By Kate Henshaw
Driving home in the evening on a Wednesday after a long day in the studio recording new episodes of my cooking programme on TV, I saw so much that made me wonder at our mind set as a people and if the change we seek will ever come.
People have been provided with a pedestrian bridge yet they choose to cross the express road and the bridge is abandoned or taken over by petty traders. If it was not provided, they would complain and say nothing was being done. We drive with reckless abandon, driving against traffic, speed past when the red light is on (especially Okadas) as if the traffic lights do not apply to them; cut each other off when we can.
On my way home, I took Oregun road, heading towards Ojota and just before the bus stop, one lane was completely overtaken by Okadas and petty traders which made it quite difficult to go through. Someone I gave a ride to commented on the area and said the authorities had chased the people away before but they were now back with a vengeance, daring them to try again to remove them.
You give someone a job to do and he disappears with the funds not caring the outcome but this is the same person that will be in church every Sunday, praying to God for a miracle and open doors! We (I inclusive) criticise our leaders for all sorts of wrong doing but are they not drawn from amongst us?
They grew up in this society and went to school with us, grew into adults witnessing all sorts of shenanigans and when finally elected by us, bring all they carried from within our society, community, into the place of power to rule over us and not serve. Only a handful truly serves and become great in our sight.
What will it truly take to get back to that place where we are incorruptible? A builder my brother has known for over 8 years and who built him his own home did the most unforgiveable thing. He was given another project because he was deemed trustworthy. He quoted for the job and brought in people to work on the project.
Halfway through, he could not be reached on the phone any longer. He had bought more materials than was necessary and then put the rest of the cash in his pocket. My brother ended up having to pay the workers. This is one who is a deacon in church! If you cannot trust someone whom you have known for that length of time, who then can you trust?
Morals are like the Golden Fleece these days, so hard to come by. This was not the case when I was much younger. You would have to explain every new thing you acquired to your family. If you drove into your neighbourhood with a new car for instance, you would explain how you got the money but these days, family members not knowing or caring the source of income, would be full of praise and pride at whatever new acquisition came their way.
It is mind boggling. The more I think about this dear country of ours, the more despondent I become. Helplessness and confusion fill me with dread that we may not come out of this sinking sands anytime soon.
It is so easy to steal from your fellow man/woman, cheat him or her, lie and even kill without remorse; without so much as a backward glance, without affect and it will be ok. Why? Where is the love gone, the milk of human kindness has dried up and there seems to be no way out.
Surely there are still a few men/women who can stand as a beacon of hope for the future generation. I want to believe that all hope is not lost but I am quite sceptical. Where do we begin? Surely there is a better way to do things. We stand to be constantly seen as that nation that has no scruples; our green passport is already being regarded with disdain wherever we go.
Not everyone must be tarred with the same brush is the argument I have had with friends from other countries. There are still a few good men and women around. Where are they though? Have they been swallowed up in the tide of greed, corruption, ruthless killings and selfish attitudes?
It is so easy to do the right thing but we choose the short cut that is bad. We turn a blind eye to everything bad in the society and try to explain it away as the devil’s handiwork. We then offer a paltry word of ‘sorry’ hoping everything will go back to how it was. The harm has however already been done.
The President has been having meetings with the various arms of government on corruption and the issue of continued violence in the north, be it by the dreaded sect BH or the herdsmen who suddenly have turned to assassins overnight (really, hmmm).
I sincerely hope it yields fruit (there are so many things that are still hanging in the balance e.g. fuel subsidy abracadabra) and that this is not just one big smoke screen because of the level of criticism his government is receiving in every part of the country. The job of raising Nigeria from its knees cannot be left for one person alone; it must be a collective effort for in our diversity, lies our strength.