Saturday, December 8, 2018
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Bonn, Germany

Continued from Part 8

Stop criticizing, vote out incompetent governments. Let me try to conclude by saying that every citizen must do their duty; you must not sell your vote, you must register to vote, and stop criticizing the failures of government if you will not go and vote them out if they are not doing their job. You should not allow your children to be used for violence (Former Military Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar)

In terms of corruption; Nigeria is worse off today than we were in 2014. In terms of economy, we are the poorest country in the world today. In terms of insecurity, we are the most insecure than at any other time in history. This is what the APC is doing. They are buying PVCs, they will come to you and give you N10, N20, N50 to buy your PVC - they are buying your future. Do you want to sell your future? Don't sell your PVCs because they are going to use it against you (Atiku Abubakar, PDP Presidential candidate)

ecause Nigeria has a politically docile citizenry is the reason they, the citizens are suffering, and the country is in one big mess. The lackadaisical attitude of most Nigerians is the reason the politicians are taking them for a ride. Nigeria should have been a better place, assuming the citizens know what they're doing. Nigerian citizens allow the politicians to be preying on their parochial sentiments in order to subjugate them over and over again. The ordinary citizens forgot that the political class will never do the right things unless they, the citizens, start being assertive by demanding their rights.

The politicians have been using tribalism and religion to deceive the poor who are too disillusioned to read the handwriting on the wall. Instead of uniting in purpose against those misgoverning them, the poor of Nigeria tend to support evil as long as it was perpetrated by "one of their own". But, they forgot that hunger, poverty, ignorance, and disease make no distinction between tribes.

The APC has created unbearable hardship in the land and everybody is feeling the heat, irrespective of tribe or tongue. But, what are the poor doing to change the ugly situation? Where is the outrage? Instead, they are still handing over a blank cheque to the APC to continue misruling them. Even though most Nigerians are worse off, in the pit of plenty, than they were about four years ago, many of them have still not suffered enough to know that they must do something against the thieves they elected into various offices. In saner climes, heads should have been rolling by now as the elections draw nearer. Those who have betrayed the trust given to them by those who elected them should have been jittery by now, for not waking up to their responsibilities, knowing that they would soon be voted out. But, instead, they are buying votes again with a pittance, and the voters are ready to sell their conscience for a short time little pleasure.

I watched a clip where the Ukrainian people showed their anger and resentment against their leaders for being corrupt, and they decided to put all their politicians in street dustbins. There, any politician they came across outside their Parliament was thrown into a dustbin. That's what Nigerians should also be doing. If you compare corruption in Ukraine to what's obtainable in Nigeria, one finds out that the Ukrainian politicians are even saints vis-a-vis their Nigerian counterparts, and still, poor Nigerians are not perturbed by this malfeasance going on in their own country.

It was reported that the All Progressives Congress (APC) is engaging in vote-buying for as low as N10. I doubted it until one of my Facebook friends wrote that she witnessed this money sharing in a popular market on Wednesday, December 5. My question is how can somebody mortgage his future and that of his children because of a paltry N10, 000 or even less? How can some Nigerians be eating their tomorrow today? As I was struggling with this question, a video, made by a Nigerian lady, was sent to me. There, the lady was asking those Nigerians collecting N10, 000 from APC to think well. Her words:

"About 2 months to the election, the ruling Party is going around sharing money in the form of Trader Moni. I want you to ask them, when they come to you and give you that money, ask them where were they when you couldn't afford to buy food; where were they when your child was sent home because of school fees and you couldn't afford to pay the fees, and your child had to miss so many days in school, because, you couldn't afford to pay their school fees. Ask them where were they when the money you used to earn that was enough to feed the family for a month is no longer enough to feed the family for two weeks.

Ask them where were they all these years, over three years, when hardship hit the land; when insecurity hit the land; and you couldn't afford so many things that you could afford before, where were they? They were nowhere to be found. Now, it's time for the election, and they go around under the guise of Trader Moni, giving people N10, 000: N10, 000 to mortgage your life; N10, 000 to mortgage the life of your child; N10, 000 to mortgage the life of your unborn generation; N10, 000 (for you) to be enslaved forever; N10, 000 for you to be kept down forever and your child will not have a good quality education.

When they give you N10, 000, ask them what of your children who are in the university, who are today staying at home, because, ASUU is on strike? When they come with N10,000 ask them what will you do with N10,000 when your children are back from school when they want to graduate and get a good job and they will be able to take good care of themselves and also you and the rest of the family, ask them what will N10,000 do?

When they come with that money, ask them, don't be fooled, it's only about the election and you matter. To them you are not a human being, the only thing you are good for is your thumbprint and that's what they care for, and that's why, just a few months to the election, they come with N10, 000. All the while you cried before, they never listened, they closed their doors, they turned their back on you. Think well".

