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2007: Man-on-the-street should prepare too

Posted by Helen Ovbiagele Woman Editor on 2005/10/02 | Views: 226 |

2007: Man-on-the-street should prepare too


"THIS is amazing!" exclaimed this gentleman, shaking his head as he browsed through a national daily.

"THIS is amazing!" exclaimed this gentleman, shaking his head as he browsed through a national daily.

"Whatís that?" asked his wife.

"Honey, you remember that neighbour of ours in Surulere several years ago who was the head of our residentsí association and who embezzled contributions meant for the street guards?" "Oh the businessman; whatís his name? Yes, Mr. SZ. Yes, thatís it. Whatís happened to him? I hope heís not dead. Is that his obituary youíre reading?"

"No such luck! Heís still very much alive, although that canít be good news to the many people heís been duping over the years."

"Darling, we donít wish anyone dead. What has he done this time? Isnít he now a chief in his village?"

"Of course he is. Isnít that the next natural step for born fraudsters and 419ers? He invited us to his chieftaincy ceremonies, remember, but we were not able to go."

"You mean you refused to allow us go. So, whatís new in his life?" "Heís now into politics, honey! Can you believe that! Politics! Can you imagine the devastation heíd do with funds if elected? Someone who was mean enough to fleece off his poor neighbours to enrich himself, and who was a constant guest of the police over shady deals! Now, heís joined politics which in itself is an avenue for stealing and thuggery in this country. People of his ilk shouldnít be allowed into politics. It isnít fair. There should be a way of preventing thieves from getting to the seat of power, no matter how minor."

"How do you prevent his entry? Itís only proven criminals and minors who are legally disallowed from seeking elective positions. Not suspected cheats and thieves. Thatís the sad aspect of it all, as all forms of crooks can get into politics with the sole aim of enriching themselves."

"Precisely. Thatís why the voting public should rise up and act! They should not vote for people like that our neighbour. I know thatís easier said than done, but we have to show these crooks that come 2007, if the Lord allows us to get there, it wonít be business as usual."

Every well-meaning Nigerian should support this view.

The voting public in Nigeria is very gullible, or shall we say, weíre ready to sell our rights for a mess of pottage. Politics, as it is being practised in Nigeria today, has become the most desired profession. Once upon a time, if you wanted to make it in life, you studied hard so you could honestly pass those examinations and get educational qualifications which would get you good jobs with good prospects. Sadly, this is no longer the case. Gradually, our values began to be eroded as our elders failed to show good examples. They stole public funds, cheated, encouraged thuggery in politics and generally misbehaved. Of course, all these took place when they were young, and when they became elders and some had repented, it was too late because the next generation to theirs had imbibed those rotten values of theirs and ever since, subsequent generations have been perfecting the misdeeds. Yes, there were the good old days, but the rotten days were bred then; they didnít just spring out of the blue. We blame the young people of today for the decadence in the society, but who are the actual originators? Those politicians who introduced thuggery and a do-or-die attitude into politics in Nigeria, may no longer be with us, but that legacy lingers. What the young people are merely doing is to practise these in wilder and even more dangerous ways. They are impatient so theyíre ready to use violence to get rich. Still, the majority of Nigerians are law-abiding and they outnumber those who are perpetuating evil.

The banking industry, the oil and gas industry, etc.

used to attract people into their fields, but if you want to get rich quickly these days, you go into politics. These people donít pause to think of what contributions they can make to uplift their country; most are out to line their pockets as much as possible. But do the rest of us have to aid and abet those who are stripping the country and bringing us untold hardships? Doesnít the man on the street have a voice and power? He certainly does. The masses should rise up and refuse to be used to put the wrong people into power. They should refuse to vote for such people and or rig the votes to get them into power. Politicians are not from outer space. They are Nigerians with roots here, and most of them are known in the communities in which theyíre seeking votes to get elected into power. If youíre aware that a person has a history of mismanaging money and running dubious businesses, donít vote for him or her or canvass for votes for such a person. We have to start somewhere, and we should not be ruled by tribal, religious and political sentiments when assessing those who want to be voted for.

The masses should vote into power, come 2007, only honest men and women with good and transparent track records.

They should refuse to be bribed or bullied. How long can a bag of rice or beans used to bribe you for votes, alleviate poverty, when you vote into power, inept and highly irresponsible, lying and cheating politicians who make the wrong decisions concerning our economy and finance, which cause huge job loss and inflation? You collect money and provisions, and then when youíre sick, you canít get treatment in a government hospital because health staff are on strike for unpaid salaries and remunerations, or the hospitals lack the equipment and drugs which are essential for your condition.

Public schools lack good and qualified teachers due to salary problems and the equipment and essential infrastructures

are not there. The people you voted into power and who should do something to rectify things, wisely go abroad when they fall sick, and send their kids to schools abroad or high-brow private schools in the country. They donít bother about the terrible state of our roads because they ride rugged jeeps and get around in planes. Theyíre not worried about the high cost of living because they have enough avenues for siphoning public money to be able to afford anything. They give your kids scholarships to study in ill-equipped and badly-staffed local schools where they come out with very little knowledge. The masses should refuse bribes and insist on good governance which would uplift our lives in all areas. the masses (including the uniformed people who suffer along with us) have the power to prevent the wrong people coming into power. As politicians prepare for 2007, the masses should prepare too.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.