Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Vagabond In Power

How does a thief  almost become the president of Nigeria? A former governor from Nigeria pled guilty to being a thief, fraudster and money launderer in a British court of law. I was ashamed!

How, I asked myself, does a nation of millions, the majority honest, hardworking and talented have allowed this to happen? More embarrassing and disgraceful was the faceless crowd of placard carriers demanding this vagabond in power (VIP) be released. 

I don't know if that was a rent-a-crowd stunt, or just a bunch of sleazy cronies trying to put political spin on illegality regardless of guilt. All I know, is the crowd/mob does not represent any constituent part of the Nigerian citizenry. 

Too often, my country Nigeria is wrongly portrayed as a hopelessly corrupt nation. A monicker undeserved by most of  my fellow nationals. At least not those that I come into contact and interact with on a very regular basis. 

The imposition of poverty, a lack of education and the failure to introduce skill development by government has created an impression within the nation that these failures are unimportant. 

Every day, they see the corrupt living the life of Riley, living it large and basically rubbing it in the faces of the law abiding and honest citizen. Many of the corrupt are sometimes hero-worshipped by adults who should know better. The message being, you can achieve wealth and prominence only through corruption and deviousness. 

This mindset has seduced many otherwise honest citizens to participate in order to achieve certain goals like obtaining a driver's license, building permit or just avoiding prosecution for a traffic offence. Most participate not because they want to, but to them, it's the road of least resistance.

 Being nice, generous and unassuming can sometimes be a disadvantage and this trait which is common place in Nigeria is one of the things that make us vulnerable to being hoodwinked by the crooks in our midst. Another reason could lie in the fact that the electorate hasn't become sophisticated enough and this leaves the majority numbering millions to be prey to wily political operatives who exploit our gullibility.

Whatever the case, I breathe a sigh of relief that Mr Ibori's ultimate goal of achieving the vice presidency within Nigeria came to nothing. Now, he is where he belongs, being served porridge for breakfast in a British jail cell. This should be a lesson to Nigerians to be more discerning in the people they elect to high political office. 

We learn from experience and since nobody really knows what is in the mind of another we still have to trust but we can be more alert and on guard that something like this should never, ever happen again.

With Social Media, Nigerians have an opportunity to expose the corrupt, challenge the incompetent and shame all those who give our citizens a bad name. We need to make our governments accountable to it's citizens. 


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