I Would Rather Stay Poor

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pharmacy

 

Pharm. (Dr)  Lolu Ojo

The purpose of governance is to make the society better and, for this reason, a nation surrenders its sovereignty to a group of people in government,  led by the president and commander-in-chief. It is expected that the president will work through his appointed cabinet, advisers, and the civil service. These are the people that we have entrusted with the management of our commonwealth for the good of the society. 

In Nigeria, the commonwealth has, over the years, been mismanaged so much that lives have become more miserable, infrastructures are deficient, public education is in coma, security is no longer guaranteed, and citizens cannot enjoy the basic things of life.

I have pondered over this matter and concluded that it is time to beam the searchlight on the society itself where the national rebirth should take place for us to produce leaders that will take our country out of the self-imposed poverty and misery.

 

Pervasive evil

The atmosphere in the country is fouled up with reports of evil perpetrated by man against his fellow human being. There is hardly any aspect of our life that is not affected by the tale of atrocities committed by neighbours against neighbours. The household, hitherto considered a haven for its members, is now a devil’s workshop, with reports of spousal violence leading to death on the increase. 

I am usually confused and alarmed when I read reports of a man raping or killing his mother for rituals, a 45-year-old man defiling a five-year-old girl, a boyfriend luring his girlfriend to spots where she will be gang-raped and so many other weird happenings that defy logic taking the front pages of our newspapers.

The pursuit of money, power, affluence, and control has taken on a dangerous dimension where people no longer care what they do to get what they want. There is a seemingly never-ending and mad struggle for the control of environmental or national resources and everyone is a “king” in his area of influence. Nothing matters anymore. The devil seems to be in charge. 

 

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Naked truth

As we enter a new phase in the nation’s history, it is time for us to tell ourselves the “naked” truth and provide answers to a myriad of questions that can be summarised as: where lies the hope for this nation? Where is the hope that things will get better? Where is the hope that Nigeria will overcome her current challenges? Where is the hope that we can, as we used to do, travel freely without the fear of being kidnapped, shot, robbed, or otherwise deprived of our humanity? Are we ever going to recover that free movement in and around the country, and that “one nation bound in freedom, (prosperity), peace and unity”?

It is often so easy to blame the government and the leaders for the several ills of the nation, but I submit here that things have gone wrong for a long time, and we bear a collective responsibility for the state of the nation. It is true that the nation needs a visionary and purposeful leadership that will steer the ship to the bright and desired destination. However, it is equally true that “every country has the government it deserves.” The legendary Greek philosopher, Aristotle, once told us that “He who has never learnt to obey cannot be a good commander”. Let us look around us and see if those who sought or are seeking to rule us are people who have learnt or have been seen to obey the rules.

We have a substantial fraction of the population that are reputed for their cunning ability to live outside the normal standard set for society and yet, at each election cycle, we are always expecting a miracle for a messiah to emerge from our midst. Are we not the ones who know the right things to do but who always choose to do otherwise? Are we not the ones, who as contractors, will collect money from government and do nothing? Are we not the ones crafting the state or federal budgets every year that tend to attend to individual greed, rather than the common good of state or the nation? Are we not the ones that populate the civil service which has, over the years, grown experts in self-enrichment? Is it not true that many of our civil servants are in-house contractors and are awarding contracts to themselves? 

Are we not the ones in position everywhere? Are we going to truly say that the president is responsible for the 80 billion naira allegedly stolen by the accountant general? What about our elected representatives in the National Assembly and the tales of massive allowances and corruption-driven endorsements and activities?  Are we not the ones who are collecting money in the name of constituency projects, but do nothing and appropriate the money to ourselves? The situation at the local government levels may be worse, as the officials there are known to share the monthly allocations among themselves.

 Overall, we have, by our individual activities at the official, private and community levels, brought this country down and we have a collective responsibility to bring the country back to normalcy. No country can thrive or survive if her elites at all levels are neck deep in corruption and evil practices.

 

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Way forward

The first step in the discharge of this responsibility is to accept that we have all “sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and we must do personal introspection and take a decision to change. We must accept that we have been wrong and take a stand that “I would rather stay poor than to amass fortune from the misfortune of others. I would rather stay poor than to become a billionaire by using my position for extortion or outright stealing of government fund earmarked for developmental projects. I would rather stay poor than to get promoted either in politics, societies, organisations, associations, or offices by bringing other people down. I would rather stay poor than to be engaged in kidnapping, armed robbery, banditry, 419, yahoo-yahoo or other vices to make money. I would rather stay poor than to be a ritualist, killing people and using their body parts for concoctions.”

We must clean up our society and this will start at the individual and family levels. No one is going to live forever, irrespective of the status attained in life. As for me and my family, we have taken a position that we would rather stay poor than to make life difficult for others.  

By Pharm. (Dr)  Lolu Ojo,  FPSN

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