Apart from institutional leakages where deliberate non-implementation of policies has continued to lead to porosity of public funds; braze greed of unpatriotic public servants and sheer lust to climb the ladder of societal superiority are elements that have continued to rekindle the flames of corruption in Africa.
Beyond these elements however, one behavioral attitude which has continued to instill a desire for sharp practices, covetousness and outright fraud from generations to generations is the unholy glorification of looters and elevation of individuals who have amassed unexplainable wealth to the pinnacle of Supreme Being in our society.
We live in a shameful world; cruel and unfair; a world that neither encourages hard work, truthfulness nor reward perseverance and contentment. There is only one race across this type of world, who do not outperform each other in terms of development or outdo one another in the area of innovation or advancement, but simply earn a bragging right where the poles of wealthy Kinsmen are stuck side by side in a contest of wealth comparison.
Few days ago, I was at a place in Abuja and while jejely minding my own business, I overheard an argument between two friends. The man on my right (I later got to know) is a Kinsman of the immediate past 8 years Senate President of Nigeria and sixteen years Senator, David Mark, while the one on my left hails from Kano State. I was not privileged to the beginning of their discussion, but at the time my mind became conscious of their argument, the bone of contention was ‘Who is the richer between David Mark and Rabiu Kwankaso (the erstwhile Governor of Kano State)?’ I watched painstakingly how two grown men who obviously have never had any encounter with either of the two individuals nearly engaged in a fist fight on a baseless point of argument.
Our society does not only harbor corruption, it also encourages same and more than often pushes people into it.
Today, President Buhari has renewed the long abandoned war against corruption, an exercise which revelations have left Nigerians gasping for breath and some cursing their maker for being partial in sharing opportunities. But while the battle against corruption reigns, the needed torch to effectively cleanse our country of this cankerworm is to stop encouraging it.
Rotimi Amaechi was right when he said that “politicians continue to steal because the people have failed to learn the skill to stone.” An ordinary ward councilor is expected to use his office or ‘chance’ as they call it, to amass enough wealth for his generations yet unborn. God save you if you are a local council Chairman and you are seen taking public transport after office or still living in a rented apartment. If you are not disowned by family members, neighbors and friends will easily conclude you are cursed.
Some say it is a cultural deficiency brewed from our tradition of respect and idolization of elders in our society, but one question I keep asking proponents of such schools of thought is ‘Of what use has this long held tradition be to our development?’
For Nigeria to truly change, it is beyond the Buharis of this world. Nigerians need to unlearn the ridiculous glorification of criminals and idolization of common thieves who we have bestowed with the most reverend titles our society has to offer. The criteria for elevation of status in our society must go beyond mere luxuries and intimidating wealth. No man, no matter how highly placed deserves to be treated as a Supreme Lord. Respect must be earned on the platter of dignity, wisdom, truth and sincere humanity. And while we are at this, we should go a step further to learn the act of horsewhipping.
The Bible says in Proverbs 22:15 ‘Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him’. Same also is greed, corruption, and covetousness bound in the heart of politicians and public office holders, and the only antidote that stands the test of time is the rod.
Nigeria will be better-off when we all equip ourselves with horsewhips at public functions and events, at court premises and hearing, and at media meetings and get-togethers. We can invoke the change we seek in the heart of our politicians when we show actions.
Just close your eyes and imagine the beauty of seeing people whipping Olisa Metuh as he leaves the court premises, imagine Sambo Dasuki being lashed by friends and foes instead of adoring his devilish act. Imagine Raymond Dokpesi being made to stoop to receive his share of ‘don’t be greedy’. If disgracing and flogging commonsense into politicians will make Nigeria better, then that we must do.
While we stand beside them, trigger-ready to swing back and forth our arms, let us adopt a uniform phrase in that sweaty moment. Something like ‘Stop killing our country!’