Greedy And Reckless Politicians - by Sunny Ikhioya

When people that know say "poverty is a choice", the uninformed will be criticising them. Ignorance is indeed a disease.

The Holy Book says that the people suffer because they lack knowledge. Pericles of the ancient greek history noted on poverty: ” The admission of poverty is no disgrace to man: not to forge one’s way out of it is the real disgrace”. So, those of us celebrating poverty are doing so out of ignorance. If you are poor or from a poor family and you maintain the status-quo, it is because you have chosen to remain so.

The same logic is extended to nations. A nation is poor because its people through ignorance, have chosen to go the poverty way. If we all, collectively insist on what is expected of us, Nigeria has no reason to be counted among the poor nations of the earth, but through our flamboyant and wasteful lifestyles and total apathy towards the recklessness of the leadership class, we have, on our own, allowed a giant nation to be sleeping.

We have become the comic poster nation for the whole world to ridicule. A nation heavily blessed with natural and human resources, coupled with a climate and vegetation that is human friendly and centred at the most strategic location of the whole universe, is grappling to find its feet. It is a sure paradox for researchers to decipher.

For me, I do not need to look anywhere for the reasons we have collectively allowed ourselves to be enslaved by those we have placed in position to manage our common entity. Like sheep, we have allowed this class to lead us to the slaughter grounds. Daily, we are being impoverished, dehumanised, raped, tossed like tennis balls and eliminated. We, the collective, sat and watched.

They have succeeded in penetrating the consciousness and injected us with the hate ideologies making us to battle and kill one another, while they meet at the top or wherever, to clink glasses and exchange banters. They have used ethnicity, religion and other mundane excuses, to keep the people totally distracted from the main cause of their plights, while they smile to the bank. How long shall we, the collective, sit down and watch.

Our country is poor and comatose because the few men we have elected to rule over us have decided to loot our common wealth, releasing only stipends that will only be enough for the street boys to fight over. When will the people realise that the problem is not in our differences in religion and ethnic backgrounds but in our thieving leaders and politicians. Until we collectively wake up to the realisation of this fact, our grumblings, murmuring and suffering will continue.

The other day the Akwa Ibom House of Assembly endorsed a bill of N100 million per year for the medical expenses of the retiring governor. When we add others like the mansions to be built in Abuja and anywhere of his choice in Akwa Ibom State, fleet of vehicles to be replaced every four years, stewards, guards and many others, if cummulatively added, will exceed N1 billion. This is for somebody who has already made his mark as a lawyer, served as commissioner in the state and retiring as a two-term governor, who also has aspiration to go to the Senate. Meanwhile, he will tell us that he is there to serve. According to Patience Jonathan: “There is God oo!”

The Akwa Ibom State assembly, that is to protect the people’s interest, rubber-stamped this bizarre request. Is Godswill Akpabio telling us that he has no house(s) in Abuja and Akwa Ibom State? Where was he living before he became the state governor? Is he telling us that he, including his cronies/ relatives, has not benefitted from his two terms as governor? Did he not realise from the onset that the job of a governor is a temporary appointment and not a career appointment that you do until retirement?

It is indeed baffling. Where did our politicians copy their ideas from? You beg to serve, they vote you into office; you convert the government and everything on it to your own property and God help anyone amongst the lot that will have the audacity to confront you. And we, the collective are sitting and watching.

It did not begin from Akpabio. Bukola Saraki did it in Kwara State; the people sat and watched. Maybe, that is why Akpabio is embolden ed. Very soon, other states will join the bandwagon. And you are asking why Nigeria is a poor nation.

Bukola Saraki is now in the Senate, enjoying the perks of office as a senator, with all of the jumbo senatorial allowances. The question I want answered is this? Having successfully arm-twisted the Kwara government to build an Abuja mansion for him, with all the accompanying retirement benefits, does Saraki still collect housing allowance from the Senate? It will be interesting to know.

Our politicians are greedy. First, they come as messengers of the masses and true progressives, but if you remove the veil, it is a different thing that you will see. Our people are consumed by the messianic syndrome, having been made to bite from the crumbs.

Take Lagos State for instance. It has been rumoured that a former governor of the state is behind Alfa Beta Consulting, a firm said to collect 10percent of revenue generated in the State. Lagos State is relatively comfortable in terms of revenue generation. Assuming the state gets N20 billion revenue in one month, that amounts to N2 billion monthly for Alfa Beta as consultants. And we, the collective, sit down and watch.

Ali Modu Sheriff was once governor of Borno State. While in office, he admitted to the press that he had a fleet of 70 SUVs. This is a state with the highest number of almajiris in Nigeria. Today, Borno is the headquarters of the misguided Boko Haram sect where hundreds have been slaughtered.

The people sat and watched, and that is why when the implosion occurred in Borno, there was no sane one amongst them to moderate the violence that followed.

Our politicians are too greedy, they should spare a thought for the people. Our education, the military and other sectors, are all crying for resources to keep them alive and vibrant. Let these funds be channelled into these institutions to keep the nation alive and at peace, instead of investing in violence.

Our negligible few, thieving politicians and leaders, are the direct cause of the nation’s backwardness. We, the people, must not sit down and watch.