Is our PVC enough for the change we desire?
Here Nothing Works…
…what is it in ourselves or in our soil
That thing which connect so well elsewhere
Like the telephone, the motorway, the airways
Dislocate our lives so much that we all
Begin to doubt our own intelligence?
Anyone who is not an ardent reader will imagine the excerpt above was written recently, but that piece was written in the year 1985 by one of the foremost writers in Nigeria history, JP Clark among his poems published under the title ‘State of the Union.’ The fact is that Nigerian problem is as old as Nigeria herself and the problem is no longer in Nigerian’s fabric but in our DNA. So anomalies have become the new normal, and sometimes when you act normal, people will advise you to see a doctor. Imagine, office environment where everybody believes in crooked means, you can’t stand alone or you won’t just lose the job alone, you may lose your life.
While it is commendable that you have got your PVC, I hate to bust your bubble, but the truth is that card is not enough to enforce the change we all desire. Frankly, we are all part of the system that brought Nigeria on her knees. We are all corrupt, every average Nigerian engages in the following acts on daily basis:
. Break traffic rules simply because they believe they can get away with it
. Want to get a document whose approval process takes six months to process its approval, in six days
. Litter the street with an unwanted item at will
. Support anomalies simply because their friends or family is in power
. Do anything to break protocol or member jump due process just because they have access to someone in power.
And the list goes on.
I bet you engaged in at least one of the following in this just concluded week or at the moment in the middle of one. And the most terrifying is that some of us are not only corrupt; they are the ones spreading the virus- when you pressurize an official to do what he is not supposed to do or plead for waiver when you break the law, you have spread the virus.
Also, I have discovered that it the grassroots corruptions that encourages corruption at the top. If your village people knew you have been given an appointment in government house, you will begin to receive visitors asking you for all manner of help and when you don’t compromise, you will be given terrible names. So, while the PVC is a good step forward, we need to start discouraging systems that give corruption life right from grassroots level. Nigeria will be a great place, if we change our modus operandi at the grassroots level!
The change will begin when our nurses and doctors in various public hospitals change their negative and uncaring attitude to patients’, when they handle all cases professionally and with empathy. Many of the medical personnel don’t care whether a patient needs emergency attention or not and nobody to call them to order because that is the new normal! We like to blame the police, but when you put a vehicle with incomplete vehicles particulars on the road and you don’t want to be arrested you have given life to corruption and it will feed fat on your crooked acts. One of the sensitive places in Nigeria where nothing works because people ensure nothing works is in government secretariat. A project has been approved but they will find avenue to divert the funds approved. And from experiences with civil servants, that is where real change must begin with, treat every case file without expecting to get paid because that is what you are employed to do. Many businesses have been frustrated out of the country simply because of ambiguous policy formulated by civil servants because of personal vendetta and greed.
A sage defined foolishness as an act of doing the same thing over and over again with a view of getting a different result. If we get new sets of people into governance of our beloved nation but fail to change our ways, I am afraid, we will continue to have the same story to tell. Change won’t come because we have PVCs, unless, we subscribe to change and enforce the change from our household and let all of us do the same. The right attitude is taking responsibility and making ourselves accountable to others.
And when we have cleansed our households of all ill-acts, we can get on our immediate streets and get the street clean-up, then, we can now be righteous enough to call out those incompetent demi-gods at the top and send them all back to their respective villages to clean their household and leave governance of our great country in the hand of competent and compassionate people!
Oyeniyi, a content developer, wrote from Lagos.
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