I was having a discussion recently with my Lokoja neighbours, where am currently serving as a Corper. It bothered on the concept and function of money. For my neighbours (aides to a legislator) “money answereth all things.”
For their ilk, money is the prime purpose of life, “make as much money as you can, when and wherever you can; then every other thing will be added unto you.” A classic case of societal perversion not just common to my neighbours but also held as truth by a sizable number of Africans.
Front running US republican presidential aspirant Donald Trump in his blunt manner-which I have really come to appreciate as against the diplomatic, lie infested verbiage of most politicians-, said that Africans ought to be re-colonised; reason being that our leaders steal our commonwealth and stash same overseas, (in) directly investing in the economic development of other nations at our own detriment.
The Dasuki loot which is the subject of recent intensive EFFC investigation is part of the Abacha loot currently being repaid to Nigeria in tranches by the Swiss government. That the Abacha loot was re-stolen is a testimony of our political traits; just like the supposedly incorruptible President Buhari’s acquittal of the goggled General of any corruption allegations.
For a sizable number of Africans, money is a possession, an acquisition, and a status symbol; as opposed to a factor of production. It is this perception that leads a number of African leaders to cling to Power at their own health’s detriment, dip their fingers into the public till without batting an eyelid, and build bigger houses than they need or live in. Just grab enough money for yourself up to the fifth generation, and if possible die on the seat; what more is there to life?
An unexplored relationship exists between this phenomenon and the underdevelopment of the continent; just that it’s hard to state which came first. Nonexistent roads, epileptic water and power supply, inadequate security implies that citizens need to spend more money on basic services as opposed to the West where those are provided for the citizens by the government at affordable rates . Or is it that the perception stalled the development of the continent from the onset, as state funds have routinely been looted or misappropriated for mundane pleasure by past African leaders since Independence from colonialism?
This perception has to be routinely trashed if we are going to move forward as a continent. As much as our judiciary must be reformed to punish political criminals and our institutions strengthened as by recent adjustments like IPPS and TSA; we must go on a journey of soul searching and introspection (am no saint) to deliberate if we want to leave a better and developed society for our grand children or “bastard money” in an unstable and dilapidated society?
Hopefully the recent slump in petroleum prices which has forced Government to raise taxes will jerk off the citizens to the task of policing government to live up to its responsibilities by at least providing basic amenities.
Nigeria must work, the task is ours. Outcries on social media have noticeably altered the content of the 2016 appropriation bill. We must keep speaking. The office of the citizen is alive. The future of Nigeria is in the hands of the office of the citizen. If we score our first victory this year, Nigeria might not need to borrow the $15 billion dollars deficit. Expunging all the fictitious items and reducing inflated items like the fence of N1 billion Naira from the budget will ensure that.
The 2016 appropriation bill has to be intensely scrutinised by the office of the citizen and senate, else the EFCC will literally be overwhelmed at the number of Dasukis it has to deal with in 2017. A word they say is enough for the wise.