Tag: corruption

16 Aug 2016

Corruption Between Nigerians And The People Of Lot

Josephine Agwu is a cleaner who works at the Murtala Muhammed airport in Lagos. At sighting a cash of $12,000 within the airport, all that comes to her mind was, “this is not mine, I must return it to the authority.” She did exactly what her mind told her and what followed her action was absurd and appalling.
“Was she destined to be poor in life?”. “If she doesn’t need it, can’t she give it to a relative who is in need?”. “Eeyah! Had it been I was the one who saw the money, alele!”.
These are echoes from some Nigerians following Josephine’s decision to return such a huge amount of money. That was sometimes ago and things are not as hard as it is now in the country.
The economy is bitten harder day by day but that doesn’t stop another person who shares a similar thought with Josephine to take the path of honour. That person was Mohammed Ogbanago. Ogbanago works with a popular commercial bank in Lagos as a security guard attached to the bank’s entrance and recently the sum of $10,000 got lost from a customer in the bank but on sighting the money, he returned it to the authority. Again, there was a cacophony of condemnation from those who saw his action as continuous sanction of poverty by the man.
In a recent interview he granted a Nigerian newspaper which I read online, Ogbanago said he did the action to convince many Nigerians and the world over that not every Nigerian is “fantastically corrupt” as erroneously opined by former British PM, David Cameron.
Indeed Nigerians are specially made people who are hardworking and the most happiest people on earth. We are people who turn every situation to anything you can think of, be it joke or satire. In fact, the late music icon, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti captured it well when he described Nigerians as people who enjoys suffering and smiling.
Before now, Nigerians hardly take other person’s property because their own is ever enough for them to savour. The fear of God was there and people’s conscience were still intact and working perfectly. Then you can display your wares outside without having to stay there while buyers only take their needs and drop their moneys as well. There was a high level of trust. Everything was working in Nigeria including the “powerful” power sector.
Things later changed with corruption becoming the norm in the society. Kidnapping, cultism and ritual killings then followed while rape, adultery, fornication and lack of respect for the elderly coupled with a new generation of Nigerians who believe in cutting corners to reach the El Dorado.
The internet age further dealt a big blow to our morality with the emergence of “yahoo boys” and “e-dating” which has led to many becoming victim of rape and assault in the hands of their predators. It also cemented the activities of advanced free fraudsters also known as 419.
So in the Nigeria of today, for you to be morally upright and tries to preach it while also practicing it, then you must be ready to bear the brunt from every Tom, Dick and Harry. You will be chastised and call all sort of names. Hence being upright in Nigeria most especially if you want to come up with an anti corruption toga, your skin has to be thick.
The case of Nigeria is closely related to the people of Prophet Lot who was described in the Bible as well as the Quran as a pious leader. His people were so corrupt that they were obsessed with anyone who tries to preach morality and a corrupt free society. They were the foremost of mankind who practiced homosexuality. They even tried to rape the guests of the prophet hence indicating the height of their moral decadence.
The people of Lot were so obsessed with anything good that they vowed to drive away anyone who tries to uphold justice, equity and fairness among them. Their end was disastrous and the rest is history till today.
For Nigerians, we have surpassed the feat achieved by the people of Lot as we are totally obsessed with every form of policy or reform that will bring about sanity into our ever decayed system. Or how do we explain the scenario whereby someone found a missing money or valuables and decided to return it since his or her conscience will prick him or her but our response to such person(s) will be to rain curses on them, saying they can never make it again in life.
We have lost our morality and it is even difficult to be just and fair or even speak the truth knowing fully well that doing such may lead to the end of the road. The girls have no shame again. The boys are ready made rogues while their parents have no moral justification to even tailor their lives to live a life full of dedication to humanity through handwork and above all the fear of God.
Most parents even buy certificates for their children and also steal public funds in their name –  even the unborn children have existing accounts dedicated to them. Corruption is now part of our life and that’s why it is now a burden to many Nigerians since the start of the Buhari government. The government have been blocking their illegal routes and also seizing their properties which were gotten from fraudulent means.
For the first time in Nigeria’s history, a sitting Governor’s account is frozen having been found liable to have gotten the money in the account from fraudulent means. The number three citizen in the country is also on trial while revelations are already unfolding about the number four citizen following allegations that he “padded” the country’s 2016 budget.
One thing that baffles me about some Nigerians on the ongoing battle against corruption is the fact that some of them are saying that the government should “bring back corruption” stating that the present state of the economy is as a result of the president’s fight against corruption. They had posited that when he did not start the anti graft war, the economy was better for it. And just like the people of Lot,  those Nigerians want the status quo to remain so that they can reap from where they have not sow.
In salvaging situations like these, the basis will have to come to the rescue. The basis here implies the home, educational and religious institutions. These three institutions have crucial roles to play in reshaping Nigeria. It is a nexus of solution that must be explored for us to return to the tabula rasa.
25 Jul 2016

The Psychology of Settling

When you study the history of electioneering in Nigeria since 2003, you will discover that there is a recurring trend. That trend is called “settling”.

In the Nigerian Presidential election of 2003, Gani Fawehinmi was one of the Presidential aspirants. He was a man who people loved and who had a great record when it came to standing for what’s right. Yet when the results were announced, he had just 0.41% of the total votes compared to PDP’s Olusegun Obasanjo who won 61.94% of the votes to win a reelection.

