Just Thinking...


Just a day after spending three weeks at the NYSC camp in Jigawa State, Northern Nigeria, I decided to spend a few days at the Federal Capital Territory. One of the memories from that stay is a picture I still have on my phone. A friend of mine who had seen corruption in play called my attention and I instinctively snapped the action. Directly above the flat I stayed was an NYSC Director. He had ordered that the food stuffs apparently meant for Youth Corp members be moved to his house. I saw bags of rice, beans , tubers of yam and all of that. I was really sad. Truth be told, what this government official was stealing is only a drop in the ocean compared to the real stealing going on at higher levels. The theft is more significant though when you realize that the food given to the Corp members in camp was low on quality and short on quantity. Folks of his ilk had deprived young Nigerians of the little provision made available to them by the Federal Government.

Theoretically, I’d think that the stealing started from the very top. In other words the deprivation of the Nigerian masses goes through a long chain of sleaze, corruption and mooching. The Ministry collects its allocation – the Minister visits the President to thank him for the appointment again – the Minister then takes care of himself – the responsibility is passed on to the Permanent Secretary – then to the Directors and Asst. Directors – to departmentmental heads – over to other members of staff –to major contractors –then subcontractors – the final contractor – the workers on the sites (if they are construction workers make do with material like bags of cement and all). At each stage of this diabolic process, the Nigerian masses are deprived of their nation’s wealth. The stolen resources differ based of position and sometimes based on the ability to cover.

Multiply that process by each government ministry at all levels – federal, state and local, it happens at all arms and it happens every where Nigeria’s money is allocated. Many organizations have tried to sum the cost of corruption to Nigerians but they have no idea. It is unimaginable. I know this because I have seen and heard the process in action.
It is the reason people are getting hacked, it is the cause of the several party in-fightings and parallel primaries, it is the reason why roads remain under-construction or poorly constructed. It is why south eastern Nigerian students can not go to school. It is the reason why young Nigerians are queuing up at embassies.

Back in Lagos, I have an INEC Training to catch up with so I have to shorten this piece – just now, a truck brought in crates of table water and packs of sausage roll, then drove out. I understand that was suppose to be the refreshment for training participants. The money was allocated, the refreshment was seen to have been arranged but they beneficiaries only saw them, they never tasted of them. They probably had an arrangement with the suppliers that they’d soon return the goods.

Ours is a painful experience. I am proud of my nationality but the things I see virtually everyday make the experience hurt. It hurts seeing the Nigerian masses get deprived of the little they are entitled to. I only wish these same masses will be smart enough to take their destinies in their own hands – Register to Vote, Select whom to Vote for, Vote for the person and Protect your Votes – RSVP. This is a first necessary step to saving Nigeria for tomorrow.

I feel the pain of the Nigerian masses, it hurts me like no other but I must say that the masses have had their hand in their own pain and suffering.
A prominent politician told me he’d vote for one candidate at the party primaries but he will get paid bribes by every candidate in the pool. When you collect money and food stuffs from politicians, you lose your moral right to blame when they steal your money. You have by so doing established the notion of eating from the national cake.

As I wrote my name for the INEC Training allowance, a fellow Corp member said I was writing my name for national cake. I promptly corrected her because having spent about N3,500.00 in transportation alone for the Training, I was actually paying for it rather than getting paid. Everyone wants to think that s/he is eating the national cake and one way or the other we all have ate of the proverbial cake but if we did things the right way, Nigeria’s cake would go round and no one would be left uncared for. The challenge is getting everyone to think in terms of all than self.
Just make sure to be part of the electoral process. Start by Registering, then getting others to do same. We pick it from there. We must save Nigeria because Nigeria indeed needs saving. I know so.

@omojuwa on twitter

About the author


In the beginning...Let there be Light http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japheth_J._Omojuwa

Leave a Comment