I am on my knees as I write this….
By Hakeem Babalola
I am on my knees as I write this….
Before I go in perspective, I would like to ask some simple questions. Why is it that nobody wants to be associated with armed robbers? Why is it that even if one benefits from the proceeds of an armed robber, one is ashamed to say so in public? Why do Nigerians detest armed robbers so much? Why do parents disown their children who are armed robbers? Why is it that armed robbers themselves are not proud of what they do?
I think the answers to the above questions are as simple as ABC, yet it is somehow difficult for Nigerians to understand the sequence of logic in order to solve their daily problems in line with a profession quite similar to armed robbery. Or have you met any Nigerian who is audacious enough to introduce his or her sibling or friend as an armed robber? Even wives or lovers, despite the fact that they know that their partners are men of the underworld, and probably support them; they do not dare defend them as such in public.
Though such denial has not basically licked the problems in question, the psychological and sociological stigma attached to it are still effective. If a daredevil is still afraid and ashamed to tell people his profession, then we know that he is aware that he is an outcast. We know that such character lives in fear even though he terrorizes the minds of his victims. We know that his mind is being terrorized by his action. We know that he is psychologically defeated. We know that he can never be as proud even as someone who belongs to the bottom of the totem pole. You know the ones I am talking about. Don’t you?
Kudos to the Nigerian families for defeating the spirits of the men of the underworld. I believe it is their refusal to recognise these daredevils in our midst that has contributed immensely to the downfall of armed robbery as a profession. Though these lunatics dash harum-scarum all over our communities, the fact remains they are not proud of what they do. They are bound to remain in infernal region even before they visit the House of Hades.
However, it would be a thing of joy if the Nigerian families could extend their tentacles in order to defeat another "professions" quite similar to that of armed robbery. I am talking about polieatics and pen-robbery. These two "professions" have caused as many damages as that of armed robbery. Without mincing words, I violently believe it is the Nigerian families that can successfully thwart the passage of rottenness in our society. For a while moral degeneracy has followed intellectual degeneration. Let the Nigerian families fight.
Corruption. Fighting its opium parlors is easy yet it often appears challenging; it is such an herculean task. I don't want to pretend as if I don't know this. But every Nigerian family can help eradicate the various turpitudes of our communities. I trust we can do it if we want. And this is exactly where the trouble lies. It seems we do not want to cure our depravity. Then why do we chew solutions like kolanut every moment? Why don't we just accept the fact that we know the solution but we don't want the problem solved?
The reason for begging the Nigerian families is actually to re-direct their approach and thinking towards the life we live regarding corruption. If they didn't know, it's time someone told them that the way they herald and honour public officials who stole money, is part of the dangerous and funny aspect of corruption. A Nigerian who is not corrupt is often referred to as being foolish. He is a suegbe. He or she becomes the joke of the family as well as colleagues. Nigerians who have determined to curb corruption would be surprised their spouses and even children are not with them in such a bold act.
There is also contradiction even among those who seem to genuinely abhor corruption; they adore it in other circumstances. For example, is there any Nigerian who can beat her chest saying, "if my relatives assumed public office, I would not directly or indirectly put pressure on them for financial help?" I don't know what my family would think should I assume public office. Is my family going to jubilate, thinking it is now their turn to share the so-called national cake, which is far disappearing anyway?
Would they stay away from asking for contract? If they came for it and I refused them, would they still be my family or friends? Or would they hurriedly call a family meeting, and admonish me for being foolish? would they say, "Oh, by tomorrow you shall be in tears over lost opportunities? Would they laugh at me thinking I have lost touch with reality? Would I be able to withstand such pressure? In short, what would become of me if I refused to sully my hands by accepting bribe?
This aspect of us frightens me as much as a politician's pilfering fingers. As I said earlier, the solution is pretty simple. What if we treat corrupt public officials and pen-robbers as armed robbers? What if no one addresses Umaru Yar'Adua for example, as president because of the way he assumed office? What if the families of Obasanjo, Babangida, Adedibu, Uba and co disown them because of the way they have made people suffer? It is virtually impossible to move forward when people like James Ibori, Alao Akala, Orji Kalu, Alams, Fayose, Atiku, Objoke, IBTief and so on are being hailed as heroes.
The idea is this: if your spouse is a governor and has stolen people's money, divorce him immediately or if he is your lover, dump him as soon as possible. If yours is a son or daughter or father or mother or sister who is a senator, legislator, local chairperson; and he or she has stolen people's wealth, disown him or her. Let it continue like this. It is simple. Isn't it? But it is equally challenging. Am I right?
Nigerian families must be honest with themselves. They must stop deceiving themselves thinking corruption could be eradicated without lending a helping hand. Nigerian families must know that they have been implicitly enriching corruption. Whenever they are ready to get rid of this impairment of virtue and moral principles, let them take the bull by the horn. Let them treat corrupt officials including election riggers as armed robbers. Other alternatives would be wasting of time. It is Nigeria we are talking about.
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