Nigeria is, in all definitions,a nation destined for greatness.God graciously blessed this nation with everything needed by any nation to be prosperous and progressive in terms of human and material resources.Nature blessed Nigeria with good weather,good soil for agriculture,solid mineral is just like MTN(everywhere you go),oil and gas in abudance, rivers and seas with their own potentials.That Nigeria is where she is presently beats all right thinking persons’ imaginations.But Nigeria is just a mere political expression with no life of her own without Nigerians.So it would be correct to submit that Nigeria is what Nigerians make her to be.
The Nigerian journey from sublime to ridiculous started in that era when Nigerians refused to see the big picture of national patriotism and instead embraced the evil of TRIBALISM.The truth is that the monster of CORRUPTION that is snuffing life out of Nigeria today was given life and nurtured in this era.Tribalism gave the unpatriotic Nigerians a safe refuge from lawful punishment for violating the laws of the land.All the scoundrels in the country found escape route from the law by whipping up tribal sentiment using press.National best practices were sacrificed on the altar of tribal or ethnic sentiments.Competence,capacity and patriotic characters were jettisoned and our national system paved way for all sorts of practices depending on the tribe you belonged to and which tribe was at the helm of affairs.National causes were no more about national pride but about which tribe/ethnic benefited more in terms of financial loots or political patronages.Nigerian system was then unconsciously structured along this line that everyone in Nigeria was more conscious of his/her tribal identity than national identity.Patriotism was totally sentenced to death in this era.This went across our national activities including sport.This day,tribalism has taken another nomenclature.It’s now refered to as ZONING.
With increasing education(formal or informal process),our tribal lords found it increasingly difficult to keep feeding just on tribal sentiments.So the system graduated from tribalism to NEPOTISM.In fact,tribalism gave birth to nepotism.With nepotism,’me-and-my-family-only syndrome became the order of the day.What should go round in the economy will only be cornered by an insignificant percentage of the populace and their family members.The foundation for horrifying POVERTY was laid in this era.This is the reason why only privileged families dominated our societies in the recent past because the political and economic fortunes were structured for them only.Does anyone remember the era when certain families with no known economic means were the ones dominating(oppressing) your neighbourhood in those days?This was and still common a practice in the civil service till date.It’s the director’s wife’company that get the job/contract/land allocation(you know now).
With the increasing national challenges,our elites needed safer means of accummulating wealth(without sweath of course) and so we graduated from nepotism to cronyism.Cronyism is the reigning practice at all levels of governance now.From local government to the federal level.Commonwealth is now being shared among the few that are very close to power.They are the friends of power and you always find them in the National Economic Management Team or its equivalent at the state and local government level(s).Has anyone questioned why just a handful few would donate tonnes of millions of naira to Presidential Library project of a sitting President or a PDP secretariat building project and at one time or the other,these unduly favoured few have had their names in major financial scandals that rocked our nation in recent past?If I may wake up your consciousness,FSR scandal or stock market price manipulation are the examples that come to mind.
Even judiciary that should be the last hope of the masses has lost its forthrightness,integrity and objectivity to political cronyism.Judgements are given out not on the basis of natural justice nor dictates of the constitution but on the basis of who you know(political and financial network) and how much your network is able to produce for settlement.The effect of cronyism came to its head in judiciary when people like James Ibori escaped justice in Nigeria and became so powerful in the system that would have seen him cooling off in jail instead.Thank goodness,justice came eventually in far away United Kingdom where cronyism is a great crime. Also,scandals like Harlliburton,Siemen, Pension Reform Task Team,banking frauds,parastatals/agenacy like NPA etc would forever escapeadequate justice as a result of cronyism.
The implications of tribalism,nepotism and cronyism are immense on our socio-economic cum political development.Tribalism singularly stunted our political development and stagnated our economic prosperity.It succeeded in fragmenting our national unity and gave us impression that our nation didn’t need the best-hand-for-the-job neither was competence nor capacity for proferring solutions to national challenges the required qualities to public offices(Any wonder why our leaders now depend on serenpidity to succeed rather than working hard for collective greatness).The most important thing was ‘our-brother-is-in-charge’.Unfortunately,it’s only the crooked elites that benefit from this arrangement.Nepotism and Cronyism have succeeded in channelling the commonwealth into the hands of very few citizens in the system.Check all the concessions being given by PDP government since 1999,all the licences granted and of late revelations from oil and gas sector(both upstream and downstream).Where majority is languishing in extreme poverty,and middle-class is being eroded by the day and yet very countable citizens are daily being announced as belonging to the richest persons in the world club,that system is bound to be guilty of cronyism.
The essence of this piece is to call to question our conscience for us to exorcise ourselves wherever we are guilty of any of these three evil and father of poverty,underdevelopment and disunity in our country.If we can go beyond tribalism(ZONING),nepotism and cronyism,our nation will achieve reasonable progress in so short a time.
So help us O Lord.
By Olatona Olabode
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