Why Nigerian states and LGs cannot sustain themselves – II
Then they ensured they collected the lady’s national ID Card, and did not release that card the next morning until this friend came down to the reception to okay them. Why? They needed to be sure the lady hadn’t killed him in the room. Try that in Nigeria
How can countries like Uganda, Rwanda, Cote d’Ivoire and so on, organize themselves better than us, and their people understand and adhere to their responsibility to their country than we do here? Why are we not showing the right examples? Why do we take everything for granted here? Why is it that the average Nigerian can no longer be controlled or made to conform with modern norms of social interaction? A friend had confessed to me some days back about how he went to Kenya and solicited the ladies of easy virtue. The hotel security noticed he was trying to go up with the lady and stopped them. He had to pay an extra 200 Kenyan Shillings to the hotel for the pleasure he was about to enjoy. Why? They told him he booked the hotel room for only himself. Then they ensured they collected the lady’s national ID Card, and did not release that card the next morning until this friend came down to the reception to okay them. Why? They needed to be sure the lady hadn’t killed him in the room. Try that in Nigeria and you start to hear; “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM? Ehnn?” This “do you know who I am?’ syndrome is the very undoing of Nigeria. I also recall a scene from AY’s movie; 30 Days in Atlanta, where he went with Ramsay Nouah to a bar, and the lady demanded for their ID cards just to be sure he isn’t a ‘Minor’ i.e. too young to buy alcohol. Of course, the Nigerian was shocked and left the place in anger. This happened in real life to another friend, Wole, who is over 50 but has boyish looks. There seems to be no law in Nigeria, and the few that there are, are observed in the breach. We should get in touch with ourselves to know exactly where we really got it wrong.
What is more? I recall Nigeria’s former Ambassador to Australia who documented in his book how a Nigerian delegation to the commonwealth meeting in the 1980s swelled from 7 to 40, to 80 and eventually to over 150, only for them to arrive and insist on a limousine each. Nigeria’s pathological arrogance has been around for long and is the reason why we are here today. Even the Bible admonished that we cannot continue in sin and expect the grace to abound. If we have laws that are not enforced, and all of us hold our country in disdain - leaders and the led - and refuse to put money into the pot called the commonwealth, what you get is Nigeria. And it will get worse therefore.
I am also fighting a major battle presently, against the powerful guys who want to scuttle the NGO Regulation Bill. They are attacking the bill simply because it questions the opacity of their operations. They don’t want government to ask them any questions whatsoever. These are people who ask government for transparency, now violently resisting transparency themselves. What an irony. Where is the shame? The average Nigeria is great at point fingers. The problem must be from someone else, not they themselves. If we think about it, the minds of many Nigerians are not fully formed. For an unexamined life is not worth living. If NGOs don’t want transparency, don’t want to prepare accounts, how will their members be accountable to the people if and when they get into government?
So in short, there is absolutely nothing wrong with Nigeria but us.
As at today, the small people no longer see any reason to care for the country. They despoil their own environment like beasts. The big people don’t mind if the poor go to blazes, as they are on the lookout to get more and more. The government who should be the umpire between the big and small people, is populated by big people who don’t think any differently from the crowd. Our problem therefore is not about constitution, or federalism, or revenue sharing. It is about the injustice that we each and every one of us - do to ourselves. And it is unfortunate. Beyond taxes, it is getting to a head. The fabrics of the society is beyond threadbare now. We are now set up for disaster. All these agitations to break up the country are nothing but the culmination of several decades of self-mismanagement.
So in conclusion, the local governments and states are unable to self-sustain not because the federal government is taking too much from us all (and indeed they are), but because rather than all of us being responsible to our commonwealth, and building that same wealth, we are more interested in eating till we drop, and we are locked in competition with each other; in a needless rat-race that even if we win, we shall remain rats. All the laws are there, to make each state and local government prosperous. And even from the exclusive list, states have found how to work with federal government and get projects done e.g. railways, airports and inland waterways. The problem is no one wants to pay, everybody safeguards their corners. The leaders don’t set the right examples themselves. Yet we want the best country in the world. But as you lay your bed, so you lay on it.
Now, who will bell the cat?