THE EFFECT

When water is poisoned at source it will also have the traces of the poison wherever it flows.

What we were handed as a government was a tainted one. Upon this, most governance and leadership were patterned after. Check every tier of government and every sector. We have leaders and people who are there thinking of what they could make out of the system.

The colonial master’s primary goal is about how best they could harness their colony with the intent of maximum exploitation. The leaders they breed follow suit.

At the federal level we have been able to raise many presidents who thought the resources of the nation are theirs and to be used as they wish. Many of them successfully diverted huge sum of money for personal gains. To make it worse, they stole their people’s money to help the already settled economy of the advanced nations through diverse money laundering tactics. It was a case of an ex Head-of-State whose loots have to be expatriated over and over from different offshore accounts.
This implies that such leaders do not have their people’s interest in their heart in the first place. The citizens committed to their care do not matter to them. The programs that see the light of the day are those that have direct benefits to them or the cause they have vested interest in. They are vestiges of the colonial masters.

In the same vein, other national leaders take after the overall head. They share and plunder what rightly belongs to the populace: the colonial master’s style of governance. Everybody is looking for the opportunity to plunder and take advantage of the other. We think in terms of “my own” and not “our own”. There is no cohesive force of corporate drive for a common laurel and achievement. Each person, every tribe and religion want to outshine without thinking of his fellow’s wellbeing. This is the debased mind sold to us and which we kept on propagating. If we keep nourishing our debased mind of personal gain and aggrandizement at the expense of others, we should not expect so much from the system.
We could see the expression of our inordinate propensity for self in diverse ways and forms.

Example of the Lawmakers

Taking a look at the senate, the federal representatives and the State House of Assemblies one would notice that many of the bills passed in one way or the other do not represent the interest of the masses. Often those bills were created to protect or benefit a specific class.

The said lawmakers may want to argue that they are doing great; to these ones I say: talk is cheap – by their fruit you shall know them. No matter the line of defense, it is clear that the common man is not well favoured by most of the bills rolled out.

Nigeria is a wonderland where the laws hardly affect the super rich and powerful; they always have a way out. Don’t we wonder about the porosity of the Nigerian laws which seldom affect the high class, the rich, the nobles and the politicians? There was a case of a Nigerian leader who was acquitted by Nigerian law, but the same man was charged and imprisoned in a foreign country on the same charges.

Our laws are deliberately designed that way to protect the big guys at the expense of the rest.

Why do you think we have more bills protecting the larger corporations, rich individuals and the powerful? This happens when lawmakers are after personal gains: bribes corrupt good judgment. The conglomerates, multinationals and large firms have a way of paying dues to favour bills that will protect them: even when they are over charging or offering inferior services.

Many of the accursed bills are purported to stifle the growth of the common man, but in a subtle way. I believed that many of our regulatory agencies and controlling agencies are often paid hugely by some mega corporate firm to trample the upcoming under the guise of regulation. These nasty deals are done under the cover of this ill intentioned bills and laws.

Many of the bills and laws around us do not empower the common man; until the common man is empowered the economy will never be liberated. Empowered people build an empowered nation!

Good laws will create enabling environment and equal opportunity for all. But in a corrupt society some people are placed above the law because some powerful lawmakers are induced to tamper with the laws and constitution in a negative way. Somebody may not like what I am saying here, but clearly no name is called; what we want if you are affected is that you choose to make a change now.

The lawmakers were placed or elected there by the people and for the people but they never saw it that way. Once they get there the negative mindset goes to work: the evil model from the colonial masters that represent its own interest by lording it over its subjects.

It was a sorry expression of a man’s faculty to call his subject apes. This was the picture of a colonial master of his colony – he sees them as not better than apes (animals) to be used for personal own end. This therefore portends the colonial masters as bad leaders.

In their footstep we have raised from our own kindred worst leaders bedeviled with reckless pursuit of personal interests.

Examples of the Governors

Coming downward, we have governors of states who believe the state is their personal possession. They give the expression as if they own the people and whatever magnanimity they do is of personal benevolence. It is a common thing for a governor to come on air to blah what he has done as if he used his personal funds to execute projects. Their expression shows that they do not think deep that whatever they do are of duty of theirs, a mandate and rights of the people. Many of these governors go offshore to borrow loans which would put the future generations into bondage.

