Is there something in our make up that makes us commit crimes easily, or seek to get away with what is wrong?
A cursory appraisal would seem to confirm this: but if we look at the whole picture objectively, we would find that there are so many extenuating factors, that mitigate, and make a lie of this assertion.
Can you blame a five year old for not understanding quantum physics, or the complete works of William Shakespeare ?
You cannot because the child has not be schooled in that regard.
We were taught, in journalism school in those days ,that you must never write above the frame of reference of your audience, or beyond their field of experience.
The frame of reference simply refers to, what he knows, and can relate to, for example, all that the five year old could know are some nursery rhymes, and this even depends on the social stratum the child is in.
Field of experience on the other hand, is the aggregate ,or sum total, life experience of a person from which he/she can draw from, and make comparisons, with whatever he encounters now. It is like his log book of life.
What can we say have been our collective field of experience, and frame of reference as a nation?
Another way of asking the question is, what role models have we been given to follow, as Nigerians?
What acts of inspiration, and loftiness, have we been called to aspire to in our fifty years of nationhood?
Think about it, is there anything in our past that, munificently, and glowingly, compels, and challenges us, not to fall below the "ancient moral benchmark" of integrity?
Take a deep breath, close your eyes, if you need to; there is nothing in our past as a nation that motivates in anyway to patriotism, honesty, egalitarianism, and selflessness.
We have been operating on a deficit of moral inspiration for fifty years.
Has a Nigerian public official ever resigned as result of being accused of wrongdoing? When they do, it is usually because they are forced out. They do not do it out of a conviction of duty the way we see it done in Japan.
Have you ever seen a leader give his all to serve this nation, at his own loss, and great pain to himself? Have you ever seen a leader who said he would not accept his salary, that the opportunity to be of service to Nigeria, was enough reward in itself?
Then, there is the small question of honesty. Every leader runs on the adrenalin of dishonesty, and greed!
We now expect every leader to exit from office a rich man. Not necessarily as a result of his remuneration, but because of what he/she can filch! That is the example we have been used to for fifty years.
The first crop of leaders were not dishonest, they just were not sincere in terms of the desire to build a strong nation.
They were not nationalists. Some people call them nationalists because they fought for independence.
But look at what they did after independence.
Each one of them pursued an ethnic agenda, and sought to be a national leader for his/her ethnic group. This was an anachronism. It just could not work. It is like trying to be in two places at once.
We are still "benefiting" from the ethnic seeds sown.
So, to ask the question again, "Are Nigerians genetically programmed to be dishonest? The answer is NO!
We are not.
We have been nationally brainwashed by our leaders to believe that if we do not watch out for ourselves, no one would.
That has turned us into the worst kind of criminal possible, a programmed one.
We steal, not because we are hungry, but because it is the only thing we have been taught to do.
We have not been shown what true honesty is.
And till now, we are still waiting to see it in leadership.
And until we do,