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Man is a product of his environment

22 October 2014, 22:32 Abdulazeez Adelaja Akinlolu

Nigerians have rightly wondered why we are in a big mess today? Our present status is the result of our collective failure to uphold ethical values bequeathed to us by our ancestors; when wares were displayed in the open and buyers dropped the money on same spot in the absence of the buyer. Clearly, there are several Nigerians who are doing their very best to make the nation great; there are several Nigerians who uphold ethical values and professionalism. However, national greatness requires collective attitudinal reforms and enthronement of ethical values.

In the past, the righteous and honest ones were glorified irrespective of financial or socio-political status. In fact, those with questionable wealth were kept at bay. We have now lost it all. At individual levels, we expect 'gifts' for doing the job we are paid to do. If you fail to offer bribes (coined as gifts), you are regarded as abnormal. We take our children to 'special centers' to pass S.S.C.E. Those who passed (or unable to pass) S.S.C.E. rightly are aware of how the bad ones corruptly passed theirs. Our younger ones are then brought up to believe that corrupt practices are required to make it in life. Beauty pageants receive more accolades and cash rewards than academic scholars even in a university system. Why then do we expect our younger ones to value scientific endeavours and academic scholarship needed to make our country great? We can only reap what we sowed!

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As teachers, we accept cash or kind in exchange for grades. Appointments and jobs are given based on political patronage and primordial considerations. Buildings are built without references to standard requirements. Government agents when on monitoring duties are more than happy to receive bribes and allow culprits to go their ways. In fact, government agents lobby to be posted on monitoring duties to 'rake' in money to their pockets. Supervisory officers when in need of cash for ceremonies send out their 'boys' to town in order to 'rake' in money for 'owanbe' parties. Doctors who are most expected to uphold professionalism are worse than others. The judiciary is not isolated from corrupt inducement and politicians are sure of which of the Judges can give desired rulings. Engineers, Accountants and others are no different. Artisans and market sellers deliberately short - change their customers. With systemic corruption, no profession is above board.

The political class cannot be an exception. Obviously, the followers were deliberately incapacitated and unable to make informed political choices through democratized poverty imposed by the political elites. In addition, the political elites ensured we are divided along ethno-religious lines which command that we defend our predators no matter how worse they are so long as we belong to same ethnic or religious group. The followers sell their rights to demand good governance by accepting crumbs of stolen wealth in form of cash or gifts such as rice, vegetable oil, keke Marwa, motorcycles whenever elections are around the corner. The political elites continue to amass wealth at our expense and the political field is blocked against good ones who have no financial war chest.

It is laughable that we still talk of Hausa/Fulani, Igbo, Ijaw or Yoruba presidency, when we have had nine Heads of State from the North, 2 Heads of State from the South West, 2 Heads of State from the South East and 1 Head of State from the South South who were either Muslims or Christians and yet we are starkly faced with poverty and infrastructural deficiency across all regions without exception. How has the presence of a Christian, Muslim, Northern or Southern President in Dodan Barracks or Aso Rock brought real development, progress and prosperity to any of the regions or to us as Nigerians? The presence of an assumed 'one of us' in the Presidency is obviously not the solution to our problems. At least, the 'assumed one of us' had severally been the Local Government Chairman or State Governor, Councillor, Members of House of Assembly, House of Representatives or Senate without appreciable progress in the polity either at the local, state or national level. Let us collectively vote for a leader with visionary ideology, competency and required intellectual capacity come 2015.

When we embrace attitudinal reforms and enthrone ethical values, we will begin to get it right. We will then not sell our rights to the political class and we will demand for good governance and accountability. We have collectively failed! We have to collectively resolve our problems!

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