I asked myself a very silly question;I believe that as we ask silly questions,we come up with intelligent solutions. What is the most important factor in the equation of development?
Is it money? Is it an educated population?Is it free and fair elections? Or, is it infrastructure? In my opinion,it is neither of these things,nor any of the other catch phrases people in development love to bandy around.
I believe it is sacrifice!
I believe that if a nation has adequate infrastructure,and there is no sacrificial leadership,it would be a gilded cage! If on the other hand,the nation is backward,and there is no sacrificial leadership,it is a living hell!
Sacrifice is what would cause a government official,despite the tasking poverty over his head,to refuse to compromise,and look the other way,to instead open his eyes,and do the right thing! In the first instance,his choice to compromise,might lead to the death of ten thousand children,while his doing the right thing,would result in the saving of the same number of lives!
The difference we need to observe,is that in one instance,the fellow thought of himself,while in the other,he thought of the society at large,and protected the commonwealth.
Following in the same vein,is the level of resources allocated to service political office holders.
When a society is bedeviled by selfish,myopic,self-serving leadership:everyone suffers.Sometimes the relatives of the selfish leader,who occupy the outermost of the concentric rings around this fellow,also suffer! Conversely,the effect of selfless leadership,is beneficial to all.
Today in Nigeria,we have leaders who have equated themselves with the state.The doctrine of "L' etat C'est moi", meaning "I am the State" is their motto. They see their election as an anointment to divinity,and a covenant by the people to better the leader's lot by keeping him appointed in the most luxurious of circumstances!.
Or how does one explain where our political office holders,are set in the most opulent of luxury,while the rest of the nation wallows in abject, ax-wielding marauding poverty gone amok!
They continually make laws,speedily,to ensure their creature comforts,and perpetuate themselves in office,to the detriment of the general good. In the year 2006, the national assembly concluded all necessary work on the Freedom of Information Bill. It died with that house;the new session up till now, is still to pass the law.
Between then,and now, they have reviewed their remunerations several times!
In one month,the same house is likely to pass the new, spurious electoral act which would ensure that they all get reelected in the next election!
They are like the most irresponsible of parents,shameless people who gain weight while their children suffer from malnutrition,they wear the most elegant clothes while their children run around in rags;they throw elaborate,outrageous,outlandish,and extravagant parties,while their children are kicked out of school for non payment fees!
In one particular local government in Nigeria, it was discovered that budget was allocated in the following ratio-
1. Chairman's Office, 20%
2. Hotel Project,located next to the Chairman's office, 10%
3. Education (excluding teacher's salaries which is paid by the Federal Government), 1%
4. Health ,1%
The rest went to nebulous contracts,and other special projects!
Is this some kind of punishment for Nigerians for a crime committed in a previous life? Government has become a prosperous vocation for getting rich quickly, while adding no value to the lives of the people.
It is the reason why people rig elections,kill,and maim others just to get there. It is time we began to demand that our leaders curb their outrageous,out of this world remunerations! A situation where each member of the national assemble is paid over a million dollars a year,in a country where the current minimum wage is less than forty dollars is unacceptable!
How can it be too,that Nigeria,with her level of underdevelopment, and poverty,can afford to have more law makers than the United States of America which has more states? Stranger still,is the quirk,that we paying them more than America pays her president!
The nation is spending more than eighty percent of our resources to maintain less than one percent of the population!
We should demand that election to office,and the privilege to influence policy,should be it's own reward. It should not be the ungodly appurtenances which currently exist,and make a mockery of us all.
We have tried it for fifty years,and it has pauperized us all,now is the time for us to look at things differently. Let us get those who intend to run for office next year to commit to reducing their outrageous allowances by eighty percent next year!
Let us all begin to put pressure on the National Income,Salaries,and Wages Commission, to recalibrate these remunerations! If we get enough people talking about it,it would become an issue on the front burner. If we refuse to address the current sacrifice-deficit plaguing our nation, the rest of us,who form the majority,would continually find ourselves holding the short end of the stick!
I leave you with a breaking news item,the Bayelsa state government in Nigeria,has decided to site one of the six new federal universities in President Goodluck Jonathan's village!
His village is a remote,inaccessible area,and was only chosen not on merit,but because it is self-serving. That is another symptom of the problem.
Why move a university from the state capital,and site it in an obviously wrong place. Our rulers are in office for themselves,and not for us!
MAY GOD BLESS NIGERIA,MY NIGERIA,FOREVER!