Records of the Good Book. The corruptible King Uzziah had reigned as a prosperous royalty. For over 50 years, his grips on the kingdom were gruesome. Suddenly, the king was afflicted and inflicted. His inglorious glory slid into an eclipse. He was ostracised as a leper in a hospital. The location became his final abode as a breathing, bragging, and oppressive being. Under a fiery cloud, he breathed his last and died. In the aftermath, the heavens opened over the life of a prophet who had been blinded by the daring demonic cloud. Salves in the prophet’s eyes were removed. A man of God with destiny was clearly and indubitably able to see God.
In less than 48 hours, the whole world will waggle from 2022 AD into 2023 AD. Lots of rumblings and shakings are already beginning to take place in the realm of the spiritual. Destinies will either be built or destroyed. The lives of humans and nations will change from worse to good, and vice versa. Amidst a possible protracted pandemonium, Nigerians will still keep hope alive. Let me remind you what Greek mythology teaches about hope. A woman named Pandora was the first created goddess on earth. On the day Pandora was betrothed, she was given a storage box filled with all manner of evils as a wedding gift. And one by one as she opened the box, all the evils therein flew out freely into the world. As the evils were let out, something stirred up inside of Pandora as she shut her box, leaving one evil trapped in. That evil, according to Greek mythology, was hope.
Many Nigerians hope that the pain that has pestered them will soon subside in intensity. They hope that life gets better, food gets more plenteous, their roads get bigger and smoother, the people’s pockets get fatter with money, days get rosier, and their dreams get fulfilled faster. The only thing Nigerians have and express freely today is hope. Nigerians’ hope for the country’s survival and success is not hinged on any particular political party that’s promising to save the day. They have heard that song rendered on the choir stand of the government many times but to no avail. Nigerians’ hope is not anchored on a politician who wants the gullible, susceptible, and dewy-eyed Nigerians to see him like the messiah who has come to die for the sins of the world.
Ask Nigerians what they base their hopes on. Some hang it on God who is waiting for them to play their part they have refused to play. My people have not much understanding about fighting for a nation’s corporate freedom. Nigerians aren’t fighting forces with money and power that fight them. Many have joined the evil forces. Many are on the waiting list to enlist. They don’t mind picking the crumbs that fall from the master’s table as they hope. What else do Nigerians hang their hopes on? Some hang it on a ‘big-bang’ event that will out of the blue usher in a new government. What is that event? They don’t know. Some aren’t sure what they hang their hope on. They just determinedly believe that Nigeria will change for good someday. Ask them ‘how’? They will not be able to tell you. But like the life of the prophet, until Uzziah died, the anointed eyes of the prophet did not see the Lord. Until many things die, many good things happening for Nigeria will remain a pipedream.
What represents Uzziah in Nigeria? Very many things. Corruption is one. And corruption must die! Corruption as depravity is as old as the country herself. Discussing the nauseating inexpiable absurdity has become so annoyingly supererogatory. The cancerous cells of the menace are in a metastatic rage. How many businessmen and women became billionaires in Nigeria without passing through the baptistry of corruption? How many of them dodge paying taxes, skip levies, duck requisite duties on imports, and offer and take big bribes? The system by default has nurtured and raised chairmen/chief executive officers of cumshaw; commanders-in-chief of Nigeria’s gravy-train; and cockeyed capo dei capi of corruption. It is only in Nigeria that civil servants become billionaires without a track record of where the wind of wealth blew from. A nation so religious and so pious with splatters and bespatters of churches and mosques, and with millions of Nigerians in a daily mad rush to worship as early as 4 am. Yet, the so drenched many are in dubiety and impropriety.
A few years ago, more than 30 agencies of government were discovered not to have remitted N3.8tn of their operating surpluses in the five years prior. The searchlight was beamed on the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency. And, scared out of their wits, and within just nine months in office, the JAMB leadership paid N5bn into federal coffers; and an additional whooping N3bn will soon be shoveled into the treasuries. Every opportunity to serve motherland Nigeria is now an opportunity to steal while serving. Until many things die, many good things happening for Nigeria will remain a pipe dream.
Greed is another Uzziah that must die. Not too long ago security agencies discovered a behemoth stack of foreign currencies in a fireproof bunker. It belonged to one man. A fleet of brand-new exotic vehicles tucked out in the bushes was also dug up. The vehicles belonged to another. Both men were former holders of public offices of trust. Staggering sum of $9,772,800 and another sum of £74,000 was unearthed in a hideout in Kaduna. These two fellas are teeny-weeny tadpoles in a huge pond of greed in Nigeria. The big, bruising, venomous barracudas of greed and tigers of thievery are walking around free. Some of them are holders of public offices today.
Greed remains king of the castle in Nigeria. Heinous acts of greed and corruption are albatrosses that drag down the efforts of any government to improve the lives of citizens. In a nation where over 100 million people are hungry; there is insatiable munching up on fattening calories of greed. The fundamentals of the Nigerian economy are still crippled. No thanks to the greedy and gluttonous who have wreaked hellish havoc. When one human being hauls home about $3bn; and another one $5bn from the nation’s treasury; only the ignoramus will expect the miraculous in an economy with a pillaged purse. I recently heard that when service chiefs serve even for a month; they become automatic billionaires. How? Nigeria is seated at No 10 with almost $2tn illicit outflows from the nation’s treasury. Greed freaks have wrapped Nigeria around their fingers. Recent reports from Transparency International, the Berlin-based non-governmental organisation set to combat global corruption, said that Nigeria is the second most corrupt in Africa. Nigeria, according to the organisation, has experienced a decline in score in the last six years on 0.8 per cent average. Nigeria’s present system works only for greed freaks. It disses and determinedly disappoints the toiling, suffering needy and hopeless in our midst. Until many things die, many good things happening for Nigeria will remain a pipe dream.