In the 2007 election, Pat Utomi looked like he had something upstairs. He contested at a point in our national history when Nigerians were saying they were tired of politicians and needed technocrats and people who had the know-how when it came to the workings of a democracy. Pat Utomi should have been a shoo in going by this national body language. But he was only able to get 0.14% of the votes compared to PDP’s Umar Musa Yar’Adua who won 69.82% of the total votes to emerge President.

In 2011, there was a nationwide delusion. Nuhu Ribadu, the face of anti-corruption then stood no chance against PDP’s Goodluck Jonathan.

In 2015, while some Nigerians were torn between choosing the PDP or APC, others agreed that Kowa Party’s Remi Sonaiya would represent a shift from the old order of recycling and mergers to a new order of competence and accountability. But again, Remi Sonaiya of Kowa was able to get 38, 076 votes compared to APC’s Buhari’s 15, 424, 921 votes.

What I am trying to show is that we have made settling an habit. We always know who can get the job done, who can be a new face compared to the old ones we have been seeing since 1960, but somehow we always manage to convince ourselves that those people won’t stand a chance. Before long it spreads, we start hearing: “Dat man for change dis kontri o, but he no fit win. If to say he dey APC.” Or “Dat woman sabi o, you no hear how she dey answer questions? But she no fit win. If to say she dey PDP now.” And like that, we convince ourselves and those around us that those better alternatives don’t stand a chance. And true to our predictions, those better alternatives go on to lose, resoundingly.

Now there is a psychological warfare at play here and it has been on for sometime now. It’s the same psychology that politicians used to win elections in time past. It’s the same psychology behind: “Whether we vote or not, dey don sabi who go win.” And so we sit at home and refuse to vote and with our refusal to vote elect men undeserving of that position.

But 2015 was an eye-opener. Misguided as the activities of the 2015 elections are shaping up to be, there are still lessons to be learnt from it. In 2015, the same politicians who had been waging this psychological war on us tried to awaken public consciousness by drawing attention to that war. There were jingles asking people to vote. There were adverts disabusing people’s minds of that notion of “whether we vote or not, dey don sabi who go win.”

The effect was startling. People voted and stood by their votes at a time when the nation was so on edge that some were running to neighboring African countries to escape the post electoral violence they were certain would occur. People slept at polling boots. People used torchlights to count votes. All over the country, voters defied the “normal”, defied the sun, went without food and helped usher in what they were certain was a new era.

Now, that psychological warfare is a two-faced war. We may have won one when we flung out the “Whether we vote or not, dey don know who go win” anthem, but the other side of that war is yet to be won. Until we fight and win that war, we will never truly have who we want in power. We will keep on settling.

Instead of giving up on who we think can get the job done because they are not running on the platform of a popular party, how about we support them because we know they are capable. How is it that we are trying to break free of the PDP and APC stranglehold and yet we still wish our preferred candidates ran on the platforms of those parties? How is it that we want to go to Canaan but we keep pining for the things of Egypt?

The reason why politicians who run on the platforms of these known parties win is because their political platforms manage to convince the people that the “battle” is between just two parties and that a vote for any other party asides those two is a vote wasted. From then on, the people begin to feel trapped between the devil and the deep blue sea. They begin to feel that they have to choose between two devils and must choose the lesser devil.

But that is psychological warfare at play. To fight and win this second phase of the war, electorates must vote who they think is best no matter the odds stacked against him/her. You will find out that millions of people feel the same way about the person. Politicians win because people vote for them. Without people, they are not better than the ordinary man on the street.

This second phase of psychological warfare will not be shouted from campaign podiums or ring from campaign jingles; it is the ruling class’ (regardless of party) weapon of mass disillusionment. The only way to win this war is to unlearn the lies we have been told about how “The woman no fit win. If to say she dey APC.” or “The man sabi o, but he no dey PDP.” We must stay true to ourselves. We must ditch the herd mentality of “Na PDP my grand papa and grand mama dey vote for tete.” Or “Na APC my fiance dey support o” and just be true to ourselves. The better alternatives can only become better choices when we give them a fighting chance in our heads. The moment we write them off as doomed-to-fail in our heads, we will only be playing into the hands of the psychological warlords bent on preying on our gullibility.

When those of us who know refuse to settle for lesser devils, our thoughts, our actions will spill over and affect the psyche of those on the streets. Did PDP not share money in 2015? Did that stop anything? Forget the “no power can stop an idea whose time has come” thing; the “idea” that won in 2015 has been around since 2003, why didn’t it fly before 2015? It’s because before 2015, the people were still held captive by the manipulations of the “whether we vote or not, dey don sabi who go win” psychological war. A victory over that psychological manipulation ushered in a totally radical way of viewing things and influenced the actions of the electorates in 2015.

That second phase must be won too to allow for the emergence of a new order separate from the familiar faces that have been around our political space since 1960. It is a victory that must be won in our minds first before spilling over to influence our actions and that of those around us.

03 May 2016

#PANAMAPAPERS: A WAKE UP CALL

We campaign and walk the streets, we carry placards in the scorching sun chanting “we want an end to inequality” The truth is our forefathers were victims of inequality, we are victims of inequality, and if care is not taken, generations to come will be victims, but why? Because we have never been equal to elites! (more…)

26 Apr 2016

Senate’s suspension of CCB, CCT & ACJ Acts amendment: How far can the masses go?

News filtered in during the course of plenary at the Nigerian senate chamber last week that the ongoing amendment to the code of conduct bureau and tribunal act as well as the administration of criminal justice act had been suspended.

To some Nigerians it is a welcome development after the pressure was mounted on members of the red chamber to drop the amendment at this period. (more…)


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