Nigeria with its great potentials turns 54 in a couple of days. At age fifty four, no one should claim he/she is still a toddler. As human, at fifty four, one should be able to show evidence of life well spent having left the age of forty, considered to be age of wisdom. With fourteen years after age of wisdom, it is foolishness to be seen and still be trying to walk on two legs.
Every life has its own peculiarity. Many are early starter, by t age 54, they have become grandparent with lots of success stories to be told. While some are late starters with lots of delays in the course of their lives. We have seen people like Colonel Sander who started KFC at sixty five .
The brand has become a global brand with franchise across the world. What distinguishes these later starters though is the acknowledgement that they have no time to waste anymore. They changed the patterns of their lives, crafted new vision which they wanted to be known and lived by. They then hazardously pursued these new dreams with every breath they had.With such determination, it became impossible not to succeed.
With Nigeria situation, we may want to say things have fallen apart and the centre cannot hold. This is a Country with founding intention to succeed, become a global reference point for the continent as well as the world. Our Leaders once boasted the problem with us is not money but how to spend it. We seem to have landed too early into a Money pool we had no capacity to manage. It is a known issue that when human gets access to money or resources they are not prepared for, the money often return to the hands of the person who can manage it well. This is also true for Nations.
Billions of Naira fund are carefully laundered to the advanced world. This is largely so as we continuosly hear or read of Millions of Cash exchanging hands or being taken from Nigeria to others. In which advanced Country have we heard close to Ten Million dollars cash is being moved by two individuals plus one. May be it exist but they managed it well. We are very smart Alec, we can beat any system to it. Despite the cashless Policy, it is still not very uncommon to see individuals traveling around with over a Million Naira at a time.
Our notions about money, influenced by poverty mentality, has really affected our psyche. Given little opportunity, we always ‘aim at breaking the jinx of poverty in our present situation as well as stack more for the generations to come’. We often forget prosperity is not about cash or outward thing. It is about values, inbuilt integrity as well as adequate capacity to create wealth. Minus this, it is a matter of time, what we stack at home today may become a curse or parable in the mouths of others tomorrow.
We do know our Politicians are becoming smarter, learning from the antecedents. They have seen older Politicians who corruptly enriched themselves in the past four decades who had become wretched again because they lack proper money management skill. Today they are Investing in houses, oil blocks, Schools, stock markets among others. The only challenge is that as soon as many of them die, trouble often start. Most of their children do not know how to manage the money.
Our Political arena has become like the used menstrual towel. It is soaked with blood money. It stinks. May be because the writer has never tasted Politics except a close shave of serving in Governor’s office during his mandatory national service after undergraduate studies. That was when Military was ruling. Even then I am of the opinion if one is given only four years, that is enough to make a lifetime mark. Like we say here ‘what does a child?’ But what I saw then was the lure of Power, opportunities, position among others were enough to keep a person’s head permanently submerged in this water. Especially if you do not have values, a sense of worth aside from positional power.
We keep saying we want to influence people at National and global level, so we move from being Local Government Chairman to being a Governor,Senator, Minister, Vice President or even President without anything to show. Except that the tummy is now protruded. Only few grow grey hair so soon like President Obama. In the process of time, some aspirations had led to shedding innocent bloods, where necessary, corrupting some ‘godfathers’ or letting down or guards in terms of values because we do not want Economic and Financial Crime to pursue us.
Everything is about cash. It is an adulterous system ‘money for hand, back for ground’. Sound people run away from Politics here because of all these. Not many people can play the cash game without borrowing or stealing. It all begins with application form for aspirants. The forms and positions are for highest bidder. A product of cash driven economy.
People Democratic Party(PDP), the leading Party in Nigeria, has come out with application fee and internal selection process for its candidates. A Presidential aspirant has to pick form with whooping Twenty Million Naira(equalvalent of over One Hundred and Twenty One Thousand -$121,200,000,-US Dollars). That is if our mathemathics is correct which we hope. Yet our election umpire here, Independent National Electoral Commission has remained unconcerned. He who pays the pipers dictates the tune? We have not heard any complaint from party members themselves. They know it is a worthy investment. The state purse is there to loot.
Governorship, senatorial, House or Representatives, House of Assembly as well as Chairman aspirants have their own cut-throat fees to battle with as well. If you live within Nigeria and you do not work with telecommunications, Oil Companies or related industries, that may be all you have saved through your lifetime. If you ever come near that. We are still awaiting other political parties’ fees. Since the standard has been set by PDP, we may not expect any less.
People who lived in advanced world do not talk in terms of Millions like an average person does here. In some shops in the advanced economy/country, paying for goods bought in cash to the tune of three Thousand Pound may be a big issue. Here even school children can spend five Thousand cash in a shop without anyone raising eyebrow. How can we escape this and bring necessary changes as Nigeria turns 54?
Make political position less cash attractive: Do we truly want to serve? Let us cut down salaries and allowances of our Politicians. Many claimed they are full time Politicians, if the political positions do not attract lots of cash and glamour, let us see how many people will follow that route.
Let us makes our institutions and Judiciary dogs that can bite: our Institutions and judiciary are weak as of today. The constitutional process of getting justice itself is something else. Let us make the rule of law supreme as we have in China etc where there is due punishment for any offender whether you are public or private individual.
Let us rebuild our value system: Nigeria and Africa are people of value. But money had corrupted everything. Even the highly exalted traditional system. People do not care about good names again. Position and honour now goes to anyone who can throw cash around. Whether that is gotten legally or illegally. We must get our priorities right.
Let us invade our basic schools with civil education and other related value building knowledge: Adults already have their mindsets fixed. We can do little, but because the future of our nation is In its tomorrow. We need to go back to the basic education system and start our reformation. Ten to twenty years’ time, we will be there.