FEATURE ARTICLE

Sunday A. FawoleWednesday, May 21, 2014
altifaw@aol.com


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IF NOT NOW, WHEN IS ENOUGH, ENOUGH?

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lease allow me to vent through this medium so that I can maintain a level of sanity in my dungeon of self-exile, euphemistically referred to as living in the diaspora. I had been impressed to write an article in the past entitled, "When is Enough Going to be Enough?" which was kindly published in the pages of Nigeriaworld.com around October of 2013. Therefore, this will serve as a follow up.

If there is ever going to be an opportunity for deliverance, it is now. True Nigerians need to stand up, act like we really mean it, and say enough is enough to the oppressive and corrupt leadership that has pervaded the very fabric of our society.

All eyes are upon our embattled nation engendered by sympathy for our innocent girls forcibly abducted by the faceless group of cowards so-called Boko Harams. If we fail to unite our efforts and forces now against this evil of constant harassment and intimidation in the hands of these misguided extremists, there may never be a better time. We must not only publicly decry terrorism of any kind but we must stand against the corrupt system of leadership which is the bedrock exploited by the terrorist regime. It is our right and civil responsibility to demand accountability from our elected and appointed public and private leaders.

As far as I am concerned, the majority of those of us finding solace outside the shores of Nigeria are nothing but economic fugitives. It is truly an uphill battle of gargantuan proportion to embark on a transition back home to the present day Nigeria after we have had the privilege of freedom and relative comfort afforded by quasi-civilization of our newly-adopted developed nations. How do we even begin to sell the idea of "Home Sweet Home" to our foreign-born children who are being raised with a clear sense of right and wrong to respect the rule of law, obey traffic signs, extend simple courtesies, and exercise the highest level of work ethics? If we must be honest with ourselves, our situation today is not different from that of modern day slavery where we sell both our rights and consciences in exchange for a transitory proverbial morsel of pottage. It's time to arise and reclaim our divinely ordained freedom.

Coincidentally, one of the greatest tools toward freedom is education. So, it's not surprising that the Boko Harams are vehemently opposed to enlightenment. The adage in Hosea 4:6 comes in very handy and so true: "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge, because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you that you shall be no priest to me, seeing you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children." What we may not be talking or even thinking about is the trans-generational repercussion of our action or lack thereof today.

I am very furious and pained to the core of my being to behold the apathy and the stance of resigned helplessness and hopelessness of the average Nigerian. We should be ashamed that right before our very eyes the vestiges of our national pride are eroding away and we have become a spectacle and laughing stock in international circles. Pure selfishness, individualism, nepotism, and sheer greed have supplanted our love for fellow men and the patriotism of our founding fathers. Once upon a time, it used to be an honor and a great privilege to serve one's country when obligations were carried out with immediate dispatch, and utmost responsibility. I shudder to think about how some of our first republic leaders who are still alive today would react to the depth of our degeneration.

Thanks to the global technological advances and the explosion of contemporary media outlets that have allowed ordinary citizens to air their views and express disgust in our polity. No doubt, knowledge will be disseminated more efficiently and awareness spread quickly that would bring about desired change.

Only in Nigeria would corporations get away with murder as was the case of ArikAir. As recent as March 31, 2014, passengers took to protesting the inhuman treatment they received when they could no longer endure the excruciating heat after boarding the aircraft in Lagos from New York-bound flight WT 3107. Arik's management's apology was at best nebulous, unremorseful, and was an insult upon injury when under the same breath of rendering apology also described the protest of the passengers as "unruly" and "aggressive." Unfortunately, this culture of total disrespect for consumers has become the norm that has pervaded our environment both in public and private organizations. This is most ridiculous and unconscionable. ArikAir should be totally boycotted; maybe that will teach them an unforgettable lesson. We are yet to hear of any sanction against ArikAir by the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) under General Dupe Atoki who ordered an investigation into the crisis and reminded the public that providers of goods and services must exhibit the best ethical practice in all of their interactions with customers.

Another story that brings disgrace and shame to Nigerians is the recurrent fatalities among job seekers with the Nigerian Immigration Service, the latest being as recent as March 2014. And yet no one has been held culpable for these senseless loss of innocent lives who were desperately looking for employment in droves which resulted in stampede and gruesome death. If this were to happen in civilized societies the minister of Interior Abba Moro would have been charged with homicide or at the least stripped of his job. Sadly, Nigerian employers have turned their recruitment exercises into another of their multiple streams of income. It is not unusual for application forums to cost anywhere from N1000.00 to N5000.00. This practice and potential of being death traps are inexcusable, unacceptable, and highly reprehensible.

I want to finally dissociate and publicly denounce myself from this madness of the so-called Nigerian Factor- where nothing works, excellence is despised, crime celebrated, and pride, corruption, greed, and lack of accountability constitute the order of the day.

These are serious times in the history of our country demanding draconian sacrifice from all stake holders and citizens alike. Quantum Sufficit: Enough is enough! Let us stop fooling ourselves under the disguise of National Dialogue, the timing of which is transparently premeditated for political gain. It was perplexing to hear the margin of compensation of a whooping $100,000.00 to each of the hand-picked delegates of the ongoing National Conference and the extension of their engagement was as predicted by common sense. We may as well disband the current legislative arm of our government if they have become so irrelevant and redundant to have usurped their role and effort by setting up this ad-hoc parallel albeit temporary system. If history is anything to go by, then the National Conference will end up being a wasteful exercise in futility. It is nothing but legitimizing bribery in exchange for favor. The sad thing is that most of the participants know this for a fact and as such are equally corrupt and morally bankrupt.

I cannot get over the justification of the staggering remuneration to the confab delegates and yet the reckless abandonment and disrespect of our elderly statesmen and women of valor and candor who have been denied, cheated, and robbed of their hard-earned pension and in some cases the only means they have of survival. How could we sit back and allow the "jumbo allowances" on top of the highest payscale world-wide of our lame duck legislators in the face of rampant unemployment and abysmal state of poverty of the average citizen? It does not make any sense and completely counterintuitive to all economic principles.

If not now, when is enough, enough? I want to challenge our religious leaders to take a collective stand against the evil of corruption that threatens our sovereignty. A step further would be to call upon their followers to a deep soul-searching revival, contrite confession, corporate fasting, and prayer in answer to the injunction of 2 Chronicles 7:14. "If my people, who are called by my name shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land."

I invite you to stand - yes, you-and be counted on the right side of history. We can and we must do this together. There is no better time than now to start rebuilding our shattered image. There is no better time to reclaim our dignity. If not now, when?

My two cents.

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