THE year 2017 is surely a year of surprises, according to the General overseer of the Redeemed Christian Bible Church, Pastor Enoch Adeboye. Whether they are pleasant or not is of no issue here.
The kind of revelations emanating from the actions of our political leaders is not in any way good for the country’s image in the international community.
The revelation that the country has lost over N11 trillion Naira to corruption in the electricity sector since her return to democracy in 1999 carried out by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP has given Nigerians another cause to be worried about the fate of the nation.
According to SERAP, The hope of Nigerians for regular electricity supply was dashed due to corruption and corrupt practices in the sector.
The nation drifted into recession due to lack of adequate economic planning for the future and we have seen how some individuals diverted monies meant for the development of communities and improving the living conditions of the people to their pockets.
The gap between the rich and poor has been expanding in an alarming rate to the extent that the rich are some times not secured in the society and they have to build tight security around themselves at all times.
There was a time in this country, during the oil boom era, when the nation was so rich and the problem was how to spend the money. There was rapid infrastructural development and the rich and poor lived happily amongst themselves.
But when some greedy politicians were either elected or appointed into positions of authority they focused mainly on enriching themselves to the detriment of the people that elected them into office. They built vast empires for themselves and deprived the people of such basic amenities, like good roads, housing, water and electricity.
Some politicians steal public funds and amassed so much wealth for themselves in such a careless attitude that they no more have pity for their fellow neighbors and sometimes close relations who are suffering.
These actions have been described as madness by a psychiatrist, Fred Odemwingie Okhomina. He says he cannot see why somebody should steal 1.3 billion dollars, noting that it is a sign of madness. That is why many European leaders have said that there is something basically wrong with the black man.
“Why will somebody steal the money meant for road construction, building of schools, for building hospitals and sadly, such money they will not even finish in five generations.
“The act of stealing public money is greed and it is a form of mental illness. If these people were stealing the money to educate the children of the poor citizens, we would not mind. It is therefore his view that political office holders in Nigeria should undergo psychiatric test.
Because of the greed of some of our leaders, elder statesmen who have served the nation on retirement cannot get their entitlements while some politicians stacked their houses full with money in different currencies.
How can such leaders claim to be at the helm of affairs in a country where those who have been blessed by God with the natural resources are deprived of enjoying the gift. When I visited an Ijaw community in Gbaramatu Kingdom, Delta State, I wept over their living conditions. I was made to understand that over 26 oil wells are in this community but yet they lived in thatched bamboo houses, no drinking water, schools, health centers and electricity.
The sad aspect is that the leaders of such communities have mortgaged the future generations of these people by compromising with the multinational oil companies and the government, while they take money and abandon the people in this sorry state.
This scenario is what we are also experiencing between those at the corridors of government and the poor masses, and today billions of naira in various currencies have been confiscated because they could not use such huge sums of money.
Yet, we hear of complaint of insecurity in the land. How can they sleep comfortably in their homes, surrounded by opulence and allow the goose that lay the golden egg, live in thatched houses like the one in the photo on this page.
In the opinion of Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie, there is a clear and present danger because the leaders who cannot provide security for its people are total failures.
“How can they claim to be at the helm of affairs in a country so chaotic? Almost seventy years after the establishment of Nigeria premier university of Ibadan, we still have to rely on medical tourism. How many poor Nigerians can afford to spend one day in a hospital overseas.”
In the words of the cleric, “we have made our country a laughing stock in the comity of nations. Our leaders have made a hobby of dereliction of duty; they are busy fighting themselves that they have no time to work for the country.
He however reminded our leaders that if they are either Christians or Muslims, the two religions teach that we shall one day account for our earthly stewardship and on that day they shall stand before the just judge and account for the way they got into position of authority and how they used the authority.
Eubaldus Enahoro is Assistant Editor with the Nigerian Observer