A prophet had said it all "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge-------- (Hosea 4.6)
God commands "Take no gift; for the gift blinds the wise, it corrupts the decisions of the godly" (Ex. 23: 8 ; Deu. 16: 19)
Proverbs 17: 23 reads "A wicked man accepts secrete gifts to pervert justice"
Proverbs 15: 27 says "Dishonest money brings grief to the whole family, but those who hate gifts shall live"
Proverbs 29:4 reads "A just king gives stability to his nation, but one who receives gifts destroys it"
Eccl. 7:7 says " ---Gifts (Bribes) destroys the heart"
Hebrews in 12:16 advises "Let no one be immoral or godless like Esau who traded his birthright for a single meal"
inning election in countries where citizens are educated, informed, honest and will tolerate nothing other than their rights and will refuse to be cheated is always fascinating and excruciating both to the Office seekers and the Electorate.
It is not about sharing money to the electorates.
In fact, any Office seeker who hasn't even given money to the electorate but only attempt to do it, not only has he disqualified himself from the contest but will end up in jail. Because he will be seen as trying to buy the country and the country belongs to all and not to any individual. His action will be seen as treason. And this is the reason why no one lives in poverty in those countries because once elected, you must deliver the dividends of democracy.
Winning election in those countries is about convincing the electorate about their different plans to better the lives of their citizens.
Winning election revolves about ideas and super ideas. It is about service to the country and not about material gain.
What Politicians in those countries stand to gain mostly is the writing of their names on the sands of time, which will be on record as long as the world lasts.
I arrived (This was in Nigeria) at the office of my friend, a private Medical practitioner when he said "Yakub (not real name) has just driven off from the vicinity" He had come to meet with the electorate in the area. We both know Yakub as a person, not given to much talk. So I asked whether Yakub had in his company, a "Ladani" (someone to repeat after him whatever he said). "His money did the talk. He only handed the money to be distributed and he drove off" was the reply.
In Nigeria, what counts most for any political office seeker is how much money he can distribute around or the financial capability of his sponsor and in addition, in some cases the gangterism of his sponsor, the political god-father.
During electioneering campaigns, it is not un-common to observe in a quarter or village some people who belong to a certain political group renovating their houses or refurbishing their cars in the full glare of others.
A serving governor of a certain state at a public lecture he gave in Lagos sometimes ago cried out that the demands from the citizens tempt office holders to steal public fund. And I add, "To the detriment of no one else but the same citizens"
I therefore conclude that our general poverty is our own making. It is our fault.
A prophet had said it all "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge-------- (Hosea 4.6)
When God gives a command, it is solely for our benefit. Obedience to the command leaves us at an advantage and opens the door to better things for us while we cheat ourselves when we disobey. Disobedience leaves us with inferior things, less than what we deserve, at a disadvantage or even total calamity.
The need has risen very seriously to educate ourselves to shun the gifts of politicians in whatever form, whether during electioneering campaigns or after, so that we can receive the better alternatives.
Once we accept money or whatever from the Politicians we are selling cheaply, our treasury to them and for years afterwards, we shall eat only the crumbs, which fall off from their tables, if at all they allow anything to fall off.
Accepting their one time gift turns us and our children to be paupers for a long time to come if not forever as they afterwards become inaccessible and if at all one is lucky to enter into their presence, it is on the knees.
I can hear someone say "Whether I take the gift or not, after the election, whoever of them gets into power will not remember the populace any more. They are all thieves and treasury looters. I had better take whatever they offer now or I will be the big loser".
There lies the problem and our politicians know it. They know the way we think and they exploit it fully.
It is my candid opinion that if after we reject their gifts and they loot the treasury and get away with it, it is our fault.
Accepting the politicians' gift in whatever form, frees their conscience of any guilt after they get into power. This is why they sit on the state's treasury with no power delegated to any Commissioner, Permanent Secretary, Accountant General or whoever. Known protocols are jettisoned.
Rather, they all i.e the State Legislative body, Police and Security Services become errand boys and girls for "His Excellency". The Excellencies couldn't be accountable to anyone because the electorate has written a blank cheque for them to the State's treasury. The doles they gave during the campaigns are their investments and "anyone who invests must have profit" they say.
I hear someone again ask "Do they even have conscience in the first instance? He! But two wrongs do not make a right.
God said it clearly, "Do not accept their gifts (bribes)". We ought to obey God first and leave the rest to Him. God is able to do the fight for us. He will mete justice to everybody according to his/her work.
May God bless whoever will pass this message to all our Royal fathers and men of God in the two prominent faiths across the length and breadth of Nigeria.
It is unfortunate the way politics is played in Nigeria. Politics/Governance in other countries is about service. It is for posterity, to write their names in gold for life.
In such societies, a politician's success is measured by how better the citizens have fared during his tenure. The fortune of a Politician is under close watch; anything he acquires must be explainable within his legitimate earnings. Raising of campaign fund is regulated less the financier starts to dictate the tune.
Unfortunately in Nigeria, attaining a political post is a tool to oppress, to becoming an object of worship, with citizens talking to them on their knees. It is access to looting of peoples' money.
In Nigeria, the success of a Politician is measured by how many palatial homes he acquires both at home and abroad, the fleet of exotic cars in his garage, the number of chieftaincy titles he acquires, the number of hooligans he commands and the number of women of low virtues that escort him on his journeys outside home, leaving the welfare of the citizens unattended to or paying lip service to it at its best.
