It hurts to see the damage done to the nation through primary interest in stomach infrastructural tendencies, maneuverings and excesses.
Many awestruck and well-meaning observers have written factual accounts of the deteriorating and deplorable conditions in our country, but none more graphically than concerned Nigerian journalists, in their striking polished imagery. Through their impactful stories they were able to paint vivid portraits of grief, fear and impending disaster, should the hearts or conscience of the political class remain hardened. Politicians should not place greater interest on stomach infrastructure ahead of national development.
If conscience is that part of us that judges the morality of our actions and makes us feel guilty about bad things we have done or things we feel responsible for, then interest in stomach infrastructure which relates to personal ambition, dreams of avarice and self-centeredness, should be checkmated and halted, because such actions are opposed to sustainable growth. Although, no amount of hunger will make a person to eat his tongue. But, from the pitiable faces of most Nigerians today, nobody knows those who still have their tongues in their mouths. Our leaders should please note that development means giving birth to something new or something different.
Many people in the bid to exercise ruthless honesty have stepped on toes of others. Mahatma Ghandi of India was no doubt one of the world’s great leaders of the twentieth century who experimented with truth. He once said, “I have nothing new to teach the world. Truth and non-violence are as old as the hills”. It was this legacy of truth and non-violence to which he dedicated his life, that helped to bring about profound social and individual change without fanaticism, the hatred, and the slaughter that attend so many violent struggles and political activities. Ghandi believed that people can shape and guide their lives according to the highest ideals, no matter how insignificant and powerless they might feel themselves to be. His autobiography remains invaluable for its account of the shaping of a new path to collective resistance to injustice.
In fact, it hurts to see the damage done to the nation through primary interest in stomach infrastructural tendencies, maneuverings and excesses. When a politician gets involved in this type of mean politics, it beclouds his vision, rubbishes his intellect and ends up attracting greed. This is how come billions of government and constituency funds are diverted into personal accounts, thereby taking the country centuries backward with painful tales of under-development. As if the offences of these offenders do not mean anything, armed to the teeth security men in their legions are usually assigned to escort and protect them, their families and empires from suspected attacks by the vexed masses they had trampled upon.
An unfortunate aspect of this betrayal and injustice is that unknown to the perpetrators of these atrocities against the nation and humanity, there are hidden curses of the people upon their lives. This is true, because we are told that the wicked shall not go unpunished. The preacher, the son of David, King in Jerusalem, once said “vanity of vanities; all is vanity. I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of the spirit”.
Newspaper stands all over the country have become centres for comic relief but unfortunately, Nigerian Nollywood script writers and producers have not yet explored this daily, unplanned and unrehearsed raw comedy that takes place at these stands. Most members of this free readers association, just wake up every morning and go to the stands to display their knowledge of burning national issues including stomach infrastructure and under-development in the country. They shout, grin, smile and in the end, exchange pleasantries.
When meritocracy goes with the wind and selection takes over from election as a result of cash and carry politics, who do we blame? The earth is a wonderful, yet a morbid place filled with complexities of living. Nevertheless, with a profound sense of the weighty importance of the task of nation building, positive contribution to national development should override self interest. The earlier we agree that our country is sick, the better for us all. And with this stand point, we can start looking for experts with robust intelligence to assist us come out of our wilderness.
Servant leaders with spotless character, who will lead with example, humility, love and fear of God, in other to rekindle confidence and self reliance in the people are the kind of leaders Nigerians are yearning for; not leaders or politicians who are more interested in recouping more than double their financial investments into party politics. The bleak truth, however, is that this is not the time to put things off, make excuses or enjoy the only exercise of the sluggard, which is turning on his bed. This is the time for a good fight for Nigerians to sense a good change.
At times, my mind wanders off in the direction of aggressive deliverance prayers for the land and its people, because something tells me that the problem of our country may not be ordinary, as today, some leaders do not see themselves as servants of the people but lords of the voiceless masses. Somehow, most of them don’t know that times are changing, and that it will be sheer carelessness to allow what knocked off a person’s teeth to blind his eyes.
At this juncture, I believe there is urgent need for our politicians to go through leadership training programmes, where they can be groomed on good leadership skills, in order to stem growing discontent with bad leadership in the country. Bad leadership, neglect and incompetence should no longer be tolerated.
When the government budgets money for national development and it is diverted with impunity, how then can the nation develop? Ceaseless tears ran down the faces of a couple who spent twelve hours galloping through an abandoned Nigerian road, on a journey that should have taken them less than six hours. At the end of the journey they gave thanks to God as they were not attacked by armed bandits. Today, stomach infrastructure is partly, if not fully responsible for wastages, inconsistency, incompletion and abandonment of major projects in the country.
What does it take to prevent politicians from diving deeper into stomach infrastructure? Certainly not fanaticism or violence. But to continue exposing the evils associated with this wicked and untidy practice. Meanwhile, from the way things are going, one cannot tell which out of many lizards lying on the ground has a running stomach, but time will tell.
Nsofor writes from Abuja