The tendency to let out a long stream of curses every hour is what I have fought since Monday but the question: ‘what kind of country is this? is still running around my brain. I am very unhappy with those who are ruling and ruining us. I cannot understand why people seek power when they have no willpower to make a difference. I do not understand why politicians in Nigerian cannot see that we are teetering at the edge.
I do not see why some people can’t see that fighting an index that says we are a corrupt country is childish. When a student is repeating a class, knowing that he failed nine out of the ten subjects he offered but turns around to question not just the total marks he scored (which is 27 out of 100 marks obtainable) but the brand of the red pen the teacher used in marking his scripts, you know it is time to call in a therapist. The child is not just a dullard but psychologically unbalanced. What does it matter if Nigeria is the 139th or the most corrupt country?
The reality is that we are so corrupt Togo can look down her small nose at us. After swimming through the Ago-Palace Way river in Lagos, and bounced from one side of the car to the other, a Ghanaian driver I who was visiting Nigeria for the first time asked me, ’Ma’am, how come you have no roads with all your oil?’ He was truly perplexed and I was totally ashamed. I was yet to recover from the shame of having no answer to that question when I heard that SURE-P, the president’s answer to our January 2012 protests against removal of fuel subsidy had a N75 million budget for local travels! Hehehe? Where was the committee going and what were the members looking for? Easily, I would have lumped this SURE-P people along with such other committees without commitment, if not for some of its members who have distinguished themselves and built good names over the years.
Serving on this kind of committee should not put the reputation of an 80-year-old man in the shredder but the way things are going…. let’s just say I’m afraid for the few good men left in this depressing system. And then someone wanted N2.2bn to build an event centre close to the President’s office because the existing one is two kilometres away and doesn’t have modern this and that. A country that has no road, no light, no water, no national career, can’t pay pension and imports scaly fish called ‘Titus’? Well, someone said the event centre would be commercialised and all PDP bigwigs would get to use it for their parties, for a fee. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? And it’s not a laughing matter o.
A country that cannot employ its youth is looking for N16bn to build a house for the Vice President. Now, everybody is saying the money is for Sambo’s house. It is not. The VP’s house belongs to Nigeria, Sambo and other VPs after him. But those funny characters in the system who can’t think of how to start something as small as a tomato puree factory and or meat canning factory with less than N7bn are our problem. Imagine the number of jobs that can be created if we start canning fish, beef, tatase (big pepper) and tomatoes. What kind of men think about how to make more money every day when people are dying daily and graduates are applying for drivers’ jobs? I can answer the question.
Foolish, thoughtless people who do not know that there is a day called tomorrow; a day when there will be no retinue of security men, ADCs to protect them, a day when they will get stuck in the muddy death traps they have refused to fix. That day, we shall sneer at them when they squirm in their cars, afraid that one of us will blast their brains on the posh leathers seats of their SUVs. The day would come when their fat British-trained children will have to beg kidnappers and their American graduate sons will have to employ graduate drivers who will drive off with their cars along with babies on board. Tomorrow will usher in the leveller. That is when those who know how to do what is right but have refused to do it will pay. Mark my words, they will pay.
Akpabio as Godswill
In the little village of Ikot-Ukanna, 50 years ago, a baby was born to this poor couple. The labour wasn’t difficult. The baby boy was goodly to look at. There was celebration and the infant was named Godswill. Six months down the road, Godswill’s father died, leaving behind his disconsolate widow to raise the children. It was a hard task but she was determined to give it her best shot. As Godswill grew and became aware that all his friends had fathers, he decided to ask his mother why he didn’t have one. Though shocked, the young widow quickly put together a ‘cool’ story.
According to Mama Godswill, only weak boys had fathers, and that was why God recalled his father to heaven when he saw that Godswill was strong and capable of taking care of not only his mother but also his older siblings. Godswill was impressed with the story and he began playing his role as the ‘keeper of his family’. If he got a gift of ‘cabin biscuit’, he brought it home to take care of his responsibilities. If an uncle ‘dashed’ him 50kobo, he took it home believing it was his duty to take care of his family on behalf of his father whom God had taken away.
When Godswill went to boarding school, he found out that all the strong boys in the school had fathers and he started wondering why God took his own father, after all only weak boys were supposed to have fathers, at least according to his mother. Even his seniors who came tops in inter house sports had fathers. How could God do this to him? As soon as he got home at the end of that term, he confronted his mother who finally told him the truth. But by then, the little boy had developed a sense of responsibility beyond his age. He had grown up in a hurry.
The impact of his mother’s padded story never left him. Touching lives, making a difference, helping others became a passion, one that led him into politics and public office. Today he is 50, governing a state and showing that Nigerians are not difficult to please and governance is no rocket science. All you need to do is find out what your people want and deploy funds to it. Nigerians want their public schools back. They want a neat environment and good health care facilities.
They want good roads. And when I saw lawns being mowed by young girls in Uyo, I said to myself, ‘no wonder city career mums now have to look towards another region of the country for the annual supply of house helps’. Like a colleague once wrote, go to Uyo and you just may feel like caning, or is it killing, your governor. Happy birthday Obong Godwill Obot Akpabio. The little fatherless boy has surely come a long way.