Crooked politicians are bad for the community, for the country, and for the world as a whole.
They are a true representation of us because they come from amongst us. We all grew up in the same communities, largely shared the same values, and mostly have the same aspirations. But it is indicative that we voted for them. Good or bad, we know them. Somebody knows them, or knows somebody who knows them. And somebody kept quiet. Somebody promoted them, extolled their virtues, and granted them access to constitutional power. Whether it was done for personal benefit, factional interest, or misguided belief, we allowed them into office.
We sprung them and therefore the collective we, individual exceptions not withstanding, fully deserve the leaders we get!
No situation is constant, and history bears this out, that the quality of leadership changes over time. Once upon a time this great nation had visionary leaders, inspired motivators who had little regard for, or recourse to ethic complexities. Today, it is different. It seems you have to be crooked to go rise in the public space. One would have thought that a bent arrow would not travel very far, but that assumption is presently coming up as false.
Truth is that this phase too shall pass. Life and governance, like seasons and everything else succumb to ebbs and tides, and swing like pendulums. No matter what we do, and no matter how long it takes, Nigeria will be great again.
The purpose of this generation is to swing it on its way to greatness, and usher in the longest possible season of growth and prosperity, the kind that fosters pride and patriotism.
At this point of inflection it makes no point to fight to the finish. No one should hold their position in total disregard of others. We are all victims of circumstance.
Th politician, having met a situation of easy access to resources would be termed a “fool” by colleagues, spouses and community not to succumb to the crime of opportunity. Even the “good” one’s amongst them do keep quiet because, while they keep away from the cameras and refrain from making statements for or against anything, the brazen greed of their colleagues gives them continued access to easy money. The look innocent in church and mosque, are quick to point fingers at the more gangsterly amongst them, put are just as culpable.
The government on its side has gotten away with mediocrity for so long. This mediocrity has been so profitable that they would be stupid to reform themselves. They don’t call it mediocrity but prefer it to be seen as helplessness. They are quick to label it as bureaucracy, to act helpless when they refer to the slow and insensitive way the public service works, and quick to remind you that they are helpless as individuals until directed. Still they own the best houses, travel more than any other segment of the economy, have the government pick up their bills, and constantly over-inflate project costs for personal gain. Occasionally they mouth phrases like reform, due process, service contract, and change to placate the populace while their deeds continue unabated. They look innocent in the church and mosque, are quick to point fingers at the more gangsterly amongst them, but are just as culpable.
The Executive Arm of government runs on the tired fumes of a jealous opposition. Usually starved of money, influence and community significance, they grab every word or deed of the sitting government and make promises to the electorate that even they do not understand. All is fair as long as they make it into office. They know winning is all that matters because by tacitly allowing thieving politicians and an incompetent public service to continue they have a natural shield for themselves. They strengthen this shield by appointing their religious and ethnic supporters into public office as heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies. They approve mass employment for their ethnicities at taxpayers expense, and settle in with their heart on eight years in office. It’s always been about the tenure, all the while making a ghastly cacophony as they endlessly suck the resources of the nation. Some of them look innocent in the church and mosque, are quick to point fingers at the more gangsterly amongst them, but are just as culpable.
And the judiciary? That a goal post without a goalkeeper. Some of them look innocent in the church and mosque, are quick to point fingers at the more gangsterly amongst them, but are just as culpable.
Why culpable? Please show me anyone you know who has has resigned from office due to moral dissonance.
The truth is that no matter how bad things are, it’s benefitting someone. We need to let that sink it.
And we need to know that the biggest enablers of these crimes against the country are the youth whose future is being mortgaged. The whole world has wondered for years what it would take for the Nigerian Youth to wake up. Many reasons have been given, some quite far-fetched, the truth always being easier to see but hard to explain.
Thankfully a spontaneous combustion happened with #EndSARS. A welcome turn of events. Miss-tagged and focused on too little, it was the spark that was needed to begin moving the pendulum in the right direction. And it was all that was needed to mobilise the powers-that-be to fight back.
Truth is, power concedes nothing without a fight.
Truth is also that no one should fight these changes. They are inevitable. If government, politicians, the public service, the judiciary and the complicit private sector can get their collective heads out of their dark places, Nigeria will be great again. And the greatness will be for all of us. And it will happen a lot sooner and less painfully than we thought.
I pray for wisdom for the youth. That they will continue to demand for change peacefully. That their demands will always be guided by principles. That their purpose should be for the greater good of all, and not a kind of retribution. Afterall, they are the youth and time is on their side. Time to catch up and overtake. Do not worry about the perceived wasted resources. There is no point crying over spilt milk. Rather, turn that angst into drive, and determine that you can yet be world leaders. Then go ahead and do it in style.
In word and in spirt let the youth offer amnesty to all who brought us to this point. It’s more than altruism. It’s wisdom. With amnesty the hidden resources of our motherland will be brought into the system again, for the rebuilding of our fatherland.
There is only one thing that must stop right now. I hope we all can bring some influence to bear on those around us because both the angry youth and the hoodlooms, both the onlookers and the pallooters are from amongst us. The only thing worse than the system that raped us is the wanton destruction of the few things that we have. Let something at least be salvaged. Destroying medical stores, public property, and the few achievements of this country is a special kind of arrested development. Let’s stop it right now.
And then let the reconstruction of a Great Nigeria begin. May heaven and earth support our noble cause.
Dr Sam Ikoku
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