The Cost Of Caressing Corruption

Torn shoeBy Alphonsus E.W


I have just one shoe. And it is not for lack of money that I do not have an extra pair but because my feet decided to grow bigger than the majority of shoe sizes in the market. I have had to endure pain, a most discomfiting one, on my pinkie toe because being that my left feet is slightly bigger, the shoe tightens my little toe. I must admit that I have not given my toe the minimum attention it deserves or at least make an effort to relieve the pain by either massaging the toe or altogether getting another shoe. It seems like I am getting used to the pain.

My story is one that majority of my countrymen share. We have for long been repeatedly raped by this brand of (mis)governance called Democracy foisted on us by the Colonial Tricksters, long enough to make us keep enduring the pain. Suffering and smiling like the late Afro-beat legend, Fela, would say.

Like the animals in Animal Farm, George Orwell’s classic, we have adopted a siddon dey look mode watching as a Federal Minister who has been indicted for corruption remains on the cabinet whereas in saner climes, she ought to have resigned as soon as the first whiff of impropriety was leveled at her.

It shows the level of putrefying corruption in the country when calls are made in some quarters that she should be left off the hook because she did not misappropriate funds as much as others in positions of authority. And the masses keep on enduring the pain. After all, it is their lot to say, e go better.

One wonders if the governed and their leaders can stand shoulder to shoulder and sing with equal fervor; ‘to serve our father’s land with love and strength and faith.’ The masses would keep on enduring while corruption is being daily caressed in the high places.

For all the famed strides made by the Government in road construction, hundreds of citizens continue to die daily from mishaps on pot-hole ridden death traps called roads. The recent death of a one-time ASUU president, Prof. Festus Iyayi as well as the demise of a member of the Golden Eaglets team, Friday Njengo from injuries sustained from road accidents readily comes to mind.

Though the convoy of Gov. Idris Wada, which is fast gaining the notoriety as a convoy of death, played a huge role in the demise of the academician, it is the state of the perennially yet-to-be fixed Abuja- Lokoja road that is mostly to blame. The citizens of Nigeria have all in one way or the other been affected by the road; I for one lost a very dear friend of mine on that road in a mishap in August 2003.

It is pertinent to note that the mission for which the late ace writer lost his life was for a cause which was avoidable. Had the government past or present done their responsibility to a key sector of the economy as education, there wouldn’t have been any need for the universities to go on strike in the first place.

While the level of rot in education is only beginning to come to the fore, the Minister of Education is busy prancing about, meddling in needless state and national political battles and neglecting his primary area of responsibility. And the people are compelled by the sordid circumstances to keep on enduring the pain.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has released a rosy picture of the economy, announcing that the country’s GDP grew by 6.81% for the third quarter of 2013. As palatable as it may sound, the UN’s data stating that about 100 million Nigerians are impoverished is more believable and seems to be a better representation of current reality. Perhaps it all boils down to the skillful use of Statistics to lie.

One expected that with the hue and cry that birthed the SURE-P program, the fund earmarked for the program would be managed prudently and responsibly. Alas, that has proven to be a mirage as last week the management of SURE-P headed by Dr. Christopher Kolade announced that about N500m of the fund was missing. The fate and destination of the said missing money is surely a fait accompli because we all know that the money has disappeared into private pockets. The country’s chief executive has not given any hope on the fight on corruption as he remarked at a public forum recently that corruption is the least of the country’s problems.

Even the Federal Government’s face-saving announcement that it plans to pay N25, 000 to each graduate under the GIS SURE-P Program has been greeted with apathy, disbelief and downright indifference. With situations like these, it is not hard to see why the governed remain wary and distrustful of the men who claim to be their leaders.

I could go on and on listing a litany of corrupt practices perpetrated by the government officials but the only thing it can readily achieve is to momentarily inflame the reader of this piece, form a topic for discussion and waste my time. Sadly there is no authority to adjudicate over the gross violation that the masses have to undergo at the hands of their leaders. The only thing left for them to do is to get used to the pain unless, of course, Nigerians decide to take their destiny in their own hands and do self-cleansing revolution.