Why do most of them borrow in the first place? When they borrow, they have access to large fund, with large fund opportunity to “execute project”, to execute project is to gain opportunity to pocket some of these large sum in percentages. Self enriching at the expense of the people!
The colonial masters seem better in this wise: even though they came to pillage our resources, they left behind durable projects, structures and work. But our own native leaders who are of the same blood are demonically possessed with greed as they loot our common good to the skin.

Things are falling apart because of the height of greed and self centeredness of our leaders; everything falls from the center and decays from the foundation. The whole lot is excited into the race of greed and self.

Nigerian politicians are mostly of the same bunch which includes the lower cadres and tiers: the local government chairmen, political advisers, federal ministers and commissioners. Everyone seems to look for opportunity for personal enrichment.

THE ROOT

The colonial master when they were about leaving called for a referendum. They designed what government should be; we did not design the government system we are operating. It was handed over to us and we never questioned the content because the so called government was made to favour the center and the few fortunate ones. It is a government that allows greed and corruption to thrive. The clamour has remained: whosoever gets to the center controls the power, resources and the people. Because of this, the vast of African nations and the colonized worlds have not known rest, respite or progress. Ours has been a land for savages. The problem in the actual sense is not the people but the model of governance we are using.

Anyone who gets to the center would never be able to effect any meaningful change until we overhaul the present form of government. This will continue until we have strong leaders who would question such system of government and this will require sincere and selfless personalities.

When a government becomes too strong, it weakens its constituency. When much power is reposed in a government, it adapts most of its citizens into herds of communities; and everyone begins to think that his life depends on the central power. When much resources is taken to the center, it automatically create an unmatched grandeur and opulence for those who are fortunate to be at the center; thus making them assume the position of little gods to be worshiped. While those who are outside the corridor of power will go through any length of Machiavellian intrigues to be in power.

The name or type of government being practiced does not matter, what really matters is the content, fruit and dividend of governance. Most of the colonized world including Nigeria may adopt federalism, confederalism or democratic system but they have not been able to undo the subtle system beneath our government system. The strength of a structure is firmly attached to its foundation.

Until the foundation is visited and addressed, no change of worth can be achieved.

The Pot of Death

There is a stolen mandate that has taken away sleep from all of us and we are all awake by the same dilemma. The man in opulence could not sleep because of the marauder. The marauder in turn has no rest because he is hungry, for the man in opulence has taken over his inheritance. Sleep has been murdered, and to rest for both, there must be a middle ground for settlement!

To get the point home I will take a moment to tell us a very good story I heard when I was young. It is not about how true it was but the lesson it scored.

This is the story.

Once, there were three good friends. They had been together for years, no one ever heard of their quarrel, and if there was ever any quarrel, they amicably settled issues among themselves. Their status difference was nothing to them as they were all contented hunters and farmers. They took turn in one another home and had many things in common except their wives of course.

When they did not go to their respective farms they do go on hunting expedition together. In one of such hunting expedition, they had hardly gone far into the forest when a man ran past them like someone who was frightened as he kept shouting: Death! Death! Death!

Hunters in the olden days were trained to be bold and fearless; these three friends looked into one another eyes and agreed to move in the direction where the unknown man ran away from. They courageous inched forward and on the alert.

Almost the same time, they saw at a distance some brilliant bars beneath a tree. They gasped and prayed it should be real. They all rushed forward, felt the bars and smelled them. They lived in an age that used gold, so they agreed these must be real gold.

To be sure they are not being careless, they went ahead a little for more search but could not find anything that represented death or danger. They came back to the tree and were happy about their new prospect of riches.

As they gazed on the large bars of gold, each of them began to imagine how to take ownership of the gold all alone. One of them went to town to buy wine to celebrate their fortune and he had it poisoned along the way. When he came, the other two shot him dead, and they drank the wine only to die from the effect of the poison. They all died around the pot of gold.

Our system of government is the pot of gold that is leading to the death and destruction of countless numbers. Take the pot of gold away and we will begin to live together in peace, love and harmony. The pot of gold has divided us along the line of religion, social stratification, beliefs, ideologies, and ethnicity. Each constituent or group wants to poison or destroy the other to get things closer to its own side. This has led to death, poverty, corruption and conflicts. The negative impact is growing day by day.

