By AF Sessay
The data you don’t talk about comes back to haunt you! And when it does come, it comes violently. Many years of corruption, nepotism and neglect of the basic rights of citizens quickly metamorphose into all forms of crime. While government inaction is not and cannot always be the cause of citizen-on-citizen crime, yet research suggesting the correlation between corruption in public places and crimes on the streets should not be taken with a pinch of salt.
This is also true for the failings in high places and the ugly effect this has on battlefields. Because beyond artillery and manpower, there is a great need for strategy, intelligence, consistent supply of food, effective and top-notch communication and above all, sincerity of purpose. Unfortunately, in the situation where the cankerworms of embezzlement latch and sucks blood out of any of these in the security value, the figurative blood usually becomes pools of real blood. So, when it lingers, question the data. Who does what, and where are the numbers to say they are really doing it?
Nigeria currently stands on a tripod of corruption, injustice and hope (no matter the percentage of that hope).
Corruption keeps the corrupt healthy and well-nourished to perpetrate more acts of corruption with hands, heads, tongues and minds.
Injustice keeps the people blind to the truth. It is an essential spear in the hands of many African leaders and former leaders to strike and blind the advocates for truth, make deaf the masses, and cripple the nation.
As for Hope, it is always a ‘good’ magic wand, or opium, or weapon (depending on who is defining it) to mobilize the people for elections, discourage them from revolting and contain them till the next election.
On top of this tripod rotates the head of change. In every season, every decade, every century, there is always one head dressed with a different colour to match the epoch and circumstance. The change of this era is the change from a corruption-ridden nation to a corruption-free state.
Now, how many people are not corrupt so that they can serve as models of integrity for the corrupt? It seems this is a difficult question; let’s turn it the other way round. How many people are corrupt and ready to serve as models of corruption to others? The statistics here are too terrifying to betray the calculus of any optimist on the future of Nigeria and the African continent.
While the masses shy away from their responsibility to come out and spearhead this journey to a reformed Nigeria, the corrupt are on the other side of the divide, ever determined to embolden their fingerprint on the face of civilization! No wonder they get most of the honours, most of the honorary degrees, most of the titles, most of the praises, most youths ready to die for the “good cause”, most of the best universities for their children…
Are you surprised? Why should they not be determined and willing to sacrifice their wealth and might to fight for the continuation of corruption? See! Listen! They were born in it, bred and nourished in it, educated in it, employed in it, voted in it and possibly wish to die in it.
They are not scared of sitting on the corpses of millions of their brothers if that is the only throne they can find to sustain their Kingdom of Corruption. They are very okay with the fact that the millions awaiting their grave permit languish and die in scarcity, adversity, poverty, obscurity – you name it. This is nothing compared to losing a single day in their lives to integrity and probity.
They will fight, hire the best lawyers, get the cruellest thugs, sponsor many false reports to raise public ire and angst against the people who seek to “unjustly” drive them from their ‘paradise.’ They will make many human sacrifices. They will even invent new smart devices of iniquity. Don’t underestimate their ingenuity when it comes to protecting corruption. Never underestimate them.
Alas, how long will they fight before they run out of vim? How long will they endure against the harsh winds of change? How long will they live to eat the billions they have amassed over seasons and seasons of rot, corruption and cruelty in this farmland of the world. How long will they procure mass graves for hundreds of citizens so as to exercise their will to power? They call our youths to their graves while their duplexes and children and girlfriends enjoy the loots of Nigeria in Dubai and London.
They will fight, but the people will also fight back. And as far as I know, no Empire or force or fight is powerful enough to stop the might of the people when they are determined for reform.
Do you want to join this fight? In which army will you prefer to fight? If you must join the side of those who want reform in the polity, then you must do so while you are well armed with patience and firm belief in God then the leader’s ability to bring change. Don’t be carried away by the plots and ploys of the corrupt. Correct when mistakes are made, tell the truth where and when needed, be just and bold in your assessment but never be a recruit (though subconsciously) in the army of the corrupt!
AF Sessay writes from Lagos. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.