By Bobson Gbinije |
The rebarbative imprimatur and the bright sunshine of generic development and economic bliss, illuminates the lives of the vast majority of people in any nation, with sound economic policies bereft of bad leadership and corruption. Economic prosperity, peace and progress are the quid pro quo which the people get in return for their commitment to the tenets of the ‘Social Contract’. Hence, the economist Dr. E. Schumacher (1911-1977) posited in his book “Small is Beautiful” that, “call a thing immoral or ugly, soul-destroying or a degradation of man, peril to the world or to the well-being of future generations as long as you have not shown it to be “Uneconomic” you have not really questioned its right to exist, grow and prosper.”
We need no econometric synopsis and catechism to know that the egregiously cataleptic and corrupt disposition of the Nigerian leadership at all levels right from 1960 till date, has left the Nigerian masses anaesthetized, indurated, castrated and asphyxiated by the scorching pangs of poverty. This is against the back drop of the fact that Nigeria is the sixth biggest producer of oil in the world. It has earned trillions of petro-dollars from 1956 when oil was first discovered at Oloibiri, Bayelsa State, till its commercialization in 1958. The economic strangulation of Nigerians has been pursued and still being pursued with robust gusto by the ruling class, right from independence, so much so that, it is now the fundamental objective and directive principles of state policy. The quintessential entrenchment of poverty in Nigeria has become our National anthem, pledge and motto.
The Nigerian project and by extension the African agenda, has been a still-birth, a gridlock and a cliffhanger running in concentric circles because of the intravenous incapability of Nigeria to create a leadership focus. Existing statistical data show that Nigeria is cascading down the horrendous economic quagmire of weird poverty. In 1970, then 10years after independence, Nigeria was ranked 37th in the world with per capital income of $1, 00 U.S. dollar. But today, at more than 54 years after independence Nigeria is ranked the second poorest country in the world with a yearly percentage income of $300 dollars. Poverty in Nigeria is catalytically fueled by the bane of corruption which has become our national ethos. The political leadership is unrelenting and religiously devoted to the god of corruption. The trial of corrupt government officials, right from independences till date is always manipulated and now still being manipulated by the Machiavellian antics of the government in power. They are all sacred cows. The PDP syndicate has rendered the EFCC, ICPC and CCB etc. impotent through the spider web of judicial intrigues. Nigerians are consigned to the ineluctable fate of dreadful poverty, economic objurgation and arrested development.
The exigently execrable hand of corruption will definitely accentuate the penumbra of darkness over shadowing our nation. The case of the recidivist and irredeemably criminal politicians are so unthinkably bad that we hope that their inability to learn from the lessons of history will not take the hands of our political clock backwards to the road to Yugoslavia and the Hobbesian state of nature manifested in a revolution, youth restiveness, communal clashes, riots, political unrest, religious schism, secession and Rawlings-like killing of the past and present leaders. The president of Nigeria is a pariah president who won an election through the rapacious and buccaneering pillaging of votes coordinated and sponsored by professor IWU’s INEC. The Wild-Wild West, the Wild-Wild East and the Niger Delta imbroglio continues to anathemise our nation whilst poverty and corruption continues to decimate our people.
At over 54 years of independences, we need no political clairvoyant and ritualistic necromancer sunken in prophetic evocation and possessed by the rhomboidal schmaltzy to know that the Nigerian nation is gallivanting and junketing in the cauldron of self-destruct. And like a chicken whose head has been cut off: it may run about in a lively way, but in fact it is dead. Nigeria is clinically nuanced in a cadaverous morgue and it can only be brought back to life through a Lazarus-like miracle.
It needs an economic revolution, moral rearmament, social reinvention, leadership ablution, religious repositioning and political renaissance to rekindle it back to life. Otherwise, all the laudably lofty ideas of NEPAD, SEEDS, NEEDS, PRIVATIZATION, CURRENCY REDENOMINATION, MICRO AND MACRO FINANCING THROUGH SMES, NIGER DELTA MASTER PLAN, DESOPADEC, AGRONOMY, COMMUNICATION, EDUCATION, POWER DISTRIBUTION, WATER PROJECT, ROAD CONSTRUCTION, HOUSING AND MEDICAL PROJECTS etc. will continue to be a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury signifying nothing.
The challenges of the times and the quantifiable targets for government are captured in the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). MDG represents a global agreement setting out key standards that nations should achieve by 2015. The goals include the following: Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieve Universal Primary Education, promote gender equality and empower women, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS and other diseases, ensure environmental sustainability and develop a global partnership for development. All these sound like cryptogrammed hieroglyphics to the Nigerian Government. The so-called drive to make Nigeria one of the twenty (20) most developed economies in the year 2020 remains a mirage. Whither goeth Nigeria in the throes of teratoid corruption after some many years of independence? We cannot make palpable developmental strides without killing the monster of corruption.
Finally, the Nigeria nation will continue to steeple chase in the crepuscular crevices of backwardness and arrested development unless the monster of corruption is given a gruesomely lethal blow through the introduction of the “DEATH PENALTY” for corruption misdemeanors. The legal logistics could be worked out. Nigeria cannot make meaningful economic progress unless we rededicate ourselves to the nuts and bolts of nation building. The grotesque salamander-like assassinations, armed robbery, suicide and the unpatriotic characteristic of the Nigerian will continue to be on the ascendancy unless there is an economic exorcism to deracinate the Nigeria nation from the wicked incubus of poverty, this must be the Holy Grail of our match to nationhood. Late John F. Kennedy corroborated this position when he said, “if a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.” A word is enough for the wise. The 2015 elections should precipitate a time for sober reflections. The statesman Franklin Roosevelt (1882 – 1945) said, “These unhappy times call for the building of plans that build from the bottom up, that put their faith once more in the forgotten man at the bottom of the economic pyramid.” If Nigerians vote in a corrupt leadership and government, they have themselves to blame.
•Chief Bobson Gbinije is national coordinator of Mandate Against Poverty (MAP) based in Warri, Delta State.
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