The Nigerian Image is a divine inspiration to a young patriotic Nigerian with burning passion on how things can work well in this great country of ours. To come out with this work took him years, working assiduously on his own for over one year before going out to speak to unbiased and credible Nigerians to air their views on the state of our nation. The Nigerian Image is positioned to make Nigerians be heard by appropriate authorities for actions and reactions for a better Nigeria.
The strength of any nation is tied to the state of her economy and this chapter “Economic Genocide” reflects the opinion of Nigerians who were disposed to air their frank views.
What is genocide
What is genocide? This is the extermination of a group of people or a whole race for whatever reason(s). After 57 years of having sovereignty as a nation and still at the back-water of economic development, self-seeking attitude Nigerians have subjected the state of our economy to have undergone genocide. We cannot say, it is well going by the amount of wealth this country have generated since becoming independent, which if properly directed to channels of development would have positioned Nigeria far ahead its present level of economic, political and technological attainment.
Many Nigerians are living testimonies to when Nigerians with green passports were respected anywhere in the world, our national currency at par with British Pound Sterling and doing better than American Dollars etc., in the financial market but today, a bleak picture is miserably painted for our national identity.
Anything sweet all through without some traces of bitterness may not be too good for health. This is also true of nation’s economy because at consistent favourable economic performance for years, such economy may over-heat, meaning the economy will become so active causing rise in prices. This is why we should go back to the drawing board to trace where we have gone wrong to find solution to our bleak economic situation. This chapter is therefore where some Nigerians express their views in governance and supposed way forward for the country. We have to know our problems to be able to deduce possible solutions. Nigerians we talked to opined that the struggling position of Nigeria’s economy since independence is caused by people in government with no sincerity to position interest of the nation first, in various government businesses.
One of our respondent asked; “How can somebody loot the treasury which he is entrusted to as caretaker? He gave an instance of a certain governor in Niger Delta who threw service, accountability, good name, integrity, respect and commonsense reasoning to the wind with so much looting of public funds under stewardship for the people and to the extent of putting so much money for development in South-Africa. The question is how are these people able to transfer so much money outside the country? It means that the entire system has questions they have not answered Nigerians. He believes that the governor would have become a living legend should he have spent that money to transform his tiny community. Does it mean the people that elected him do not deserve a well-designed water-front which he built in South-Africa? The respondent lamented. “Much too, he has put down in London, America and Dubai but the people who gave him the mandate do not deserve a better life. Let us be realistic”. He continued; “Now, tell us why hell should not wait for such a leader and accomplices who helped him to impoverish his people and walk around free.”
A Nigerian who is based in Canada spoke on the same issue with the same relish saying, “Such leaders are equivalent to someone who commits genocide if he takes the money that is meant for development and never use it to develop people he was supposed to serve”.
Some Nigerians express that people become robbers and kidnappers because they have no means of meaningful livelihood and that some people go into other heinous crimes because of recklessness and irresponsible disposition of leaders before their very eyes. Some of these young men are used by these leaders to achieve their economic or political ambitions and once this is achieved they are not equitably compensated or made relevant in the scheme of things as promised. With the guns, machetes and acid usage they have perfected themselves in, they turn into perpetrating other vices in their immediate environment and beyond.
Whether this finger-pointing is true or false, rumor is everywhere and Nigerians are sad to have been painted with bad image for too long. However, some Nigerians say that there is hope for the nation if we change our attitude while some maintain that with the level of craze in acquiring wealth, which we don’t even have need for, that the situation will never change. This is not true because with positive attitude we can change for the better.
The Voice of Nigeria
A young man from northern Nigeria, in a press interview commented, “Where do you think the hope lies? It is in leadership and followership because you can’t blame the leaders without blaming the followers. The leaders are from us. It is a collective decision. We have to come and sit down all of us and ask ourselves; why is our educational sector decaying in terms of academic performance at all levels and the physical structures not fit for conducive learning? Why are our hospitals not having drugs? Why is our power sector not improving despite multi billions of naira injected into it? Why is it that our taps are not running? When we have opportunity to rob minds together, probably in Town Hall meetings with these leaders which they never have in their agenda, then we will know the direction to go”.
Nigerians believe that actions of few questionable people have posed great troubles for innocent Nigerians and image of this country. In their reactions for remedy, most Nigerians suggest that every public office holder should see himself as a servant of the people and should give a comprehensive and transparent account of stewardship before leaving office. The question is, where and to whom will these comprehensive reports of stewardship be given to serve expected useful purpose? Suggestions are for all of us to give for a way forward.
