The death of truth
People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war or before an election.Otto von Bismarck.
The first documented census in Nigeria was carried out by Britain in 1866. Following this, others in 1971, 1896, 1901, 1911, 1921 and 1952/53. However the first census after independence was in 1963.Thereafter, the degree of reliability of the figures has been on a spiral descent and decline. The official Nigeria position is that Lagos State with a population of 9,013, 534 is second to Kano with a first position of 9,401, 288 (Nigerian Finder). However, the Lagos State government puts the census of the State at 22 million while the United National puts it at 14million. Meanwhile Lagos State is one of the two globally recognized megacities in Africa.
These are cities with a population of at least 10 million people.The other is Cairo the Egyptian capital. The question is what is the accurate population of Lagos State? What of Nigeria? The accurate census figures remain unresolved because some people are benefitting from the lies. Contract to build, or renovate several of our roads have been awarded, (many times for an umpteenth), resources disbursed but in reality, the roads remain death traps. Ironically in paper, work on the roads have been completed. The question is what is responsible for this lacuna between the real and ideal?
In some parts of our nation, quack foreign professionals receive preferential treatment in employment and remunerations against Nigerian citizens. For instance, there are many Asian technicians who are working in various levels of governmental and public services in Nigeria while Nigerian Engineers and technologists are rejected by their fellow citizens. Even when the Nigerian Engineers are employed, the less qualified expatriates are elevated above them.The Nigerian market is so porous that any national of any country can come in, employ (better enslave) our own citizens and pay them peanuts.
Recently Ghana demanded that every Nigerian business person should pay an initial deposit of three hundred thousand naira before the latter could carry out any legitimate business in the former ‘Gold Coast’. Do expatriate business people and workers in Nigeria pay adequate tax to the Nigeria government? Why in some quarters are they preferred above Nigerians with equivalent or better qualifications?
For most people, the cliché “By the grace of God” actually means, release from personal responsibility. A request to be punctual to a meeting, make financial contribution, be a faithful spouse, imbibe work ethics or be accountable in any area of life automatically receives the response of “by the grace of God” which normally should mean that one will actually put one’s ability, skill, training and experience to a maximum use the relying on the grace of God to excel.
However, such a noble cliché, has become the raison de’tre for ignobility, inanity, ineptitude and insanity. It has become the alibi for failure, falsehood and fumbling. How many of our politicians sincerely attempt to fulfill thirty percent of their electioneering campaign promises? What percentage of our leaders are genuinely interested in the welfare of the masses? What percentage of our public officers show empathy and concern for the well being of the needy, poor and down trodden? Yet, during the campaigning season, they make weighty and heavy promises. What is the essence of those false and unrealistic promises? Why does our word not correspond with our walk?
In the educational system, why would some school authorities and parents sponsor their children to take examinations in special centres and yet raise the loudest cry of wolf, against examination malpractice? Why would some rich or government officials purchase admission opportunities for their children and wards thereby displacing legitimate candidates who by their dint of hard work passed the extrance exam? Why would such corrupt parents require their children and wards to manifest virtues of honesty and diligence after laying a faulty foundation of ineptitude for the latter? Both teachers and students at the various levels of our educational system manipulate each other to obtain personal advantage and unashamedly criticize those in authority.
Some students, town, trade, and market union officials though are as corrupt and inept as some politicians specialize in critiking the former. At all levels of our political leadership in this country all forms of sordid deeds are transacted. Many leaders trumpet the ideals of patriotism but are vanguards of the worst form of tribalism, bigotry and segregation. When you listen to some of them pontificate about nationalism you begin to rejoice that God has blessed our continent with a new and better generation of Nkurumah, Azikiwe, Mandela and Luther King Jr. Not knowing that such leaders are the worst advocates of nepotism, brigandary, and terrorism.
Why will one senatorial zone produce half of the commissioners and most sensitive positions of government in a State? Why will all the security personnel and paraphrenia of a multi-racial secular state like Nigeria be the privilege of one tribe or religious group? Yet, the leadership at the state and national are laboring effortlessly to convince the populace that they are sincere in purpose and honest in their actions? Why would individuals or pharmaceutical companies import poor quality and expired drugs and still lay claim to patriotism and nationalism? Such people ironically try to sympathise with families who lose their loved ones to expired drugs. Why do engineers who build poor roads worry when the cause of the massive destruction of human lives on the road is due to their ineptitude, insensitivity and indiscretion? No.
Truth has long died in our streets and states. Truth has long departed from our conscience and character. Truth has been molested and in fact murdered. Truth has been battered and bullied to the degree wherein an iota manifestation of it is as strange as rain in the dry season. Yet we yearn to know the truth. We all hunger and thirst to encounter truth. The longing for truth is so deep that liars detest lying in others. Thieves hate to see others engage in pilfering. Occultists discourage their children from engaging in occult practices. Addicts warn their family members and friends to desist from any habit which would enslaves them.
The path to recovery is to make sure that the desire for change from a life of hypocrisy to that of sincerity is genuine. By reflection, meditation and repentance, every Nigerian can initiate a revolution of sincere living. Each of us can ignite sparks of light which can grow into a huge bonfire which will consume the thick cloud of darkness presently hanging over our land. Like Otto Von Bismark, the German Chancellor (November 23, 1862-March 20, 1890) rightly noted that there were three conditions which favour lying namely after hunting, war and electioneering periods. We need to be alert and avert this prediction from prevailing in our Nigeria nation.
Let us remember the immortal words of Abraham Lincoln the 16th president of America who said that, ‘you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all the people all of the time?’Let us rise up and make Nigeria great by deciding to think, live and tell the truth.