Two classes have held Nigeria captive since independence. One is a class that takes so much from her but gives very little in return. The other is a classes that loots her heritage to enrich other nations.
Sadly, the two classes have grown very powerful, very influential and so malignant on the country’s capacity for development. More worrisome is that the two classes have dominated the larger period when Nigeria’s potential for greatness was globally sought after.
It is regrettable that the gains of the oil boom era were used by these two parasitic groups Nigerians to build white elephants with enormous resources which were either mismanaged or looted outright.
If Nigeria emerged as an independent nation full of hope, the first class that took over leadership was flush with all the indulgence that a silver spoon-fed child would have.
Jobs were there without being sought; generous allowances and sundry perquisites were available without being asked for; promotions were rapid for the few privileged educated career civil servants; free overseas training and scholarships were compulsory for those elite Nigerians as pioneer careerists in the civil service and public service.
It is not immodest to conclude that the first class of Nigerians were given so much by Nigeria but gave her very little in return. This writer wouldn’t know why the first class failed to realise that Nigeria gave them so much that could empower them to give more to her. So why did the first class fail their country?
Many reasons are advanced for this. One of the reasons that usually commands attention is the penchant by the first class of Nigerians to think more British than Nigerian, even after the country had become sovereign.
Such colonial sentiments, such vestiges of colonialism, sheepishly embraced and exhibited by that class clearly marked them as ingrates who never sowed but reaped bountifully and still refused to give back to the land they never cultivated.
While the first class enjoyed the privileges and benefits offered by the country without corresponding returns, the expectations that greeted Nigeria’s independence in 1960 were largely unfulfilled, especially with the incursion of the military in the country’s political administration in 1966. The first class of Nigerians who took so much but gave very little is different from the second class who looted their country to enrich other countries.
The first class is different because among them were a few dynamic, efficient integrity- driven political leaders and public administrators who provided model leadership.
The second class of Nigerians who are products of military dictatorship represent the sad chapter of the nation’s turbulent and uninspiring history. The military dictators who shot their ways into power and their by-products, made up of civil/public careerists and contractors cared less in giving to the nation while they suck the veins of her blood. As neo-colonialists, they gladly became fronts for the corrupt military dictators.
Today, Nigeria bleeds from the wounds inflicted on her by these two parasitic corrupt classes who robbed their country blind and stashed the loot in the vaults of foreign banks. Nigeria runs a 16-year democracy still largely determined by relics of the first class and hawks of the second class.
The character of most politicians who run the current democratic structure evidently puts them as agents and advocates of the undermining process to which Nigeria is unfortunately chained and still struggling in vain to let loose.
Corruption, now at its peak, clearly marks Nigeria as an island of pirates. The looting spree, which confers illegitimate corridors for political office holders to siphon and trillions of tax payers funds into foreign banks, now portray Nigeria as a country governed by satanists and madmen. This is how the developed world sees Nigeria today.
Budget padding is now a cliché of parliamentary debates in Nigeria. While lawmakers in both chambers of the National Assembly throw bricks at one another over budget padding, moral controversies surround government business in Nigeria today. Budget padding is another moral fraud unleashed on this beleaguered nation by her elected representatives. The scope of corruption has grown so big that efforts to clean up the system are being resisted by powerful elements of the two classes of Nigerians.
When will all those who take so much from Nigeria and give very little become patriots? When will those who loot the country stop enriching other nations?
Ajiboye is Director, News and Current Affairs, Osun State Broadcasting Corporation, Osogbo.