Three days ago, I was opportune to wholeheartedly watch the video of a woman (Hadiza Akpoti) who went to “the green chamber,” the House of Representatives to uncover the corruption that has crippled “Ajaokuta Steel” for years. While she was speaking vociferously—with facts and figures, mentioning some big-names that are stronger Institutions in Nigeria, I shook my head because I knew that nothing significant would come out of the hottest ‘drama’ in town.
This is not the first time that folks would step forward to uncover those plaguing “Ajaokuta steel.” Nigeria is simply the cash-cow of a few ‘mighty’ citizens. When it comes to those folks, the law usually becomes helpless as a toothless bulldog.
The most melodramatic and hilarious part of the video was when Hadiza Akpoti said that there are many errors in a report and those errors were feeblemindedly copied verbatim by the current Minister of Solid Minerals. We have really descended into the abyss of mediocrity as a people. Even if they must do copy and paste, must they do so, after sending their wits on an errand? Virtually every report and budget in Nigeria is usually copied and pasted. This is why an administration would budget for forks and knives this year and still bald-facedly and shamelessly budget for another set of knives and forks the following year. One thing we lack in Nigeria is due-diligence. And those who are paid the most are the laziest bunch.
While I was both—watching and listening to Hadiza with a rapt attention—on our moribund Ajaokuta Steel, two things came to my mind: One, it was hard as diamond for me to understand why she decided to risk her life for a people—who prefer chains to freedom. Dying for Nigeria now is a waste of life. Nigerians (from the highest to the lowest in the land) warmheartedly and dotingly talk about change, but they obviously hate to change. Two, it is a colossal waste of time—standing for the truth in a nation where a few ‘servants’ have become stronger than Institutions.
What has come out of “Oputa Panel”? And how far have we gone on “Halliburton shame”? You know why nothing has come out of them? Those involved are stronger than Institutions! If nothing has come out of “Oputa Panel” and “Halliburton shame,” I do not need to be a clairvoyant to know that nothing new is going to come out of the on-going comedy and drama in the House of Representatives. PMB’s assignment isn’t to fight corruption as one beating the air. If he desires to go down in history, let him call for relevant help to build rock-solid Institutions, Institutions that are stronger than personalities. This is the only way we can come out of the woods we have found ourselves as a people.
Six years ago, Dr Abbasi said and I quote verbatim: “the essence and beauty of democracy lay in people’s authority to vote their representatives into power, which is not the case, as the real power resides somewhere else and the people are merely tools to give a façade to otherwise highly questionable process…” Every four year in Nigeria, the masses are used to empower a few to serve (serve themselves), but after that, those who are voted into power become larger than life and bigger than those who vote them into varied offices. They move all over the country as tin-gods and how much they take home every week and month is shrouded in secrecy. For four years, you cannot hold them accountable. Instead of holding them accountable, you would be told to pray to God to do for you what you vote them into power to get done. This is the idiocy of the African man. Also, with one phone call, they can use Institutions to terrorize and oppress the helpless and hapless electorates. For the umpteenth time, when a few people are more powerful than Institutions, there can never be true progress and justice in that nation.
It does not make sense, expecting foreigners to come build Nigeria for us. It will never happen. Only Nigerians can put together and fabricate the future of Nigeria. Also, it isn’t only prayer that shall make Nigeria truly a great and prosperous nation. The only way out of the quagmire of lack (amidst abundance) we have found ourselves is when Institutions become stronger than personalities. Until a president—either past or present is jailed for being lawless and corrupt, Nigeria remains just a mere geographical expression; we are not a country yet. Also, ours remains a jungle as long as we are only using the law to hunt political-enemies. Institutions go to bed if a President is not interested in a particular case, but once a President is interested in a case, they’d quickly climb out of their deep-sleep. This is not how to build a country that works. Institutions should be able to work without being ordered by the sitting President.