The Nigerian Image wants to differ from the positions of the last respondent that leadership and ordinary Nigerians are to blame for most of the problems the country is passing through because even though Nigerians vote for these people they are just exercising their civic duties and may not even know them personally. The negative and irresponsible behaviours of leaders can easily be imbibed by followers because some of them look up to these leaders as role models or people whose actions are right because of their position in the society. To a certain extent, followers can be blamed because as long as you are of age, recognized by law and of a sound mind, such a person should take blame for anything he or she has done wrong. We are supposed to know and do what is good and not going in for wrong actions or attitudes of Mr. A & B, simply because they are important people in the society.
THE NIGERIAN IMAGE believes that most of the views are not substantiated and are not taken to form part of this work. Generally, Nigerians are bitter about the way things have continued to be in this country and something needs to be done to address this disgruntlement. This is our responsibility as Nigerians. What it takes is determination and realizing where we want to go. We can inspire sanity in our polity. The principle is simple. Every political office holder has to be a person whose purpose is to serve and not enrichment, credible, with traceable formidable track record of accountability and transparency. Leaders should not be imposed on the people through rigging, turn by turn and zoning syndromes. If things are done right from the start, then there will be light in the tunnel for this country. These offices should be made less attractive and everyone’s primary aspiration should be service to the nation first. The willpower to do this may be the problem but it is possible, if we want to rewrite history for this great country. Yes, Nigeria and Service first, before self.
Where Looting Take Place
Economic genocide that has made this country to perennially be struggling should however not be attributed to public office holders alone but business leaders who have also used their positions to impoverish this country. Politicians or military officers would not on their own take out huge amount of money outside the country without assistance of the financial sector. This money passed through the banking system for these people to be able to open foreign bank accounts with money that could have been used to develop this country. Some of this money is today still lying idle in these foreign banks. This money is not hard earned money but money looted out to ruin this country and leave it the way it is. Houses in Lagos, Abuja, London, California, Ottawa, Paris, Brazil, Tokyo, Dusseldorf, you name them, for one man. What do you need them for? This becomes a psycho problem for people running amok to acquire riches that their earned income and lawful benefits cannot afford. It paints a bleak picture for any country and sad that our dear country has fallen victim.
Captains in the Bank and financial sector have also used their opportunities to rob this country. Their destination is still outside the country, taking this money to acquire estates, buy Yacht they don’t even use and running swell foreign bank accounts of no useful economic purpose for the country. Don’t say this is not public money because so much amount of money that is taken out of one country for no benefitting economic purpose ruins such a country. You cannot defy simple economic principles of demand and supply.
What about captains in the manufacturing sector of the economy, who take money in the name of paying for raw materials and spare parts while the money lies idle, in foreign banks accounts of their own?
I look at legal profession as a noble respectable profession and for this reason, they should be careful in cases they accept to defend. Recently, there have been matters affecting people that are supposed to be role models, brands in their right but accusation brought against them make them stink. They have excelled in their chosen career and profession and their names, image and quality, years they have spent making assumed useful impact should have bothered them to ruin them with a snap of a finger. When their cups are full and cannot be hidden anymore, it is lawyers they look for to defend them. Not just any lawyer but Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN), of fame. These SANs are aware of the mess these individuals have put themselves into. They know it is dirty. It stinks but they still get themselves involved upholding the phrase, “innocent until proven guilty”. This is a crap because when one has thrown caution and professional ethics as the case may be to the wind thereby ruining his long built career and brand, he or she, should not be protected, not even by the law that is supposed to expose and punish economic criminals for examples. When these people that has diverted so much unearned funds for themselves and cohorts run to SANs, they should tell them clearly that they can’t be part of that deception, but they will not. Why? All for the sake of money these people that have committed economic genocide will pay them. At the level of their legal practice, experience and status, some cases should be rejected to serve as deterrent to those that want to ruin the economy and set multi millions of naira aside to pay legal fees to SANs. It is even so embarrassing to see these brands that have made serious impact in their fields before getting into the mess, shamelessly smiling before camera.
All these racketeering and arm-twisting of Nigeria amount to economic genocide; economic sabotage and we have to make a U-turn to change the fortune of this country. All these are fake life which is persistently destroying this country. Our attitude must change if we must make any significant development progress as a country. It involves all of us!