in the majority as it is today. Then, the only way to differentiate a commissioner or a senior civil servant or government official was may be, through his official car (Peugeot 504 or 505) and these cars were affordable to many Nigerians then. At a time, the cost price of a 504 car was about N7, 000 that even some parents offered one to their sons and daughters upon graduation as a token of appreciation for earning a qualitative degree from any of the then qualitative Nigerian university. Nowadays, Nigerian government officials are living above their earnings/means and are provoking the people by their ostentatious life styles, riding cars and living in mansions with millions of naira price tags. Tell me how the leaders would be corrupt and the led would be saints or how the leaders would be saints and the people would be devils? There’s no way that can happen. Attitude flows from up to down like the spring running from the upstream to the downstream; if the water gets dirty upstream, it would get to the downstream in such a condition, a dirty water cannot flow from downstream to upstream.
This writer knows that we have to set our hearts right first, then our family second, then our community third, our state fourth, our country fifth and the world the last. This writer also understands that the leaders came from family, community, state, first before hitting the national scene or wherever they may be, but, let’s not forget that a good person might take off from his family, community, state to a leadership position at the national level and for one reason or the other, gets corrupted up there. A good person might get up there and tries to fight the corrupt system, but, gets frustrated and might be forced to leave or join the rotten system. We know that in Nigeria, one hardly resigns on principle. The only person, known to this writer, who did that, was Ebitu Ukiwe.
The government/system needs to work on the people’s psyche to make them better persons, if those heading the government/system would forsake selfishness and work for the good of all. The government need to evoke the “light” in the soul of every Nigerian for there to be order in the nation and peace in the world. It’s the duty of the leaders to evoke the best in every one and when that’s done, every other thing would just fall into place. A Chinese Proverb says:
“If there is light in the soul, there will be beauty in the person
If there is beauty in the person, there will be harmony in the house
If there is harmony in the house, there will be order in the nation
If there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world”
If Nigerians are criminals and the government does not condone it, it would never be sustained, then anybody caught in any crime, would be tried, sentenced and jailed. Look at the corrupt politicians today walking free and causing more harm to the people and economy of Nigeria; if that’s in America, it would have been a different ball game as the jail awaits offenders.
The man dies in him who keeps quiet in the face of treachery. The only thing that thrusts bad people to political positions is that good people avoid politics. Nigeria is unique in that people who want a chance to prove their mettle would never get it. Do we know how many people abroad who want to go home with the experience acquired in their country of abode, in order to put it to good use in Nigeria, but, would never get the chance? Who thinks there are no Obamas in Nigeria?
Before, the society condemned evil, elders were known for standing up for the truth and were never influenced with gratification of any kind, unlike now that society hails corruption and many elders are being influenced with gifts.
Those days, Peugeot 504 was the middle class people’s car, a sort of their status symbol then. People were contented with whatever they had; corruption despite being there then, was not as it’s today. Then, crime was isolated. Then, the bad and the ugly in every village/community were well known and avoided, unlike now that nobody knows who’s who again or people just don’t care anymore. Then, people slept with doors and windows open; when armed robbers go robbing somewhere and meet the doors to the place open, they would never enter there anymore because of the fear that the owner of the house might have got himself prepared for them, unlike now that they (the thieves) would thank their lucky stars for gaining entry without a struggle.
Then, the people were at peace with themselves, their community, state, country and God, unlike now that the insatiable lust for wealth has led many astray. Then, the cases of heart attack, high blood pressure, diabetics, sudden death, were remote unlike now. Then, the moral base of the society was fortified, unlike now that it has been eroded. Then, a child belongs to all and can be chastised by any adult from the village whenever he/she does anything wrong unlike now that even a "toddler" has developed wings and would not allow anybody to correct him/her.
Then, prostitution was almost a taboo, those who engaged in it were kind of ostracized and the shame used to be devastating, unlike now that Nigeria is exporting prostitutes to Europe because of the economic hardship and insatiable lust for money in the country and the greed in many Nigerians. There’s no justification for prostitution, the insatiable appetite for wealth has made many Nigerians to lose their moral bearings.
