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By Babatunde Jose ll
The world will not respect Africa until Nigeria earns that respect. The Black people of the world need Nigeria to be great as a source of pride and confidence’. – Nelson Mandela
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all living and non-living things were created by God. This is the Creationist creed, which majority of us hold as truth; from our Torah, Bible and the Quran. Plants, animals both on land and sea and those that live beneath the ground and those that fly; ranging from ants to the Hippopotamus are all God’s creation. Man is the last of God’s creation and was given dominion over all other creations; including the exploration of space and things bellow the ground. However, there is no doubt that we are created in categories; the God that created the Whiteman also created the Black and peoples of various other colors.
O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things). (Quran 49:13)
He created the rich and also created the poor and the not so poor. He bestows His mercy and grace on whom he pleases. However, we are all endowed with certain inalienable rights; among which are the rights to life, pursuit of happiness and free will. The last right is that which makes a difference in our lives.
Say: “O Allah! Lord of Power (and Rule), Thou givest Power to whom Thou pleasest, and Thou strippest off Power from whom Thou pleasest: Thou enduest with honor whom Thou pleasest, and Thou bringest low whom Thou pleasest: In Thy hand is all Good. Verily, over all things Thou hast power.” “Thou causest the Night to gain on the Day, and Thou causest the Day to gain on the Night; Thou bringest the Living out of the Dead, and Thou bringest the Dead out of the Living; and Thou givest sustenance to whom Thou pleasest, without measure.” (Quran 3:226-27)
So, we ask: Why has the Whiteman conquered space and the Blackman has not gotten off the ground? The answer to this all important query cannot be found in the religious realm, but in the makeup of the different species of Homo sapiens. No doubt, we once wrote on these pages that destiny can be attenuated, can be diverted, but also that it can be changed with hard work, purposefulness, prayer and determination. In this, the Blackman has failed, where the men with white and yellow skins has succeeded. In fact, Islam places great emphasis on making efforts towards a desired end. In the Quran, God says:
That man can have nothing but what he strives for; That (the fruit of) his striving will soon come in sight; Then will he be rewarded with a reward complete; That to thy Lord is the final Goal: (Quran 53:39-42).
There is a story that when God asked all mankind to close our eyes and pray, the Whiteman at a point opened his eyes to spy on what God was up to, while the stupid Blacks closed theirs and in the process went into a state of slumber. It all amount to the judicious exercise of the God-given free will: Free will is the ability to choose between different possible courses of action. It is closely linked to the concepts of responsibility, praise, guilt, sin, and other judgments which apply only to actions that are freely chosen. When Adam and Eve eat from the ‘tree of knowledge’, they were exercising their free will. There is no doubt that life is a matter of making decisions based on individual or collective choices. If we as a people decide to accept our enslavement, spiritually and socio-economically, so be it. If we choose not to fight for our emancipation and fold our hands waiting for God to descend from the mountain to free us from the bondage of ages; it’s our call. It is the exercise of free will that makes a difference between man and beast! Truth, they say, is bitter; but looking at the matter on ground, it appears that we have failed to realize our God given potentials. The poverty of the black race is self-inflicted and can only be corrected by him alone.
From the onset, the Black race is dressed in borrowed spiritual garb. This in itself, might not be a source of its problems; but today, it is, as he has become more Christian than St Paul of Taurus and more Moslem than the ‘Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. This, to all intents and purposes has turned the Black race into hypocrites and religion as we know it has become a setback and a curse.
India and China were once colonized and evangelized by the West, but to their credit, they refused to imbibe the Whiteman’s culture and language; they held on to their gods, their belief systems, their languages and their cultures; and all the idiosyncrasies that they evolved to uphold those cultures. Today, they are next to the West in human development. In terms of other indices of development, they are far ahead of us. Africa, the Republic of South Africa inclusive, is today synonymous with poverty, backwardness, underdevelopment, wars, famine and degradation of human life.
With a combined population of 1,153,308,000, Africa has 58 countries, ruled by 58 presidents or heads of government, practicing all forms of governmental systems from Nigeria’s pseudo Presidential Centrist Federal system and its attendant debilitating costs, to Swaziland’s monarchy. Yet, China with a population of 1,382, 232,332 and India with its 1,326,801,576, both have one head of State each.
India has a population much bigger than the entire African continent, but the country is managed by one prime minister and 23 ministers. Africa, with less population than India is managed by 58 Presidents, and over 1080 (one thousand eighty) ministers, who collectively still achieve less than a single prime minister in India.
China with a bigger population than Africa has no permanent members of Parliament. The 3000 members of the National People’s Congress seat only for a few weeks during the year; afterwards, they all go back to their regular jobs. Africa, with less population than China, has 13,320 (thirteen thousands three hundred and twenty) members of parliament which are full time employees on the payroll of states with skinny budget: It is scandalous!
