By Kate Henshaw
What is the value of a Nigerian life? What are the costs and implications of being a citizen of this great Nation? I say great because indeed, we are in terms of population and resources at our disposal, but not because we have all we deserve in terms of functional infrastructure and good quality of life.
It is becoming increasing difficult to make ends meet, and I am sure a lot of people will come to the same conclusion; even the so-called rich citizens are not exempt from the myriads of problems we face in our daily existence if they are truthful.
Growing up as a teenager, my parents could afford to give us the basic requirements; we went to good schools, ate good meals and dressed well.
These days, we who are now parents face an unending battle with the high cost of living to provide for our children.
If you have a roof over your head, own a generator, can afford at least two meals a day and have an automobile, you are blessed indeed.
Let’s not include the multiple taxes you pay for non-provision of potable water, good roads, good health care, unpolluted environment and qualitative education for your children by government because this is a long story with no happy ending in sight.
Reverend Jesse Jackson said: “Leadership is more than winning elections; it demands improving the well-being of the people”. The Federal Government of Nigeria recently gave itself a pass mark in assessing the performance of this administration since they came into power till date.
The jury is still out on that report card. Granted this administration did not bring about the depth of rot and corruption we have in this nation but it can do a whole lot more than pay lip service to the needs of her citizenry.
A true leader needs to be courageous, decisive and above reproach. He needs to be fearless when it comes to making sure that the right thing is done no matter whose ox is gored.
Surrounding yourself with people who will not tell you as it is will not augur well for any leader. The truth no matter how bitter must be told, for in the end it will serve a greater purpose than a lie. An honest conversation with the average Nigerian will put it all in perspective.
As I went to have my pedicure the other day, the sound of the generator in the salon was hard to ignore as usual, and I do not think it has ceased for one day, unless the place was closed for the business.
I shook my head and sat down for my treatment. As the owner walked past, I initiated a conversation with her, and asked her how business was; she shrugged and said, “Kate, we thank God”.
She had just finished renovations to make sure her customers were comfortable in the surroundings they chose to patronise.
I asked her how many generators she had and she replied,” Three in number”. My mouth was agape and of course, you know my next question; how much diesel did she consume? “1200 litres” she replied and she added that it barely lasted her the week.
However, the local government tax collection agency would hound her to pay dues despite the absence of an enabling environment for her business…(the road in front of her salon has been an eyesore for years! )and non availability of steady power supply is another unwholesome issue for years!
She said when she complained to the tax collectors, they retorted: “our own na to collect, go meet government and complain”. Shikena! Lobatan!
Rehoboth means a place of enlargement and flourishing. It refers to the land of inheritance that only God can give and that the enemy cannot steal from you. Nigeria is that land which we have been given as Nigerians to dwell in. We should not strive to live in our land; we should live peaceably and in comfort knowing that the lives of our children, our lives and property are secure. The supposed affluence of a small percentage of people when there is more than enough to go around should not continue to be the norm. Our young people are aware of the display of unimaginable affluence by our politicians, yet they do not have jobs, the youth of today are not ignorant of unfulfilled promises of our politicians. They soon will find other ways to earn their keep and it will affect every one of us including those who honestly work for a living. The road to Rehoboth is in need of urgent repair and attention. The sooner we get cracking, the better it will be for us all.