By Denrele Animasaun
“If I were to remain silent, I’d be guilty of complicity – Albert Einstein
It is apparently raining Naira, Dollars and Pounds and now, CBN may be complicit in not utilising trillions of naira in foreign exchange earmarked for trade. The writing is on the wall. We are a nation of light fingered hoodlums and scoundrels. No matter how you slice and dice it, Nigerians have been cooking the books and the proverbial has finally come home to roost.
It has been a long time coming and for far too long many of our politicians have been on a gravy train and helping themselves to our commonwealth. What a monumental shame that greed has been the undoing of such beautiful nation. We were once a proud and very hard working people, and inspite of our diversity, we selflessly worked together towards a progressive Nigeria.
So all those that have toiled for a better Nigeria, they must now be turning in their graves. This Nigeria is not what they worked and died for. You must understand that Nigeria was not that long ago, it was only two generations ago and to think that some hoodlums have brought our country to its knees and siphon the nation’s commonwealth. It is an absolute disgrace.
There is no denying it and it is there for the whole world to see, that majority of Nigerians are corrupt. And yes, I said it. Majority of Nigerians are corrupt. Charley Boy was right: ‘our mumu don do’. Time to stand up and let the corrupt people know that they are unpatriotic and we won’t be taken for granted.
Time to take a long and hard look in the mirror and stop pretending that we are holier than thou, too many are pretending to be religious but are robbing the nation dry. Many love to get rich quick and have this insatiable yearning for ill-gotten wealth that is only surpassed by their humongous greed.
It seems that everyone wants to be rich but no one wants to do a single honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. The world knows even if we as Nigerians deny it (we are fond of pretending that we are offended yet we continue to wash our national linen for all to see). We are delusional if we don’t call it as it is, fraudulent. Fraudulence is synonymous with Nigerians and it has become a comic fodder for international films and drama. There’s no hyperbolic to quantify the thievery of our so-called politicians, public officials and others in fine clothing, it is endemic in the very fibre of our national fabric. Institutionally corrupt and we seem crook and crannies. In the last couple of weeks and months, money has been rolling out from all over and surprisingly no one comes forward to claim it. We know why! Everywhere and everyday more and more money is being discovered. This is an outrage and it is symptomatic of what is wrong with Nigerians and also why all our institutions grind to a halt. Workers are not paid regularly, we do not have good roads, schools or healthcare and the majority of our young people are not in school, in employment or training. Now we know where the money went, these people are robbing us all. This is not a victimless crime. It is a crime against all Nigerians.
Earlier this week, acting on a tip off, the EFCC recovered an enormous pile of eye popping N4billion. It transpired that this latest loot belongs to the former deputy governorship candidate in Niger State. Of course, there is always a front disguise of a company or two or more to launder the loot, in this case, two companies- Katah Property & Investment Limited and Sadiq Air Travel Agency. These companies had N2billion each fixed in its deposit account domiciled in Guaranty Trust Bank. I sure hope the EFCC smoke him out from whatever hole he has gone aground in. Nothing that I have said is new but we have to look within that this is not the Nigeria we want for ourselves and for future generations.
We cannot be quiet and look away while these scums and miscreants rob, pillage and run it to ruin. Seriously, it saddens me and yes, it angers me and it should anger you. We are not helpless and we should not be hopeless. We, the people should want to change and change for the better, and we should demand the same from our leaders, nothing more and nothing less. I have witnessed a Nigeria in my lifetime that worked and thrived, one that was safe, health care that worked and I want that for my children and their children’s children. It is not a pipe dream and for those who have given up, I say this: you can either help shape up or ship out. We cannot give up on Nigeria. So if you do not want help please move out of the way for the people who want to. They say lunacy is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. It about time we stopped doing the same thing as it has not worked. If people care to want change for the better, then we, the people have to work together to make that change. It is the only place we can truly call home. We are Nigerians, after all.
North in my backyard
The Sultan in his goodwill address in Kaduna urged political leaders to keep politics aside so as to focus more on development issues that would improve the living condition of the masses. He was very frank when he pointed out that some governors are not addressing the real issues like the poor conditions of the roads or lack of basic infrastructure, instead they are constructing grand airports and white elephant projects that has no direct benefit for majority of the population.
The Sultan said “I have always talked about programmes that will touch the lives of the common man in the villages, on the streets pushing trucks, carrying water to sell to survive. We want programmes that will touch the lives of these people, not programmes that will touch lives of the elites alone.
“There are governors building airports worth billions of naira while our roads are a death trap. Governors who build airports when we don’t have functional clinics. Governors who build airports just for their private jets.
“I want to assure our political leaders that when we advise them, we do so with the fear of Almighty Allah, because if we don’t advise them, we will account for our own actions.
“So let’s put the building of airports and other white elephant projects aside and face issues that will bring water, food, good health, peace, security and make people go about freely without molestation.
“Therefore, let’s do politics of development, because I know very soon, we would be in 2019,” and said further: “We will use our votes to vote out those governors who refused to work for us. If you think 2019 is far, it is not far, it is very much around the corner. Therefore, my fellow citizens of the world, for those governors that work for us, we will vote them back, for those that have not worked for us, we will tell them to go back home and learn how to govern us better and try their luck next time”.
It seems the Sultan has lit the touch of truth and I for one applaud him for his frankness if only more of our leaders have gumption to tell it as it is. The power is with the people and it is time that people vote with their conscience and not for a small bag of rice. Time to listen to the words of the Sultan. If we do, Nigeria is on to a good thing.
The Sultan however commended the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, for the development programme for kaduna as such will enable the state to have a positive impact in the northern part of Nigeria; “we don’t have any other option than to make sure that this project being put together by the Kaduna State governor succeed and for this to succeed, there must be peace. Nobody will invest in a place where there is instability.”
The North in my backyard II
The Emir of Sokoto mentioned that :”look at the human development indices, look at the number of children out of school, look at adult literacy, look at maternal mobility, look at infant mobility, look at per capita income, the North-east and the North-west of Nigeria are among the poorest parts of the world, not just Nigeria.” He went on “As far back as 2000, I looked at the UNDP figures on human development indices, Borno and Yobe State, if they were a country on their own, they would have been poorer than Cameroon, Niger and Chad. And “Nobody saw this because we see Nigeria as a country that leverages on oil rich Niger Delta, the industrial and commercial reach Lagos, and the commercially vibrant Southeast and you have an average.”
According to him, if Nigeria were to be broken into its component parts and “this part of the country would be among the poorest, if it were a country, it would be the poorest nation in the world and we do not realise that we are in trouble.
“We need to understand the root of the problems of Northern Nigeria, because we have adopted an interpretation of our culture and religion rooted in the 13th century that refuses to recognise that the rest of the Muslim world has moved on.
“Other Muslim nations have pushed forward girl-child education; they have pushed forward science and technology. They have pushed forward the arts. We have this myth in Northern Nigeria, where we try to create an Islamic society that never existed.” Sometimes, when you look I despair, I feel reassured that there are honourable leaders who want the best for Nigerians and I hope that the politicians are taking notes, they voted in by the people and they can also be voted out by the people.
Nigerians deserve better and Nigeria deserves better.