In every democratic society, lawmakers are the most powerful among the three branches of govt: executive, judiciary, and legislature. They craft the laws of the land, so if the laws are really effective, then, they must get a round of applause. These are honorable men and women with their people's mandate. Furthermore, they're supposedly with sound knowledge of their environment, honesty, integrity, and loyal to those who elected them. What we don't know is if these guys genuinely obtain the people's mandate or they stole it. Worst still, is if they really possess the knowledge, and if they actually have the nation at heart in their deliberations. One thing is certain; you cannot give what you don't have. Therefore, it should not surprise anyone that the law makers are unable to carry out their responsibilities due to lack of knowledge.
This lack of knowledge can be buttressed by the fact that, when a person steals money, it's an income to him, and the other side of the account ledger is the expense. Thus, when you buy the most expensive gift for a celebrant, or you spray money, they are both expenses. Remember that the money sprayed does not remain in cash; rather, it's converted to other assets immediately after the ceremony. Being affluent as a mark of show-off does not arise because there are many ceremonies when the master of ceremony used the microphone to make everybody aware that chief XYZ gave the celebrant(s) a car. Certainly this chief would have commanded the so called "respect" more than those who sprayed cash. It's okay to buy any kind of gift, no matter how small, but "desist from acts that cost the government huge financial burden", says CBN. This is what the law makers vehemently rejected.
Snatching that position Prof. Charles Soludo now occupies must have modus operandi. As such, there was a kind of anecdote between him (Prof. Soludo) and those that endorsed his governorship. It's also possible that Soludo enjoyed executive fiat from Aso Rock which may have been rubber stamped by the lawmakers. Be that as it may, one thing is common at the onset between the employer, in this case, the lawmakers, and Soludo being the employee. The letter addressed to the employee reads in part, "we hope you will justify that confidence reposed in you." In a bid to rejuvenate the nation's cash economy, Soludo, ferreted ideas from home and abroad to reduce the enormous cost of printing currency. After so much effort from the Governor and his team to craft that policy, the lawmakers refused to listen to the reasons adduced. "Senators reject bill to ban spraying of naira." says Sam Akpe, a reporter with "The Punch" newspaper.
Unfortunately for Nigeria, she has lawmakers that are insensitive to changes and bluntly refused to engage their God's given common sense to think positively towards national issues. For all they care, they just want to squander the nation's meager resources they took oath to protect. So many cultures out there have undergone scientific surgery over time. An example is, the Urhobo circumcisions of females years back, which has been outdated today.
The Senators argued that the proposed law to ban spraying of naira contradicted Nigerian culture. In reality, the opinions expressed in this regard are so profoundly misconceived that, it's a clear reflection of mediocrity and mental laziness. When you talk about people's culture, their food is relevant. "Banga" soup is a delicacy and this is made from palm produce that ought to be grown in every nook and corner of southern Nigeria. Today the palm produce is not to the reach of her common citizens, yet, we are talking about culture. Yes, a culture that made it possible for the Malaysians to have come to Nigeria to get palm-nuts to plant, and today, they're world known producer of palm produce whereas our common people are starving of the dish made from palm produce. Rather it's our culture to use 1000 naira to buy 800 naira new notes from people that hawk them at motor parks and other strategic public places. Let the lawmakers tell Nigerians of anywhere on this planet earth where such business goes on. Or is it the uniqueness that makes it a culture to Nigerians?
It was the same period Brazil and Nigeria started the making of military hardware, but today we're out of sight progressively. The same story goes for the fertilizer industry. Again, it's not our culture to be innovative, and be able to manufacture note printing machine to print the notes the Senators want to deliberately mutilate day-in, day out. Worst still, we're unable to develop a maintenance culture, to even maintain the nation's currency printing machines. Of course, MINT, (currency printing company) died years back and we've been printing our notes abroad from the sales of oil. Sure, this is the kind of culture the lawmakers have designed for Nigeria.
The reality is that Nigeria does not have lawmakers with a vision; hence after decades of Independence, the country is still creeping. We're certainly not sure at this rate if she would ever stand and walk, not to talk of being able to run. To fly like the Eagle bird is out of the way. Truly, it wouldn't happen. Let's digress a bit. The writing of this article was abandoned half way for church service. Coincidentally, the leadership of Dominion International Center, Houston, during his usual Sunday preaching mentioned, "people without vision perish." Honestly that statement pierced my heart because just before then, the word "vision" surrounded my thoughts on Nigeria. Surely, the Lord's goodness and mercy will introduce people with vision to lead Nigeria. Anyway, don't be surprise to hear next week from the lawmakers that corruption is our culture. They will say it without remorse as if Nigeria is as young as 1985 when the Fed. Govt. under Gen. Babangida legalized corruption. After all, without shame, they (Senators) recently told Nigerians, that they have used their wisdom to approve pension for the military leaders that destroyed Nigeria in all ramifications. Six years down the road, the law makers did not deem it fit to craft and implement laws to check incessant stealing of public funds. At least the present OBJ administration has introduced measures to fight corruption, so it's up to the rest of Nigerians to improve on it in a manner that would better our society. For the first time a State Executive was arrested and detained in London for stealing. In another development, some of the law makers had all the evidence to commence impeachment proceedings against a State executive for stealing; they (law makers) refused because each and every one of them is part of the aggrandizement. You can tie any culture either to the East, West, North, or Midwest. Where can this bastardly culture of spraying money be tied to? Or, is this the only culture that is "national?"
Perhaps, the Senators could have viewed this issue from OBJ's perspective because they don't like his person. Again, they're wrong because this issue has nothing to do with OBJ, but has so much to do with the nation's economy. Therefore if "common sense" should ever prevail, nothing stops the Senators from whole-heartedly embracing the bill. From human right perspective, instances abound in developed countries where the lawmakers, when necessary encroached on people's right. America is a democratic model to Nigeria, but polygamy was stopped in spite of all her values for liberty. You can legislate and control oppressive culture or emotions when considered appropriate. After all, if women can not morally practice polyandry, why should the men have the impetus and audacity to practice polygamy?
In fairness, would you blame the lawmakers for their actions? No, you cannot. The blame goes to the electorate who allowed them to be there. They (Senators) wouldn't craft polices to enable us move forward, but they're prepared to pave the way to steal and be affluent in society by spraying their girlfriends and concubines at parties. If these lawmakers are really tax payers, it would have been a concern to them on how their taxes are used. Since the currencies are printed with oil money, it's not the concern of these guys who are supposed to protect the assets of the country from waste. Indeed, it's our culture to breed white-collar thieves. Our culture made especially the top brass including Senators to evade taxes and therefore, how the money is spent is irrelevant to them. When you hear the Senators summon Ministers to defend payment of the nation's debt, you think that, these are people with knowledge of financial management. What you don't know is, these are people that cannot differentiate debit from credit, not to talk of records of International debt and interest accrual. Infact, they're the same with the average Nigeria Police that will examine your vehicle papers upside down at a check-point. Unfortunately, the people with knowledge and vision are never voted for; hence, we're where we are right now. Rather we have touts as "honorable" men and Senators, chairmen of board of trustees, govt. agencies, etc.
Not until Nigerians wake-up to their civic responsibilities as it pertains to casting their votes for people with impeccable characters, God may not turn his face to the direction of their development.
June 18, 2006.