Didn’t we read that many Nigerian ladies now bear children for men just for a fee? That they (the commercial mothers) are all over town, in Lagos and other parts of the country, looking for men to conceive for, not as wives but simply for commercial purposes. And once they are delivered of the babies, they hand same over to their ‘customers’ and move on? The news said that it seems that with the nation’s economy teetering on the precipice and millions of Nigerians experiencing excruciating hardship, some of the citizens are, characteristically, adopting survival strategies with a touch of ingenious creativity. In this case, women are giving good accounts of themselves in the game of survival. We learnt from Saturday Sun Newspapers that the pregnancy-for- money has become a lucrative business, to the extent that many Nigerian ladies find it attractive. The men they bear children for may not be acquaintances or people they know. The bottom-line is the money involved. Conception could be through artificial insemination or sexual intercourse. To play the role, the ladies charge between N150, 000 and N200, 000. This sum, however, does not include antenatal bills. What a nation?
Family upbringing is no more influencing people’s behaviour. Now, people who are supposed to be examples for others, are now the culprits of worse crimes. For example, Governor Daniel of Ogun State and ex-governor Fayose who had Archbishops of Aladura and Apostolic Sects respectively as fathers, wrecked and are still wrecking havoc upon their respective states.
Joe Igbokwe once said that: Today, it is this burning desire to see Nigeria work again after 24 years of rudderless leadership that informed my decision to name those who were instrumental to this rot in the land. IBB started the mess in 1985 when he toppled the government of General Buhari, even though it was a military government.
Igbokwe said that General Buhari’s government was the most disciplined. He tried to change our bad habits by force. For him, since Buhari left government in 1985, he has demonstrated through actions and deeds that he has character, honour and integrity.
The seizure of power in 1985 by IBB was unnecessary and uncalled for. His reasons for seizing power was personal and not progressive, it bordered on greed and lust for power and not the desire to serve the fatherland. His eight years rule democratized corruption and corrupted our democracy. It was during his tenure that the term subversive generosity crept into our lexicon. It was during his eight years of misrule that the words ‘settlement culture’ crept into our political lexicon. IBB lied to Nigerians that he will hand over power in 1990 to civilians but failed. He lied again in 1991, 1992, and 1993 until he was disgraced out of office in 1993 without the grace to read his farewell address, after annulling a free and fair elections won by Chief Moshood Abiola. That singular incident took Nigeria back by 20 years and today 16 years after, the nation is still paying the prize of that criminal annulment.
To paraphrase Igbokwe further: If Chief Abiola had ruled Nigeria, perhaps Nigeria would have been different today. But IBB was not alone in criminalizing Nigeria, he found willing accomplices. The Tony Anenihs, David Marks, Olusegun Obasanjos, Ojo Maduekwes, Orji Uzo Kalus, Babagana Kingibes, Abdulsalami Abubakars, Ebenezer Babatopes, General Abachas, Olu Onagoruwas, Arthur Nzeribes, Abimbola Davis, Jerry Okoros, Emmanuel Iwuanyanwus, Ibrahim Mantus, Nduka Obaigbanas, Justice Ikpemes, Augustus Aikhomus, Tom Ikimis, Alhaji Ibrahim Dasukis, Ooni of Ifes, Sam Mbakwes and countless number of others of this world worked in tandem with him to destroy the genuine and free and fair democratic process that would have moved Nigeria to take her precious seat in the comity of nations.
Finally, this writer implores Nigerians to be steadfast, watchful and prayerful. Help is on the way, it might take quiet some time to come, but we shall overcome. We’ve suffered enough, God is hearing our sighs, and He has not forgotten us. All our problems are before Him, He will give us emancipation and freedom from our tormentors (looters of our commonwealth). The promises of God never change, so let’s wait for Him while still doing our own part. Heaven helps those………
To be continued
THE THANXS IS ALL YOURS!!!