Another stigma in the Nigeria politics is the issue of "Political god father/son", which frequently leads to open bitter war between the two, with attending losses of lives and properties when it comes to sharing of the loot from the peoples' treasury, leaving the public tattered.
"Lobbying" is used wrongly in Nigeria politics. In other places, it is not about carrying home, money, in 'Ghana must go' bags. It is bargaining about what my constituent will benefit should I support your bill. Should the State's fund be shared in those societies, everyone involved had had it.
In order to end our individual and collective poverty, requires strong discipline and a onetime sacrifice.
For example, whenever the politicians visit the electorates and Royal palaces, rather than accepting their money or bags of rice, which will last only for a while, we should demand for things, which will be of lasting value e.g their plans to remove the poverty, which had become a recurring decimal with subsequent governments, their plans to create jobs for millions of our graduate youths, their plans for our children to receive sound and quality education at affordable cost, their plans to make our students study under an atmosphere, conducive for studying, their plans to make wages realistic with prevailing cost of living, their plans to provide health services, their plans to provide potable water in every home, their plans to provide stable electricity, plans for environmental sanitation; to collect refuse and provide toilet facilities in public places, plans to build durable roads in and out of towns, plans to rid our cities of lawlessness etc.
Taking gifts from them makes us immoral like the Biblical Esau who traded his birthright for a single meal and the writer of Hebrews warned us seriously not to be like that.
Hebrews 12:16 reads "Let no one be immoral or godless like Esau who traded his birthright for a single meal"
Whenever any politician visits the wards or senatorial districts, they should be asked to provide for our children all, which they enjoyed as students and that will be sufficient. No one afterwards will have to line up in their gardens for a dole of N200 & N500.
George Bush in his State of Nation address in 2004 said, "I will never give up on any American child"
Our royal fathers, 'men of God' and Islamic clerics can remove our poverty, if for once they take a joint decision to shun all gifts in whatever form from politicians. A firm and joint decision by them alone will salvage Nigerians from the oppression of the feudal lords who sit on the Nation's wealth and make every other person a beggar.
Our culture and tradition is built on the existence and roles of the traditional rulers in the community. It is not right for them to compromise or relegate their roles as custodians of their different communities.
The Local Governments must be made strong to accommodate the cost of running of their palaces. Once this becomes official and the royal fathers draw what is legitimate without looking forward to the Government for favour, then, they can challenge the behaviour of the Government officials/Politicians and call them to order whenever the need arises. After all every politician hails from somewhere and must be a subject of one royal father or the other.
Looking at it, our cultural and traditional values naturally favours good governance. If a politician misbehaves, his or her royal father should be able to call him/her to order in the interest of the good name of the town or village, which he/she represents and which the royal father oversees. But once the Royal fathers take gifts here and there, certainly, they will not be able to perform their functions as expected. It is a necessary sacrifice, which everyone must be prepared to make for our betterment. It is not sufficient that the royal fathers live comfortably; rather their full satisfaction ought to be drawn with the general state of well being of their subjects. A Yoruba adage states that "One wealthy person among six others are all wretches" Another one says "The only way any parent judges his/her fullness is in the stomach of the children"
"A just king gives stability to his nation, but one who receives gifts destroys it" (Proverbs 29:4).
Both the Federal Government and different States can be very deceptive when their propagandists list their achievements without allowing us to know what accrues to the treasuries within the period of the listed "feats". If they do that, we shall be stunned about the fraction of what they have spent on their so-called achievements compared with what had gone into their private pockets.
There was the time in the history of Nigeria when anyone who attended the Government hospitals went home with medication. Today, the hospitals have become worse than consulting clinics because even the equipments to diagnose have become obsolete, old as the hospital itself. Water does not run in many of them. The structures have had no retouch since they were built. Ceilings are falling down in places.
For the politicians however, the state's money is always available to them to seek medical help for themselves and their family members in the best-maintained hospitals in the world?
Other than the hospitals, other government offices themselves are in pitiful states. The furniture in most offices are as old as the offices themselves. Most have no toilet facilities. Many cannot boast of a single computer in spite of today's technological advancement.
I think we should try God; we should put into effect His counsel. Let everyone shun the gifts of the politicians. Let us stop requesting them to be chief launchers at fund raising and allow them to perform so that the quality of our lives can be better.
God's promises cannot fail. It is very important and urgent for those who address the public in large numbers on Sundays and Fridays, to grasp this idea and start to emphasize it to our people. It is important and urgent for teachers at all levels up to the University to educate the illiterate parents through their children at school. We deserve better and ought to be treated as humans.
The desired changes and the national revival can start if for instance the two big faith leaders of our country take a joint decision on our behalf that in our effort to allow the Government to attend to urgent issues bordering on poverty and repair of collapsed infrastructures, we shall henceforth not be sponsored by the Government to Holy Pilgrimages.
Let us then prayerfully watch the ripple effects that will follow.
These pills 'am issuing may be hard to swallow I admit as these actions call for serious sacrifice, self discipline and self control but it will definitely result into joy for us and our offspring in the near distant future.
Let us be encouraged that what we shall suffer now is nothing compared with the glory, which shall result later. This was the counsel of Apostle Paul while encouraging us to be steadfast on the path of salvation. It is very relevant to our present circumstance.
The moment we stop compromising with politicians, they will have no choice but to sit up to be accountable and be responsible.
Now the LORD has told you what is good,
and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, ---------------- (Micah 6.8).