The elite assault on Nigeria
That Nigeria is still afloat is a miracle pure and simple. This is against the back-drop of the bleeding occasioned by Nigeria’s elite financial rape of the country. This small group has mercilessly battered and plundered Nigeria at all fronts and from every angle waiting for Nigeria to die.
Before someone categorises this as another case of Nigeria-bashing, I plead not guilty. For Nigeria to win the war against corruption, the fundamental principles of operation must and also be seen to be transparent and non-selective. Public perception must confirm this because corruption does not carry a party card. In any scientific endeavour, we must know where we are coming from to appreciate where we are and plan accordingly for future success.
Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe, Sir Ahmadu Bello and Chief Obafemi Awolowo formed the tripod that received independence from the British on October 1, 1960. There are other operators among whom in no particular order were Tony Enahoro Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Herbert Macaulay, Mbonu Ojike, Michael Imoudu, Aminu Kano, Kingsley Mbadiwe, Michael Okpara, S.L. Akintola, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, Eyo Ita, Margaret Ekpo and many more. Well documented positions of these early leaders about Nigeria abound but that discussion will be for another day. Compared with today’s rogue operators, the early leaders were ANGELS.
Who are these naira guzzling people who have caused our country so much pain and derision in the international community and placed us near to zero growth 56 years after independence? Nigeria is still gaffing around and there is no destination in sight. Briefly speaking, this class is small, rich and powerful and exerts an influence far in excess of their numerical strength. They operate in cuckoo land and have forgotten that public service is a sacred trust.
For any society to advance, the elite must positively engage and mould public opinion in the national interest. They have to be good role models for the young generation. Is that the case with Nigeria?
Members of the Nigerian intelligentsia have to be salvaged for it is the dedication and superior thinking of the intelligentsia that transformed the world. A few examples will fleshen the discussion.
In the field of religion, Jesus Christ, Mohammed and Buddha stand out. In science and medicine Charles Darwin and the origin of species/ natural selection, Edward Jenner and vaccination, William T.G. Morton and the discovery of anaesthesia, Albert Einstein and the theory of relativity, Henry Ford and the automobile are all people who changed the world permanently.
The invention of the web by Tim Berners Lee in 1989 permanently transformed communication, truly making the world a global village.In the field of politics, the names are legion but regardless some excel. Among these are Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Karl Marx, Moa Tse Tung, Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Margaret Thatcher, Mikhail Gorbachev, Fidel Castro, Angela Merkel.Coming to Africa, Nnamdi Azikwe, Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Nelson Mandela, Obafemi Awolowo, and a few others all etched imprints that inspired millions to fight for freedom.
Within the context of our country Nigeria, one asserts that our intelligentsia rank among the best in the world. They excel abroad. On arrival home for some inexplicable reasons, it looks as if a nerve snaps and there is a 180-degree decline. How can one understand the sickeningly huge sums of money bandied around in the press and social media; said to be stolen by political office holders, military personnel and civil servants. How can anyone justify to Nigerians that a governor after serving for eight years appropriates to himself through his rubber-stamp house of assembly N200 million to build a retirement nest. This is a governor who for eight years controlled all contracts awards. The people in organised labour keep quiet when many of their members have not received their pension for years. Is it not insanity for a minister to allocate to himself 12 plots of land in our federal capital? What of the housing estates some retired permanent secretaries have in Kenya, South Africa, Dubai, Abuja, Lagos?
The rot is so systematic and deep rooted that even vice chancellors are being arraigned for stealing running to billions.A system where senators who are head and shoulders above governors in order of national protocol resign to contest for governorship seats needs re-examination. This invariably must be to access unchecked state budgets since over-sight by state assemblies is like chorus singing.
The tragedy is not just that our commonwealth is decimated but the damage done to our international image has deprived us of funds and Nigerians continue to live in perpetual poverty. No serious investor, foundation or government will throw away their tax-payers’ dollars into bottom-less pits without transparency and accountability.
Nelson Mandela rightly said: ‘’The world will never respect Africa until Nigeria earns that respect.’’ The fight to reduce corruption drastically is also a crusade for the soul of the black man world-wide and we must not fail.
We have a duty to ensure that those who rape our nation never enjoy their loot. Are we as a people condemned? The answer is an EMPATHETIC NO. Every nation must protect itself.
Apart from confiscation and seizure, the judicial system which now is excruciatingly slow must be re-configured by all the three arms of government. We have to agree to set up special courts which will be chaired by honest men. Unless we introduce draconian measures, this cancer will kill Nigeria.