Despite the fact that God, in His infinite wisdom and benevolence has endowed the African continent with every riches conceivable; gold, diamonds, tin, bauxite, coal, iron, Uranium, platinum and oil; we are not good managers of our resources. Consequently, we squander our riches and then go cap in hand to the less naturally endowed countries to beg for food. I feel ashamed!
The Nigerian case is even more pathetic. We have and continued to squander our riches. Only a handful of our so-called moneyed men are employers of labor. There are even some who are fabulously rich, but then, the only labor that serve them are being paid for by the state; which they scammed to get these riches in the first place.
We see them in our ex-governors, senators and congressmen. How can a man who is only paid to talk politics ride in a 60Milion Naira Range Rover? Yet, the huge amount of money they have stolen is enough to set this country onto the road of self-sustained development. But that is anathema to them. They keep the monies in foreign banks, to be used in sustaining the economies of these foreign nations while impoverishing our people. These are not captains of industry, some are not even commission agents, like our fathers of old, but destroyers and killers of our economy. This, in a nut shell, is the dilemma of the Blackman.
Former British Prime Minister, David Cameron said, ‘if all the monies stolen from Nigeria had been stolen from the British exchequer, Britain would have ceased to exist’. Yet, unthinking and without a sense of remorse, we continue to engage in uneconomic culture, such as the extravagance that we call birthdays, weddings, naming ceremonies and worst of all, burial parties: Partying has evolved into a growth industry! In the course of these notorious and nefarious show of shame, we forget the God whom we profess to serve and because of whom we cause untold hardships on the highways as a result of the Holy Ghost services and Asalatus. Bloody hypocrites, we are not serving God but mammon!
Here in Nigeria, we operate a bloated, uneconomic and wasteful political system, bordering on profligacy. As if this is not enough, we also resort to cleptocracy and corruptocracy as an art form of governance. Many countries enter a state of recession for the simple explainable economic reasons. But not here; we are in recession for the wrong reason: Looting of the treasury. Why we are this way, is inexplicable: A Tompolo was paid N13Billion for land in a river delta; ex-CDS, dug a pit toilet to hide $32m; an ex-party spokesman took 740M; a CDS used trucks to load over $35B from the CBN; an Olisa took N400M; the President’s personal pastor collected $35M; former Air Chief – 2Billion Naira; Lucky- 16B Naira; the lucky lady with the ‘frog eyes’, $20 billion missing oil money; 15 billon dollars missing from arms fund; 10 billion Naira converted to dollars and given as gift to delegates at a party convention; someone collected N3 billion for ‘Etutu’ (spiritual protection); 12. 7 billion Naira for deceased NEPA staff grew wings and disappeared; 23 billion Naira as bribe to INEC staffs to rig the general election: Our own Koro’ibo was not left out and the loquacious Fayo too. The list is endless. They only left what they can’t carry or unable to lay their hands on. Yet, the list continues….. ‘Recession didn’t just happen, people looted Nigeria into RECESSION’. Our CBN Governor is still on seat! Haba!
At every turn in our daily lives, we see a people living a huge lie. We have no shame and have become a nation without conscience. Our people wallow in poverty and it’s of no concern to us. It is in this same country that we once had an Awolowo who started free education and developed the old western region of Nigeria into the envy of the other regions, at a time when there was no oil boom; at a time that each federating unit was responsible for its own economy. It is still this same country that produced prodigious talents that went out to conquer the world in various fields, from medicine to literature, to nuclear physics. There was a time, majority of medical personnel in Saudi were Nigerians; and the United States was issuing work-visas to Nigerian nurses to come and work in America. In the United States of America, Nigerian doctors were not only respected but heading world-class medical institutions: My late Uncle, Winston Oluwole Makanju was in 1974, the Chief Resident Officer of the famous Jewish Memorial Hospital in New York. What became of the products of Great Ife, Great UI and Great Abu and Nsuka? They have been wasted by a leadership that thinks only of stealing from the cookie jar! Vipers and rapacious rascals in paradise; our nation has been looted dry by our kamikaze thieving leadership. It’s the only country that boasts of a self-made billionaire that cannot point to any means of livelihood, except the appellation of ‘leader of the party’. And yet lives in grandeur and opulence and fly about in private jet. What manner of nation is that?
Today, we are suffering as a result of the unbecoming culture of our people and its leaders. When the leaders and followers are corrupt and pay lip service to the injunctions of God, that country can never smell the aroma of development and prosperity. It was George Orwell who said, “A people who elect corrupt politicians, impostors, thieves and traitors are not victims . . . . . But accomplices”.
We need change and we need it very fast.
Babatunde Jose, +2348033110822