Those who would sacrifice justice for stability deserve neither justice nor stability -Benjamin Franklin.
A country where the rudderless, microscopic and privileged few monopolizes positions of leadership be it political or economical never grows to become a nation. Any country that is being ruled by the ideas of the self-centered few in the society cannot develop to her fullest capacity in all ramifications because meritocracy is always sacrificed on the altar of mediocrity. This has been the story of Nigeria right from independence and it gets worse year in, year out. On daily basis, our leaders are disconnected from the ruled. The appointed and the elected public servants become personal- public servants representing their personal and primordial interests. Their germ of discussion centres on personal aggrandizement forgetting that when a society does not work, the people tend to create another society either through the ballot or the barrel. However, in our case the second option tends to have taken over through discontentment in form of insecurity, arson, vandalism, “inkatagate” and tendency towards secession. No develop (ed or ing) country creates a mental partition between its ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ as ours grows to become a nation. This discrimination is so glaring in every facets of our national life.
First and foremost, the lifestyles of our elected public office holders explain it all. The people elected to hold public offices in trust forget that responsibility is the hallmark of leadership. Immediately they are elected, they live the lifestyles they never lived before the elections. They forget the voters and enrich their pockets with the commonwealth. Everything just changes overnight. No more power outage in their quarters. They do not ply the common roads again. The represented cannot have access to them. They do not drink the public water (where it flows) again. For example, the minister for power, who is supposed to see to the generation of energy so as to meet the domestic and the industrial needs of the citizenry has an official house equipped with ‘big generators’ that run 24 hours daily throughout the year. Now, how does he know that there is power outage? How does he know where the shoe pinches a roadside welder who needs energy to run his machinery? How does he empathize with a roadside barber who cannot operate because there is no energy to power his clippers and neither can he afford a mini-generator? NO WAY because he has another source of energy.
The same story goes for the minister of education or commissioners for education who do not have any of their children schooling in Federal or State Universities so ASUU can go on strike for as long as it pleases since they do not have a stake because they do not have faith in the system and neither are they ready to fix the system. They take the perks attached to being responsible in the office but shirk the responsibilities of the office. The other time, the number one political office holder in the country jetted out of the country for medical treatment abroad despite the number of hospitals in the country. He went there and saw the state of the art medical facilities but cannot make the same available in our hospitals because the elite do not patronize them. On the other hand, the poor cannot afford the bills and those who could are mal-diagnosed! The sick get there but the doctors have gone to their private clinics since the government cannot meet their financial demands and other conditions of service. Who cares as long as the haves are not affected?
On assumption of office, the current minister for transport and aviation said he did not know that railway was still a means of transportation in Nigeria! Do you blame him? No, because he does not make use of such facility. So how can he fix the problems associated with such facility? The gory story continues in every sector of the economy. They are totally disconnected from the realities of the society.
However, they should be reminded of the political calamity that befell the leaders of the MAGREB countries where the populace became dangerous in an attempt to close up the yawning gap between the rulers and the ruled. They took up arms against the government. In the ensuing violence, lives and property were destroyed simply because the people could no longer bear it. This has not happened in Nigeria not because Nigerians (especially the poor masses) are docile but because their elastic limit has not been reached. The signs are all there for our leaders to see if only they could be discerning. When the elastic limit is reached, it will be like a volcanic eruption that will spare nobody.
Furthermore, the issue of financial accountability should not be treated with kid-glove. Leaders are voted into offices so as to be accountable to the voters. Therefore national treasury should not be seen as a private source of funds to meet the needs of our leaders to the exclusion of the led as in the case of lawmakers’ allowances. In the same vein, nobody knows the security votes of our executive governors. The issue generated on the padding of the national budget has been swept under the carpet! Till today, our president has not told us his medical bills when he went for treatment abroad. He is not answerable to us but to himself. However, our leaders should know that suspicion is not far from secrecy. Secrecy disconnects. Suspicion assumes and brings negative reaction. The widening disconnection is maddening and dangerous as nobody can predict what will follow when the people at the disadvantaged extreme try to catch up with the greedy few on the other extreme because there will always be a catch up! No transparent government will not walk the talk. The names of the looters and the recovered loot should be documented for all to see otherwise the people are yet to be fully convinced that this government is different from its predecessor.
Furthermore, there should be a law to the effect that whoever wants to be a public servant should be mandated to use public facilities as any other man on the street. This will bring the necessary connection between the led and the leaders. The mad rush to bleed the national treasury will no longer be there and the country will be much more peaceful.
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