Monday, 2nd October 2023

When will our national greed collapse? – Part 2

By Martins Oloja
27 March 2022   |   3:08 am
As I was saying, the discussion point this week would be on how we can develop our national creed to deal a blow on this enemy called national greed, whose effects have continued to destroy

Nigeria flag

As I was saying, the discussion point this week would be on how we can develop our national creed to deal a blow on this enemy called national greed, whose effects have continued to destroy our national grid. Some of the political people who need to develop a national creed for the most populous black nation on earth held their political party convention yesterday at the Eagle Square, Abuja. I hope they are deepening their understanding about why we need a national creed to destroy national greed that has also stifled the growth of political party system in the country. I mean here that but for the way this thing called national greed has eaten deep into their fabric, how can an incumbent state governor be struggling to remain as a caretaker chairman of a political party for more than a year especially when the constitution provides that no chief executive of a state should accept another executive position except in a farmland? 

Let’s come to the brass tacks and the weightier matter of governance and politics of development. Everybody wants to go to America, their America, every one, every motivational speaker on politics and governance is quick to mention the legendary Lee Kuan Yew they have read without studying the substance of the creed the leaders and the people of these great countries have used for sustainable development goals of the countries. Let’s scan the American Creed that many may not have taken note of and its place in what has become ‘American exceptionalism’, Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, among others have written about.    

Recall that I had last week looked again into the seeds of time and found that nations that have taken care of national greed have had to begin with a national creed. And ‘America, their America’ as the iconic J.P Clark calls them, is a classic example of what we need to study about how a national development have to begin with a creed, which sadly we do not have beyond our not-so enlightened self(ish) interest, which is the root of all greed.   

Writing on ‘What the American Creed Means To Me’ in Emerald Coast National Writing Project in Florida, Matthew R educates the world about the impact of the American Creed on ideologies about America and what values every American has and how to perfect the American standard. 

MATTHEW wrote: America was founded for the principal reason of freedom. This included freedom of religion and freedom to govern in a representative way. This led to a huge influx in immigration as many people from all over the world. America was founded on the major beliefs that everyone is equal, has certain rights and representative government is the most effective way to govern. These inclusive values have led to a majority of all Americans being able to trace their history to immigration at one point or another. 

This unique situation that America has, with such a wide variety of cultures and beliefs, results in many divided points of view. Despite these disagreements, all Americans stand behind the core values of the American Creed. The beliefs that the government is for the people and by the people, power is given by those governed and that the nation is inseparable are all outlined in the American Creed. I believe that these are the most fundamental values that any nation or other smaller organization can abide by. It is important to recognize how there are many people that are involved in the social contract that is the American government. It is necessary to make sacrifices to preserve the unity of the entire nation and allow it to prosper.

The words written by William Tyler Page in 1917 are more relevant than ever in today’s society. Due to the differing opinions throughout America, it is important to remember the importance of America, as illustrated in the American Creed. It is important to recognize that the government was created for the only purpose of serving the people in that it would elect others who shared their beliefs and would help improve the quality of life of those who are governed. It is also important to give back to the country that has done so much for everyone. As shown in the American Creed, the easiest way to give back to the country as a whole is to “obey its laws; to respect its flag and to defend it against all enemies.” The large difference in cultures and beliefs does lead to disagreements on the values and what is right to do for the prosperity of the nation. Now, issues have become more split that ever before and many believe that the values of the nation are changing. The best way to better achieve the vision that is shown in the American Creed, is to see past the difference and work together towards the prosperity of the nation as a whole. By working together, it is possible for so many things to be done and the vision that the American Creed illustrates can be reached. 

