@Omojuwa – Nigerian Politicians and the rest of us
“Every Nigerian politician is a thief!” is one assertion that runs through the minds of many Nigerians. “They are all thieves!” often ends up as the judgment of an average listener when a case of corruption is being discussed. This is of course not possible or were it to be possible, it then would not be against reason to say “all Nigerians are thieves.” If the 2000 or so well placed men and women running our country are all thieves and they were picked from our midst, the chances that all of us are thieves would certainly be higher than that of expecting to find a saint in all our places of worship. If there is one way a potential thief justifies and frees his or her conscience from eventual conviction, this is the one; to assume everyone is guilty of the crime. If all of us are guilty of doing something, doing it would certainly not be a deal let alone a big deal.
We must be very careful about our perception of our country and its realities. If is fine to accept that a lot of those in privileged positions would rather abuse such privileges than get the job done. Not to accept this reality is to be in denial of the truth. If people truly did their job, say from the advent of this current democratic dispensation and all the financial outlay that has gone into it, Nigeria should not be where it is today. This is not to say we have not had exemplary performers in public office. As much as we accept our unwholesome reality, we must accept the ones that at least put the full picture in its right perspective. Not to do so is to in itself deny reality and the consequences of such denials are as costly as if we denied we had no thieves in our midst.
Hardly a week goes by without a report of one scam or the other. More often than not, the scammers go unpunished. The biggest of such scams remains the N2.6 trillion fuel subsidy scam. Most of those involved remain free citizens even as we speak and some are even reported to still be involved in the importation of fuel. Impunity is the norm these days rather than the exception. The shame attached to stealing is fast disappearing. Haven’t we even seen villagers defend their own against the law in the usual Nigerian way? Others are thieves except those close to home who are like Robin Hood – helping to recover our own share of the national cake.
It is sad but it would still be out of place to say all Nigerian politicians are thieves. if you say they are, check the premise, either you accept you are a thief already or you already know you would be one when you get a chance to serve Nigeria. Only non-Nigerians who make this assertion will be out of that premise, those ones will fall into the premise of stupidity. If stupidity has to do with the absence of good sense or judgment as it truly denotes, then safe to say any non-Nigerian who says all Nigerians are thieves is stupid. It is like saying all Brazilians love football. The last Brazilian I met admitted she hated football.
The construct of the Nigerian conversation must always be put in the right perspective. We cannot afford to assume that because corruption is rampant in the land everyone must be involved. We cannot even afford to bring up our children thinking that way. That would be a justification for doing same when they get the chance. We owe it to ourselves, our children and our country to celebrate the good in our midst; the men and women who defy the norm, to stand out and be different. Or are all Nigerian politicians thieves?