A view point on the N32 billion hoard of blood and sweat
by bimbo amole
The whole story of the diverted, nay, stolen N32billion pension fund simply takes us to the same point of discussion of the lacuna in our laws. Until the stealing finger is cut and the irresponsible office holder is subjected to the full weight of the law, we are going nowhere. That was why I knew the last subsidy protest was bound to fail. It is just a wee part of the real protests that need to be staged by Nigerians.
I mean is it not interesting that we’ve been hearing of several officers bailing with the blood of the country in form of billions of Naira and Nigerians hardly stand up? It took the proposed raising of fuel price to N141 to make the Nation wake up and it seems we have long gone back to our divans to recline. It tells a lot about us, which Fela stylishly labelled “suffering and smiling.” As long as we can have our meals, some little party and some mirth, Nigerians go on with no care in the world. We do not bother if some crooks are robbing the country blind. But it is precisely because of the action of such one, two, three, tens of crooks who rob the nation that issues like subsidy removal come up! It is because of such that the nation can not boast of any meaningful turnover of her resources: no steady electricity, non-functional transport system, comatose health institutions, halls of ignorance which pose like schools since education is adulterated, mediocre public services that make you go sick. Name it. And the crooks leading us know this. They know we are people of the porridge syndrome. “Give them some little stuff, and they are okay to go for a few years. And we can continue the looting.”
The point remains that the greater enemy to fight is the non-functionality of law, the non-functional democracy itself. Not just some bizarre subsidy-removal. It is because the laws have no force that officers, elected or otherwise will loot the treasury of the nation, feed fat on the resources of the country and the poor, starved and oppressed people would be called to pay for it. The real work before us is to make the Nigerian law a leveller of all: from the President to the janitor. But to begin with, do we even have what you could call a Constitution? It would appear Nigeria needs a re-invention starting from that angle. Any meaningful nation thrives on the sanctity of the law. Righteousness exults a nation, says the good book. Not that sort of righteousness propagated by thousands of churches which only ends on Sunday noon o. Righteousness and functionality of the Law! Ask yourself a question. Supposing any public officer found guilty of mismanagement of public fund is given a non-option jail term of 20 years, what shall happen in this country? There may be several answers but of one I’m sure: no man will hoard N32 billion of people’s sweat and blood only to share with his cohorts. Alas! Somebody said those to make and enforce such laws form part of the cohorts.
But I still believe in the resilience and fruitfulness of serious and diligent public officers/Nigerians. I believe in the witnesses that have ‘gone’ before us. it took an Akinyuli to turn Nafdac around; a Fashola to make an impact in Lagos; a Ken Saro Wiwa to beam light on the travails of his people; On the international scene, it took a Mandela to turn the western public conscience on the apartheid plague; a Rosa Parks’ refusal to heed the racist law to vacate seat on a public bus to spark a national call for parity; a revolutionary Galileo to upturn the wrong geocentricism of his time(suffering to the extent of condemnation to solitude), a brave, wise but humble John Paul II to ask for pardon for the wrongs of the Church, hitherto unthinkable.
The point remains: since things are this difficult in Nigeria, we cannot move forward except by the little ‘miracles’ of witnesses. Witnessing of men and women. Few they may be. But like the yeast that ferments the entire flour, we need them now so badly.
Is history calling you to make an impact in this nation? Give it a serious thought. I do believe 2015 should be a watershed in the life of this country. And men and women of substance should be encouraged to come forward and fight this sordid system of dirt and death. We cannot continue to moan and lament. It should lead us to strategies. And one important strategy is to search-out, encourage and put forward those few witnesses amongst us. I do believe they exist among us, some of them very near to you. It might as a matter of fact just be you.