When we begin to look carefully at the present threat of corruption, underdevelopment and its manifest effect on us, many thoughts naturally are prompted in our minds. These thoughts, which are triggered by the fear of how to survive, drive each of us in varying directions. Each of us seems to be holding to a ground of legitimacy, not as a matter of legislative stipulations, but still on this all pervasive motivation of fear of survival. The yahoo boy says his actions are prompted by the “need for reparation from the west”. The everyday 419 on the street says, “I have done nothing wrong for being smart and intelligent, and that the present spate of deprivation is a strong enough rationale for any sane individual to contrive any viable means to survive.” Government officials, who are lazy and emotionally averse to complying with laid down ethical systems/processes, do so in self-denial, holding that the failure of institutions of government is because of the unwillingness of “government” to implement/enforce these ethical regulations. So the police man continues to feel legitimately empowered to collect egunje at check points.
Plan to attend
So, who and where is the government?
Gratification continues to be a black operation in government activities. In fact, the people who don’t have the culture of gratification are actually the ones that are seen as aliens to the system. What this tells you is that democratic government which should pull all persons together in a sincere participatory effort has not been able to achieve much of this vital cohesion in our country. This is not as a result of the failure of the concept of democracy; indeed no singular system can claim to have the fix for the aged long human problem of leadership.
For the democratic leadership being practiced in Nigeria to produce the dividends of its ideals, then we must narrow down to the principal element of leadership which will make that happen. That vital element is the man!
Men will always be needed to conceive ideas, design work processes, commit to work ethics and forecast future needs and challenges, in the course of the development of any society. Society is defined not in terms of its physical attributes, but in terms of people. No work process no matter how technically structured will drive itself. Governance as a system deployed to provide foresight and leadership in the management of the shared wealth or resources of a people will only produce the desired outcome, if the humans who constitute that shared experience of governance are sincerely at one with the thoughts and motive of providing a rewarding living experience to the people for whom that government was created.
The quality of the thoughts of the men who run government, the depth of their understanding and acceptance of the prime value they can offer to the lives of their people is the very heart and spirit of governance. The coming together of a people for the singular purpose of advancing collective survival is absolutely in harmony with the personal quest to be alive and well. This is because to be alive and well is an experience that is only possible in a sphere of relational fusion. The human community will continue to proliferate for this reason of relational fusion/interconnectedness. What is contrary to nature and the logic of existence is, when a man lives blindly deluded by pride and the intuitive human inclination for self-preservation. Self-preservation is a vital survival instinct in us; however, it becomes a disturbing societal problem when this instinct drives us to make choices in total disconnect with the impact of such choices on the interests of others with whom we share our physical life space with. If you steal from government, you have made a choice to preserve yourself; however that singular choice significantly can hamper the lives and wellbeing of others. It may well manifest as millions not having access to adequate health care delivery system, water, educational facilities and other vital living amenities.
So, from an existential approach, we may offer to define corruption as the pursuit of self-preserving interest in defiance of natural order, collective wish and interest. The people who steal from our government continue to do so as a way of life, because they in their parochial thinking find a rationale (their survival) for it. We all have this same rationale, which is why we eat, clothe ourselves, build shelters, etc. The troubling question now is: why do some of us pursue these common human wants, to the cold neglect and brutal abuse of others not privileged to have the power and influence we wield? I think it is cheap and unintelligent for one to make wealth from betraying the trust of the people who bequeathed him such privilege.
Change in whatever form is a creation and not a static entity at some predetermined moment in time. For a government to be effective in the delivery of the dividends of managing our common wealth, it means each of us is fully interested and aware of the enterprise of our national leadership and we are also committed to the effort required to make our leadership rewardingly productive. This is because the enterprise of governance requires the effort and resources of men and not just the passive reeling of ideas, purely as ideas. We must be willing to run our ideas, sweat it out, if ever the change we anticipate will materialize.
It is the participatory element of governance that helps to institute the culture of leadership, integrity and accountability. We, therefore, cannot begin to talk about government in isolation of our personal commitment and sincere allegiances to this country. What this tells you is that, we can practically begin to move this country forward, building a culture of integrity, if our thought environments are occupied with the visions, the finely imprinted images of the new Nigeria. Meaning, we are breathing, thinking and working actively to functionally institute the ideas of the new Nigeria, emerging out of the ashes of years of abdicated responsibilities (largely by us citizens).
For me, Nigeria has just walked gallantly into a new age of governance. This age is “the age of the masses”. Before now, the privileged few who we entrusted the direct responsibility of running our government were the ones revered as prime actors; however in this age of the masses, we will begin to truly experience the impact of sovereignty as the inalienable heritage of the people of Nigeria. This means that, the men amongst us who hold that they on our behalf can passionately work to advance and preserve this shared heritage, must cultivate an unflinching loyal disposition and love for Nigeria and Nigerians. This age is not so much peculiar to Nigeria; it is indeed a global phenomenon that has seen the shameful exit of many despotic leaders. Truly “power belongs to the people”; it is their God-given right and inheritance! Therefore, anyone who plots to steal it for his self-driven gains will soon find himself being shamefully destroyed by this power.
God bless Nigeria!