The days when Nigeria and Nigerians swelled in economic plenitudes and riches buoyed by crude oil are fast becoming vanishing memories. Each day raises new dent in the economic barn of the Africa’s largest economy, yet the pitiably poorest in terms of the yawning gap between a privileged few, whose prosperity reeks of shoddiness and corrupt practices, and a large amount of miserables – the masses.
This straining phase of Nigeria’s existence did not just ghost in without a prior warning; the devil came after a billion minute persuasions and coaxing. Corruption, profligacy and improvidence in different degrees were and are the tools with which Nigerians, from the top to the base, toasted and are still courting the mite of economic woes into the land.
Nigeria’s political elites and their variegated cronies across all sectors, have become world-famous veritable despoilers of their country Commonwealth. The present harsh economic woe of the country is the culmination of these elite’s plundering. Perhaps they had been consciously blind to the various dark portraitures they had managed to evinced from foreigners, especially from the West, in relation to their fantastic debelitating act, when they suddenly morphed into scrupulous patriots cavilling at the truism in the former British Prime minister’s famous, but apt epithet…
David Cameron had surely seen much of the corruption harvest of Nigerian politicians and other privilege thiefing class freighted to his country on daily basis. He could have got notice of another of such now routine exercise on that very day he made his Nigerians are “fantastically corrupt.”
It is therefore not surprising that one of the beneficiaries of the pillaging business sought amnesty for his ilk. A distinguished Senator of the Federal Republic, Bassey Akpan, out of his sharp intellection, came out with a rather ingenious means of getting some of the stolen money -a whopping seventy percent- back into the country; an ingenuous admission, however, of the plunderous art that has overtime been perfectly mastered by the privileged class which he is part.
Moreover, along the economic rungs, from the base to the top, are many wrongs that are devastating the country. The art of corruption is well ingrained in the heart of most Nigerians that it is often the case of, the while you leap a rung to a higher one, the more you are expected to cart away the commonwealth. One is presumed a consummate fool who questions his own right to take from the ‘national chin chin.’ Many a Nigerian actually believes that stealing business is a turn-by-turn thing; so while it is your turn, fleece as much as possible. It is, therefore, not a surprise when Nigerians take umbrage at the trial of corrupt persons. ‘Everyone does it; it’s just that they’ve not be caught.’ This and other vindicative tunes play out of the mouths of many Nigerians, sadly.
The case of not saving for lean days was best exemplified by the capacity for rapacity that characterised the Jonathan’s era. When posterity looks back at that era, it will have to suspend its disbelief in men’s excessive drives for wealth that drove their country into almost economic comatose. Having one of the best economic teams in any government could not make the Jonathan-led government provident enough; nor the fact that the commander-in-chief of the Armed force rode into power on the goodwill of his people made him conscientious enough to safeguard their lives.
While Nigerians took untimely flights to heaven, Jonathan government took and shared among the friends and allies of the government the money earmarked for their security: the now famous Dasuki-gate.
Meanwhile, those down the economic ladder are not exempted from improvidence. In a bid to-enjoy-life-because-it’s-brief many Nigerians are recklessly frittering away the now scarcely got resources in their hands. Instead of adjusting to the situation of things in the country, some will rather not have a meal on their tables tomorrow than to eat less than they are used to today. There is a case of an electrician who complains he does not get work to do due to epileptic power supply, and so he cannot feed his family; but whenever he gets a work to do, he comes home stocked with beers, buys petroleum and then locks himself in his room while his stereo booms on. He loves this occasional boon that he forgets he is most time in economic doom.
Yet, the electrician is an archetype. He abounds in different shades and temperaments across the social spectra. It is a case of the misunderstanding of the alowo-majaiye dictum that Nigerians are wont to, wittingly or unwittingly.
In the light of the foregoing, therefore, it is imperative that apart from making tried, whether they are eventually convicted or not, corrupt persons as deterrents, there must be a paradigm shift in the premium and value placed on the acquisition of wealth. Something expedient needs be done to convince Nigerians, especially the youth that success does not have only one yardstick, wealth. Life-is-all-about-money craze must be beaten down in the media, in schools, in places of religious worships etc. Wealth is a factor, an important one, but other measures of marking a fulfilled life must be floated across all the possible platforms of information dissemination.
Furthermore, government across all levels must lead by examples if Nigeria’s floundering economic ship is to be saved from finally foundering. The incredible figures that Nigerians heard everyday as the money that maintain their leaders are incentives enough for anyone to aspire to one day get his chance of joining the leaders on the stage where he will also take his own share of the national cake. Politics has merely become a means towards economic uplift at the expense of others who waddle in hardship. This must be stopped and discouraged, but the leaders must start the process by removing the big logs in their eyes before followers follow suit by taking out their own specks.
Also the perennial cries for the diversification of the economy must now be heard, less things get to head completely. Nigeria is stupendously abounding in a large amount mineral resources, apart from petroleum. Agriculture must now been given serious regard it deserves.
Finally, these days are times when everyone must live with the realities on ground. Nigerians must realise that these days are lean days that must be adjusted to. The Buhari-led government also needs to be up to task in ensuring citizens trust it. The perceived taciturnity of this government in making known its plans must be looked into if it is to win citizens full trust. The case of having to explain things after decisions are made is not a good way to run a democratic government. The fallout from the subsisdy removal remains a good example of the heat a percieved insensitive government can generate.