One of the million reasons we are still stagnated and underdeveloped in Nigeria is because we are all corrupt. Yes! Everyone in Nigeria is corrupt,
I have sat and pondered unceasingly on why Nigeria is still on the road to development after many years of independence. Despite the abundant resources deposited herein both human and natural and billions of dollars spent to enable us arrive at our desired destination, we are still creeping, still struggling to stand on our feet. Now, while searching for answers, I can’t say that I have found the detailed reasons we are still underdeveloped, but my quest yielded a few insightful reasons as to why we are still here, reasons which I will gladly share with everyone.
One of the million reasons we are still stagnated and underdeveloped in Nigeria is because we are all corrupt. Yes! Everyone in Nigeria is corrupt, stop accusing the leaders alone of corruption. In a country of over 150 million people, our leaders constitute less than 5% of our population, they are the microcosm of the larger society and it follows that they were once followers. Our leaders didn’t just assume their leadership positions from the cradle; they were once ruled by other leaders who were also corrupt. Remember that when today’s leaders were followers they loathed and criticized the corrupt attitudes of the previous leaders.
They also complained about poor roads, lack of good health care, sound education and lack of basic infrastructure. They thought they could change things positively when they assume leadership positions only for them to become today’s leaders and unleash their innate corrupt tendencies. Corruption in Nigeria has a ripple effect; it runs from one generation to another generation. Let’s not forget quickly that we are all humans and we are clouded by our nature of self interest, we think only in terms of ourselves and things that will give us immediate gains. Majority of us will only think of others only when we are self satisfied. Corruption has eaten deep into the fabric of our society and we are all major players in it.
Imagine a parent that cries that the leadership of Nigeria is corrupt but will gladly bribe an NYSC official so that the child can serve in Lagos or Abuja. A contractor that bemoans the corrupt state of the nation will happily bribe a Government official so that his proposal will pull through. A student will fearlessly ask his parents money for “sorting” his lecturer so that he will pass his examination. All these and others are countless examples of corrupt practices we have in one way or the other engaged in. Until we all make an ego free admission that we all are corrupt and stop pointing accusing fingers to the Government. Until we make a sincere and thorough self evaluation of our sick attitudes of giving and receiving of bribes and other corrupt practises in Nigeria, we will keep being here.
Another poignant reason we are still here is because majority of Nigerians are afflicted with the more talk and less action syndrome. Plenty of us can talk the talk but can’t carry out the required actions to bring about the change we desire. We all want things to change but we don’t want to take those drastic steps that will enforce those changes. Take for example the occupy Nigeria protests. While a handful Nigerians were out there on the streets demanding their rights and asking for a fair deal from the Government, million others were relaxing in the comforts of their homes.
Take another look at our Manpower; Nigeria is blessed with some of the best brains in the world. Our professors have made and are still making ground breaking theories in Governance and other fields of human endeavour. We have great minds that can hold a large audience captivated for hours in seminars with their astounding ideas but the sad thing is that these great minds and their sound ideas only end up in the labs and classrooms. They barely work in real life scenarios. A cursory look at the social media space will reveal lots of lofty ideas on how we can move onto greatness as a nation, but the question is how many people have tried to practice all they know for the betterment of their immediate community? Saying it right does not equal doing it right.
While persons like Oluwaseun Fakude of BEACONS_NG are trying to create awareness and sensitization on how deplorable our local communities have become, millions on social networks only specialise in futile diatribes against the Government. We see the effects without looking back at the causes and taking steps to redeem them. It is sad that we are still grappling with the fact that we have to match classroom brilliance with market place intelligence, which is a must, if we must evolve as a nation. Until we realise that it’s high time we started putting all our ideas to work, until our great minds become thinkers that will engage in works that will make positive and lasting difference in our society, until we learn to walk the length and height of our talk, we will keep stagnating, we will keep being here.
Another reason we are still here is because millions of Nigerians are unpatriotic. It baffles me how every American can die for their country. It intrigues me how passionate an American can become at the sight of their national flag or at the sound of their national anthem. It further excites me each time an American utters “God bless America” at the slightest opportunity. They do this because they have unparalleled love and unflinching patriotism for their country. They are proud to be identified as Americans.
But it’s a different case in Nigeria. Here, we don’t have an iota of loyalty to our national identity; no one wants to make any little selfless sacrifice that will engender the needed transformation. It is common to find a wealthy Nigerian brutalizing a fellow poor Nigerian because he cannot afford the luxuries of the law – law is a luxury in Nigeria. It is very common to find a high ranking Nigerian that cannot recite the national anthem and the pledge correctly. This is because there is no love for our country and our country men, because before you will love your country, you must have love for your fellow countrymen – a precondition for patriotism.
If only Nigerians can exude such love and patriotism for our countrymen and our country. If only we will stop hurling abuses at our fellow Nigerians in the “Molue” buses and in public places. If only we can see ourselves first as Nigerians. If only we can recite the national anthem and the pledge with pure and sincere hearts filled with the zeal to do well. If only we can learn to say “God bless Nigeria.” then we will be on our way out of this mess our ignorance has placed us.
Finally, the major reason we are still here is because millions of Nigerians are poor. Poverty in this sense does not only mean physical or material, it also includes poverty of the mind and soul. Of all the various kinds of poverty, the worst is the poverty of the mind –mental poverty, and millions of us are held captive by this type of poverty. Poverty breeds greed. Greed breeds corruption. No matter how rich a person is, if you still plagued by the poverty of the mind, you are doomed.
This further clarifies why a Government official or a company director will want to steal the commonwealth of the people to the tune of trillions of naira. They do this because they don’t want to fall back to their previous status which is poverty inflicted. Take the example of a child that is not well fed, that grew up in lack. If that child goes to the house of plenty, it is common for him to feed until he is super satisfied. He will even be tempted to take some food home because he has been ravaged by poverty of the mind, body and soul. This is how it is in Nigeria. Before we can deliver and move the nation forward, we must deliver and move ourselves. Before we get out of this mess we are in, we must fight to extricate ourselves from the bondage of the different types of poverty because poverty is a scourge so dreadful and a disease so devastating. With millions of Nigerians grappling with this menace, we will still be here.
About the author: This piece is written by Richard Chilee, @richardchilee.
Richard Chilee is a thinker, writer and entrepreneur.
Editor’s note: Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.