Hello, Mr President!!! Can You Please Pick You Call, I Have An Urgent Message For You, By Anyangbeso Endurance

By Post Nigeria February 25, 2018 17:55

Hello, Mr President!!! Can You Please Pick You Call, I Have An Urgent Message For You, By Anyangbeso Endurance

Value can be defined as broad preferences concerning appropriate course of actions or outcomes. As such, values reflect a person’s sense of right or wrong or what “ought” to be. Collins English Dictionary defines value system of a group of people as the set of beliefs and attitudes they all share.

The value system of the founding fathers of Nigeria politics like Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Alhaji Tafawa Balewa and others embraced and appreciated honesty, selflessness and patriotism and this reflected in their simple and austere lifestyle. Their passion and concern was how to advance and better a country that was at its teething stage of birth. These founding fathers of Nigeria politics did not just pay lip service to the Nigeria project as we see in our politicians today, but the good of Nigeria and Nigerians was their raison d’ etre and essence.

However, when crude oil was discovered in Oloibiri in January 1956 and the attendant surge in revenue, the value system of Nigeria politician began to shift from patriotism, selflessness, and honesty to corruption, greed and unpatriotic tendencies. As such, when other countries (mostly in the Asian continent) were busy developing their countries with oil wealth, Nigeria politicians were having a field day stashing the oil wealth abroad for personal glory and aggrandizement. Today, these Asian countries have made so much progress that they are termed first and second world countries, while Nigeria, the lame giant of Africa is still a third world country grovelling under the heavy weight of poverty and insecurity.

Recently, the need to restructure Nigeria took the front burner in public discourse. Many have spoken in favour of restructuring outlining its seeming benefits. There are other groups who think that Nigeria must split before she can make progress. Restructuring or splitting Nigeria is not the solution to our national malaise. A restructured Nigeria run by the same crop of Leaders whose value system is warped will produce the same result­ we have always had. Those who want us to split this country should also understand that our population is not our problem as it were. They should remember that the population of China is more than Africa put together. Thus, focusing on restructuring or splitting Nigeria is like when a Medical Doctor abandon the root cause of a disease and is treating the symptoms. Such doctor may not make headway.

What has to change in this country is our value system; it is our misplaced priority. As a people, we have placed the cart before the horse hence we are confused. Local Government councillors with a degree or no degree earn more than a University Professor; that is a perfect definition of confusion. We do not need the birth of a new political party with novel ideologies; neither do we need a fresh set of intellectuals. Do not give us the knowledge of the Methuselahs of the land. All we need are men who have denounced greed as their creed. What we need in Nigeria are men and women who must embrace a value system that shuns corruption, nepotism, tribalism, avarice, and the likes.

Sincerely speaking, we need a renaissance of the value system of the founding fathers of our politics. The value system that jettisons corruption, greed, nepotism and tribalism. This is the formula for national development.

Someone said sarcastically that in Nigeria values have been traded for vices. This unfortunate picture is crystal-clear in our polity. In the civil service for instance, recruitment is no longer based on merit. It is now based on tribalism, nepotism, and in short who you know. It is clear that vacancies are only advertised in the civil service when the positions (jobs slots) have been shared among family members and friends of politicians and top civil servant. Applicants are only interviewed for nonexistent jobs. Poor applicants! Politicians and top civil servants sell some of their job slots for as much as five hundred thousand naira and above. To corroborate this, in one of the states in South-South Nigeria, vacancies were advertised in one of the ministries, during recruitment, there was fracas between the commissioner of the ministry and top civil servants. The top civil servants in the ministry complained bitterly that the commissioner allotted job slots every member of his community and his numerous allies thus depriving them of their own slots. It took the intervention of the governor to quell the disturbance. Looking at such scenario, it is evident that such process can only produce mediocrity instead of merit. This explains why the Nigeria civil service is not contributing significantly to national development in spite of the huge budgetary allocation it gets from the Government.

The erosion of our value system has cost us much as a country and is still costing us much by the day. For instance, why on earth should a serving governor of the Federal Republic of Nigeria erect a monumental statue for a president of another country when the governor is aware of the heavy corruption charges against the president? What lesson does Jacob Zuma have for the youth of Imo State? Why did the governor not invest such whopping five hundred million naira on creating jobs for the teeming jobless Imo youths? This shows the extent of our misplaced priority and our eroded value system.

At this juncture, it is imperative to share my thought on one of the most recent stories the media has been awash with. It is the story of the snake and the swallowed thirty six million naira in JAMB office. This is preposterous and laughable. However, since it is happening at a time when we have a government that is seriously fighting corruption, there is hope that the culprit will be brought to book.

To close this piece, let me remind us about the late Sunny Okosun and his prophetic and revolutionary song “Which Way Nigeria?”. His lyrics:

Many many years after independence

We still find it hard to stand

How long shall we be patient?

Till we get to the Promised Land

Which way Nigeria?

If we must get to the Promised Land as Sunny Okosun queried; we should be ready to embrace sound value system, and it must be the value system that the founding fathers of our politics embraced—- the value system of selflessness, honesty and patriotism.

Anyangbeso Endurance, an Educator and public affair analyst, is based in Benin City, Nigeria.


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