America is a land of many people, with the significant difference in beliefs, sometime it is difficult to decide what is best for the country. By following the core values of the American Creed, the vision of America can be significantly improved. The belief that America is for the people and by the people in the form of government strongly reflects the democratic republic that the American government is set up to be. By working together as Americans it is possible for the true potential of America to be achieved…’ 

Again, as I was saying, this is what ‘national greed’ has taken away from us. We don’t have any creed beyond our cleavages as Nigerian-Yoruba Nigerian-Hausa, Nigerian-Fulani, Nigerian-Ijaw, Nigerian – Urhobo, Nigerian-Tiv-Nigerian-Idoma, Nigerian-Kanuri, etc who are either Christian or Muslim. There is no reason for anyone anywhere to feel proud as a Nigerian citizen. That is how even sub-national greed has taken over wisdom even in high places and even our Generals who have become leaders at different levels have suddenly become so ruthlessly greedy that no political party today would like to plunge into a Muslim-Muslim or Christian-Christian ticket in the forthcoming #Project 2023 presidential race. 

When there was a country, in 1993, there was a political class that forged a national cohesion to the extent of fielding a Muslim-Muslim ticket in an election that threatened to cement unity in this same country. But the political class with some hidden agenda in their ‘Federal Republic of the Nigerian Army’ as General Chris Ali calls it, annulled all the gains in one fell swoop when they truncated the result of the election in which candidate M.K.O Abiola beat even his only rival in his electoral ward in Kano. Sadly, the last seven years of the current administration has worsened our crisis of national cohesion, no thanks to national greed that taken over their reason and their fundamental objective and directive principles of state policy.

As I also noted, Greed is an uncontrolled longing for increase in the acquisition or use of material gain; or social value, such as status, or power. Greed has been identified as undesirable throughout known human history because it creates behaviour-conflict between personal and social goals… An example of greed is when you are obsessed with getting more and more money. A selfish or excessive desire for more than is needed or deserved, especially of money, wealth, food, or other possessions. It sometimes drives inordinate ambition and so that is where we find people’s greed for power.

And so aspirants on different platforms who are gathering around political people to produce the next set of leaders should know that they should work out a national creed that can be used to galvanise a movement to embarrass the current political class that is still being driven by this deadly virus called national greed that has destroyed our sickly national grid, which can’t deliver development to us. Let most of the young and capable politicians be realistic in their management of expectations. All of the qualified people can’t be president and governors. At the level of national service, let some educated people go the Soludo-way. Let most of the strong politicians target even the national and state assemblies. They are all democratic institutions too that can be used for national development, lest the greedy ones will once again take over the presidency, the state and national assemblies again. We have seen in the last 23 years what the National Assembly too can do for national development and even nation building. The presiding officers of a strong and independent National Assembly, for instance, can be part of critical success factors in a country. Let’s not get it twisted, a lot of things would have changed even in this administration if we had had a remarkable and strong National Assembly as an institution. One doesn’t need to be an expert to tell us about the importance of the legislative arm of government as a significant check to balance the powers that are being misused. That is the arm of government that holds and controls the power of the purse. I mean the national treasury is under the control of the National Assembly through the instrumentality of the powerful Public Accounts Committees that the opposition conventionally controls. That is the arm of government that can remove any tyrannical and irresponsible president or governor. Yes, the legislature can be powerful if we have the right people there. That is why I would like to reiterate my appeal to the emerging alternative political actors not to eye only the office of the president, or governor. There are other weightier offices of state that can be exploited to develop this very important black nation, lest the greedy political class that caused the collapse of our national grid, which forced the present darkness upon the nation will win again. And we will begin to read from the book of lamentation from May 30, 2023, the morning after inauguration of another government without a National Creed. 

And so this is the conclusion of the whole matter: if we do not want to continue to migrate from darkness to darkness, we the people should take more than passing interest in the democratic institutions the politicians are running around to occupy now. The journey to 2023 has begun in earnest! A major political party (s)elected their Chairman and other important national officers yesterday. Instead of agonising over their choices, those who want to beat them to their game should begin to organise Movements to defeat them too at different levels of leadership contest, lest national greed will grow luxuriantly like yam tendrils in the rainy season the morning after May 29, 2023.