Free or unearned riches are death, the more surplus the more adversarial such becomes.

HINDSIGHT TO THE PRESENT STATE

Lord Luggard

When the colonial masters rule their citizens back in their native land, they rule with different strategies, principles and mindset. But to us, they sold inverted principles, strategies and mindset that made us fight, squabble and get ourselves corrupted on nothingness. They gave us a farce version of “government”.

The government becomes the little god we were all called to serve (government is a figment of imagination which takes its strength from whatever we imagined it to be).

The bigger we make the government, the weaker the society becomes. The much we depend on the government the more retrogressive we will become. This is why Nigeria and many of the colonized nations are where they are today – we depend overly on the government!

If we believe we have to wait on the government for virtually everything, we are likely not going to succeed or make much meaning out of life.
Deliberately or not we have been programmed to think in a certain way. Our creative power has been taken away. Our resilience and strength to strive have been subordinated at the altar of government. When you think someone else is there to carry your burden, you cripple the development of your own capability over time.

As long as we make the government the little god that sees to our welfare, determines our fate and solves most of our life’s problems we are in trouble.

I am not talking about the government being the problem; instead, I am talking about the perception and imagery of government and governance.

The perception of a shadow and the image itself are two different things. If we are frightened out of proportion, we can make a ghost out of a shadow. In reality a shadow is not synonymous to a ghost (perception issue). The perception of government and governance in Nigeria has contributed to why we are where we are today.

Government is neither good nor bad; it is what we make out of it that is important.

The Denomination

The denomination of a good government is this: the empowerment of the people.

The purpose of a government is to empower the people to become more; helping them to realize the best use of their potentials, to help the individual citizen look to self as the answer.

True government should not sap the people or reduce them in any way.
The government should enhance and not adapt the people.

To enhance is to help them become more, achieve more and gain more of what they could become or realize; providing an enabling environment to display their creative ability, talents, gifts and entrepreneurial ability and whatever they possess.

To adapt the people is to convert the people for a different use. This is about abusing the people, taking away their desire, dreams and aspirations because of imposed limitations. At the end, the people turn out to become an inferior personality of their real being.

Backward nations take power from the people and end up adapting them for lesser cause. Weak leaders believe that when you empower the followers, you end up losing them. This is what I call stinking thinking.
A corrupt government takes that which belongs to others; at the expense of the society and uses it for their own ego.

Also, a society that places the weak to rule over the strong is a perverted one; this is an adaptation of the trained hands and those with leadership ability to be subjected to the level of mediocre. As the day is far away from the night, any society that favours the weak at the expense of the strong can never know progress, advancement and greatness. In such situations, the strong is repressed and adapted or fashioned to act below their innate endowments while the weak that is promoted right in his weak state is denied the process of true growth and the satisfaction that comes from achieving what is truly ones due.

A child who gets everything free without his own input often abuse things and the good life itself. The more you pamper a child, the more you lose him. Expose him, let him fight his own battles and he will live to appreciate life. A nation, people, tribe and individuals who live for free things will never realize their true potentials. Just as a spoilt child is menacing, indulging and destructive so is a spoilt individuals who get things they do not labour for or things they do not deserve.

Give people the rights to earn their due and peace will be restored to our land. Injustice, inequalities, and non-equity are together troubling gangrene that is eating health out of nationhood.

A spoilt child will destroy others and finally destroy himself. Children who did not earn their worth often fritters it away through frivolity: bad relationships, waste and addiction. Of what use then is helping a child to destroy himself? In the same way, when we steal from one tribe or group to help a weakling to cover-up a facade of federation, we are only helping to destroy what we tend to pamper. Time to think deeply: there is nothing really free except what will end up gagging a man’s capability of a truly rich life.

Match opportunities with growth; create a level playing field as each is helped to become better. Let the citizens find their joy and satisfaction not in things but in the very process of becoming, sacrificing and giving.
A true government is positioned to empower its citizens to realize their potentials and to find meaning to their own lives through active contribution to the wellbeing of the world they belong.