Dele Momodu in Letter to the President
“Sir, for every one billion Naira we waste on frivolous projects, the dream of a fresh thousand millionaires would have perished. If you hand me the N2.2 billion Naira you are about to spend on building a new banquet suite in Aso Rock, I will instantly create 2,200 brand-new millionaire farmers from our large army of brilliant but unemployed youths. Each of them would be able to employ 10 to 20 people in production, preservation, processing and distribution. If you think I’m joking, please hand me the money and I will urgently invite applications from potential beneficiaries. I and my team pledge not to earn a kobo from the project”.
“If I may ask, what is wrong with the banquet suite you presently have? Is it not better to spend money on providing jobs than trying to show off to visitors that we are prosperous in the midst of want poverty? I’m writing this letter from Cambridge University, one of the oldest surviving institutions of learning. The buildings of most Colleges here are as ancient as history, yet there is no plan to demolish them and build new ones. The problem with us is lack of a maintenance culture. You can rehabilitate the old banquet suite with less than N100 million and turn it into an architectural masterpiece. I’m sure you won’t spend your personal money the way ours is being poured away like rain water. Do you know how old Buckingham Palace is? If it was in Nigeria, we would have demolished it many times over in order to award some horrendous contracts”.
“I gather you want to build a new home for the Vice-President at over N6 billion. This is sinful in a nation with over 12 generations of unemployed and unemployable graduate. What is wrong with the current Vice-President’s home, Akinola Aguda House and wherever Alhaji Atiku Abubakar once lived? It smacks of gross insensitivity to waste resources in this manner. Please, give us that N6 billion and I will give you 6,000 productive millionaire entrepreneurs in Nigeria. Imagine each of them employing 10 people within the first year or two, we would have taken more than 60,000 youths off the streets”.
Again, how can a government proposed to spend N8.2b on such projects. A government with the right focus and value system will not engage in such. Nigeria has been dying gradually and it is still dying.
Now the Police Force
(Got from social Network)
“Omo, police don upgrade ooh! Dis na the call center numba – 112. There was a robbery incident in my neighbour’s house and I called them… The next thing I heard was
“Welcome to Nigeria Police Emergency Centre… for English press 1, for igbo press 2, for Yoruba press 3.
Then I pressed 1… then another voice came up… for car accident press 1, for armed robbery press 2, for Boko Haram please hang up…
Den I pressed 2. Anoda voice came up…. If they are with knives press 1, pistols press 2, AK 47 press 3, machine guns press 4, bomb press 5, all of the above press 6.
Then I checked and saw they were with all of them then I pressed 6…
Anoda voice came up saying… Hmmmm! My brother, if your brother dey police you go gree make im come?”.
This may sound funny, but the message is clear. The Police is not committed to their duties, because we do not take adequate care of them – No value system. These are the same Policemen who go for peace mission in other countries and excel and win medals. The difference is clear. Those countries either have value systems that have permeated down to the common man or started from the individual value system to societal value system.
The Voice of a Lone Ranger
“This is a voice, the true voice of the people of Western Nigeria and all the voices are saying very simply:
Akintola, get out;
Akintola, get out and take with you your band of renegades who have lost with you any pretence to humanity, and have become nothing, but murdering beasts.
Take with you your goons, who would sooner kill and maim, than acknowledge that you are all now an outcast to human society. The lawful government of Western Nigeria is the UPGA government, elected by the people of the West.
Let every self-seeking impostor get out now before the people, losing patience, wash the streets in their polluted blood. Get out, and take with you your lepers, your things, your army, your police, in their kits and armoured cars frightening old women in the markets, pumping bullets through the doors of female students and dragging their brave bodies down concrete steps because they dare protest.
The children loathe you; mothers curse you; all men despise you. And the youths of this country long for the moment when your presence will no longer pollute their home for a decent future.
In the name of Oduduwa and our generation, get out! Before the frustration of ten million people, their anger and their justice in an all consuming fire come over your heads.
And to you the Police, who think you merely obey orders; to you, the Army, who commit these crimes in the name of obedience and to you, our Obas who have lost shame, honour and dignity; to you the civil servants, Radio, Press, who think more of your bellies than the legacy you have bequeathed to our generation; to you, the intellectuals, who sit while acts of horror are committed before your eyes; to you, priests, bishops, imams, who do not use your pulpits for the benefit of our generation: we remind you that the floods that have waited many years to break loose will not have the leisure to choose between the hovels and palaces…”
This is the voice of a lone-ranger, the voice of a dogged fighter for the enthronement of a just and egalitarian society. A man who already had his personal value system and wanted societal value system. Things went wrong during the period and the man did what he did. That was the voice of the Mystery Gunman.
Prof. Wole Soyinka was arrested, tried and set free against the expectations of the government in power. After the judgement the Judge had this to say: “The trial was over. And, in so far as I was concerned, the law had spoken and the justice had triumphed”.
“All that remained was for me to wait for the consequences of my defiance of the authorities, of principalities and powers, who were involved in the attempt to influence me to pervert justice. One thing was certain, I slept well that night. My conscience was clear. I had not failed principles though I knew I had failed principalities. These principalities were those, who, in my judgement were around to subvert justice. I had done justice to this man, Wole Soyinka, who stood trial in my court. I had done justice to the state that prosecuted him, and justice to history to which everyone, judge, counsel, witness and the accused, and indeed everything belonged. I had demonstrated in my quiet way that the Rule of Law knows no fear”.
The above was an indication of the place and future of the judiciary in the orchestrated emergent democracies, most especially, as in this case, its place in a country which had just been granted political independence and which had set out with fanfare to operate a model written constitution.
These were the words of Justice Kayode Eso who died just recently. He was brave and courageous till death (a minute silence).
This was an encounter of a young judge, a novice in that part of the establishment, who, just a few months before the incident, had been given the honour of an appointment to the High Court bench of his country, with very high hopes for the judiciary. It was a triumph of a young Judex, the institution that is, the judiciary itself, and the strength it took to achieve this triumph. This again seen to support my assertion that personal value system is the most important.
The present day judiciary as a collective has failed us. There is communal value system in the Judiciary except personal value systems of some individuals.
The Way Forward
Nigeria is dying gradually and it is still dying. We have all watched the fall in the face of hope. The average Nigerian has lost faith in the nation.
The economy is in a bad state, unemployment pervades the country, break down of law and order in the face of serious insecurity of lives and property, corruption is in every nook and cranny of the nation, the value of hard work, integrity, honesty and accountability is lacking. The country needs a whole lot of rejuvenation. The nation needs a Value System. A transformation agenda without a value system is doomed to fail.
There is the need for a vigorous pursuit of value reorientation that will value hard work, honesty, accountability and integrity. There is the need to revisit our national culture as it applies to national character and image. There must be a conscious effort to integrate national values and system into our primary school curriculum which is the beginning of formal education, because as soon as you are born, you are old enough to die.
Prof. Temi Akporhonor
Saturday, 15th December, 2012