I sent this lady's message to some of my Facebook friends, and one of them, a former teacher from Rivers State, replied the lady thus:

"Thank you, great thinker, real woman! Anyway, they will never come our way! For us, pensioners, after slavishly working for the country for 35years, our gratuity has been denied us, pensions, if paid at all, are paid grudgingly, after humiliating us to line up under the sun for hours, even days. Even with that, some are denied their pensions in a country where a lawmaker criminally collects 29 million Naira as pay for sleeping in the hallowed chambers! They can never come to us, sweet woman! So, what I've decided to do is to read this your message in every gathering of rural women's meetings I attend. God bless you, Temple, for sharing".

Pretty strong words from those ladies!

Another name for Nigeria, in addition to corruption, is confusion. The two things which are constant in the country are brazen corruption and crass confusion all over the places. People whose opinion counts in the country say one thing today and another tomorrow, that even chameleon would have no chance in comparison. I have written it, times without number, that Nigerians (followers) are also the problem of Nigeria: People are suffering, but, will not do something about it. No wonder Bertrand de Jouvenel (1903-1987) wrote that "A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves".

When will the outraged, robbed, pillaged, insulted, and betrayed Nigerians, as they are in their own land, rise in their wrath and send a leader "who will sweep the money changers out of the temple"? W. Vaughn Ellsworth may have had Nigerians in mind when he wrote "Pity the poor, wretched, timid soul, too faint-hearted to resist his oppressors. He sings the songs of the damned, 'I cannot resist, I have too much to lose, they might take my property or confiscate my earnings, what would my family do, how would they survive?' He hides behind pretended family responsibility, failing to see that the most glorious legacy that we can bequeath to our posterity is liberty!"

Nigerians don't ask for, and, they don't get, just, as Eric Schaub (1979) wrote that "The 'strength' of the People becomes weak when we don't 'exercise' our rights". Solon (c.638 BC-558 BC) noted: "If through your vices you afflicted are, Lay not the blame of your distress on God; You made your rulers mighty, gave them guards, So now you groan 'neath slavery's heavy rod." Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) wrote "It was a weak spot in any nation to have a large body of disaffected people within its confusion", and, nobody can build up any hope of a better Nigeria with a foundation based on confusion, misery, and death. Everything about Nigeria is so burdened with pain, anxiety, fear, and self-doubt, and the confusion is excruciating.

But what are Nigerians doing about the situation of things in the country? Only Nigerians can change Nigeria for themselves, no foreign force or people can do it for them. So, what are Nigerians waiting for? Frantz Fanon (1925 -1961) wrote that "Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it or betray it." It seems Nigerians have betrayed theirs, and, the former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku (1933) confirmed that betrayal when he said, in June 28, 2012, while speaking at the second Emeka Anyaoku lecture on good governance in Awka, that the present generation of Nigerians had failed the country, noting that Nigeria developed faster under regionalism. He also regretted the present insecurity in the land and called for the pragmatic and proactive measure to encourage the youth to channel their energy towards ideal nation-building.

Why are Nigerians not perturbed by things happening around them as to demand change from their political leaders? Is it because Edmund Burke (1729 - 1797) said that "Among a people, generally corrupt liberty cannot long exist"? Thomas Merton (1915-1968) (American, and Trappist Monk to Our Lady of Gethsemani Abbey in Trappist, Kentucky) noted that "I am willing to admit that some people might live there for years, or even a lifetime, so protected that they never sense the sweet stench of corruption that is all around them." Also, David Brins (1950) was right to note that "It is said that power corrupts, but actually it's more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power".

Let those who are sane, in Nigeria, take over their governments now. Many Nigerians with leadership qualities shy away from politics because of all that is involved, but, it's time the do a rethinking, because, they can't continue leaving the country in the hands of "rapacious dogs", who have no love for it, but are only interested in running it down. John Jay Chapman (1862 -1933) was right when he wrote that "Wherever you see a man who gives someone else's corruption, someone else's prejudice as a reason for not taking action himself, you see a cog in The Machine that governs us." Samuel Adams (1722 -1803) was right when he noted "Shame on the men who can court exemption from present trouble and expense at the price of their own posterity's liberty!" Nigerians, who are suffering and "smiling", should understand that Salvador de Madariaga (1886- 1978) wrote that "He is free who knows how to keep in his own hand the power to decide, at each step, the course of his life, and who lives in a society which does not block the exercise of that power". The bottom-line here, in the words of Walter Lippmann (1889 -1974), is that "The public must be put in its place, so that it may exercise its own powers, but no less and perhaps even more, so that each of us may live free of the trampling and the roar of a bewildered herd".

This conversation will be continued (you can join by sending your opinion or feedback to [email protected])!






Continued from Part 8