Charity begins at home

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By Denrele Animashaun

The things that will destroy us are: politics without principle; pleasure without conscience; wealth without work; knowledge without character; business without morality; science without humanity; and worship without sacrifice.-Mohandas Gandhi.

Something happened last week  that  would  have  gone  under the  radar  for me, had  it  not  been  brought to  my  attention. The  governor  of  Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola, ran an advert in the Vanguard requesting those who wanted to celebrate the anniversary of his tenure not to send  gifts or run adverts for him rather they  should  donate the money that should  have been used for the felicitations to Osun feed a school child initiative (OMEAL) and the Osun care for the elderly initiative (Agba Osun).

Now that is a turn up for the books. I am  not a big fan  of  our crop of politicians but this  gesture shows insight, forward and  altruistic thinking. The money should be best spent on those that need it the most. Strange but true, those with money tend to give people with money!

About time the rich spend their money on helping our  nation  than trucking it to some off shore abroad.  If they have any  moral  fibre left, they  should do  the decent  things  like  Dangote:  recruit  more, invest in people, set up  local businesses,  and  in  needed health outposts  in the villages.

Time after  time, we have been made  to watch  the bad taste of the politicians or  the stupendously rich showboating, giving  piece meal charity  to  the  staged poor in  front of  an army of paid photographers.

Our country  is   facing a dearth of  morality and humanity direction  and  we seem not to  want to  shift, all  we do is  victim blaming while  the  level  of existence  is  so  abject.

We should  hang  our heads  in  shame. We can no longer ignore the obvious; we have lost the moral fibre that binds us and we consistently  fail the younger generation and  there is  no  excuse for it if  we fail  to admit  that there is  a collective  responsibility, that it needs a collective remedy.

What  is clear is that   the  Nigerian politicians  have failed woefully and  Nigerians do not believe that the government is working hard enough to combat to  reduce   the  overwhelm the  level  of  inequality that  pervades  our country.

Nigeria is corrupt, wholesale and endemically   corrupt.  It  had  to be  said and the   blame  is   squarely  at  the  top, but  it  permeates  every  strata  in  our   country . Yes, I am sure too many are professing their innocence. The politicians and public officials consistently  siphon the public coffers, they line their pockets  with money that is meant to  improve the lives of ordinary citizens.Of course,no wonder  people  have  little faith in their leaders or their fellow citizens.

We  need to take a  hard look at ourselves  and  admit  that  this  way  of  life  is  not  working and  cannot work.

From the President and his governors, I often hear but what can we do? Well, do something, anything is better than this.  Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. How on earth do we re-elect corrupt policitians for abysmal performance?

The  trust  is    lacking   in our society, we  do  not  trust   one  another;  we  definitely   do  not  trust  the  government.  A   trust is the building block of a well deed society. In a capricious society like ours this is lacking. The  level of  corruption is tearing  our social, moral   fabric  apart and  had  led to  lack  of trust  and confidence  in the governed.

What we   experience  instead is   perpetual  hardship  of  majority  of   ordinary   citizens. The  level of  social inequalities is  indicative  of  a  corrupt  government ,riddled  with  crime ,inter tribal and  religious  violence.  We  need  to address  corruption because  it  makes people  hopeless  of the future though  I  must  say  we,  as   Nigerians,   are  always   hopeful  that   there   would  be  some  divine  intervention and  Nigeria   will  improve.

But these   people have  been  waiting  long  and  doing   nothing  to  better  the lot  in the  interim. In the  meantime can  we  take  some  social   responsibly   by  sweeping  our   corner? Teach  our  children  right  from  wrong, educate  our children by   being  a  role  model  for  good and  not demand  that  they  comply  while  we  do  not.

Our  nation  is fuel led on jealousy, pride  and  ignorance  because   majority  of  people  live  without  while  the  few  have  so much. How do you explain 70 per cent of Federal Government’s revenue going for payment of salaries and entitlement of civil servants, leaving only 30 per cent for development of 167 million Nigerians? Do the   maths it add up?  There  has  to  be  a  social   change,  people  must  want  a  change ,the inequality  is inhumane  and  immoral.

I  read  somewhere Aregbesola said: “Nigeria is stranded in the pit bog of avoidable socio-economic challenges because the two core ingredients of democracy outlined in this theme have been either half-heartedly appropriated or ignored completely. We are witnesses to the common development in which citizens rejoice openly over the misfortune of public office holders simply because they are convinced that those individuals came into sudden wealth at their expense.”  Yes,  of  course .So  why  won’t  public  feel  slighted?

We need to address  this state of  impasse if  the  government and the powerful feel so patriotic and are  decent  enough. They   should  lead  by taking    a  high   level  of social  responsibility,   it  is  only  then, we  can   collectively   fight poverty. They   should stop   diverting  public    money  for  the   nation  into   private  pockets , close  the  inequality  gap by  making   quality,  free and affordable  education and  health care  of  the  less  well  off.

Then  you   can  begin  to  close   the  inequality  gap. And reduce poverty. People  should not   be  given ad hoc  hand out; we should  make   sustainable  programmes  that  help people  out  of  poverty and  give  them pride  in themselves  and their  society.  So if we combat corruption we begin to tackle inequality.

The one that got away!

“Evil Spirit is behind Nigeria’s electricity problems” – Minister of State for Power.

The Minister of State for Power, Hajiya Zainab Kuchi, yesterday told South African investors that evil spirit were behind Nigeria’s darkness preventing the country from taking her pride of place in the comity of Nations.

She made the comment while addressing members of the African National Congress (ANC), the South African Ruling Party, which led a team of investors to her office in Abuja.  I reserve my comments. Actually, there is no comment.

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