I wish to start by acknowledging the thought provoking piece titled Casualty of a Fraudulent Economy written by Sola Enitan and published in THISDAY of 7th September 2004. Anytime I think about Nigeria and Nigerians I always end up with the feelings of pity and amusement. Pity because a large proportion of our populace is engaged in a rat race that will bring nothing but doom to them.
Amusement because despite their gentlemanly outward appearances, the inner being thinks of nothing but fraud and bare-faced stealing just as they profess to be born again christians or muslims.
It is indeed interesting to understudy the life of an average Nigerian, educated or illiterate; the illiterates being better than the former in this business of thieving.
About 80% of Nigerians are either Christians or Muslims. The two faiths Christianity and Islam preach righteousness and thou shall not steal. At every given opportunity and before he embarks on anything, the Nigerian prays. Sometimes one wonders if the prayer is for God’s love and assistance or for protection from God for the consequences of their satanic acts (acts which are anti-God).
There is stealing all over. The following are examples: Petrol Stations - the ‘smart’ attendant sells air to you instead of petrol with the knowledge of the station Manager Eateries - You are served with quarter or half portion and billed for full portion. The excess is shared at the end of the day by the ‘courteous’ waiters and service girls Departmental stores – Over billing Bank - You are either short changed or fake notes are inserted into packets while the cashier smiles home with an equivalent of a month’s salary on a daily basis Mechanic - Damages your car and charge you for materials not purchased while he swears by anything to assure you that he has done a great job. Such shoddy jobs have resulted in accidents killing the victims (who in most cases too got the money from questionable sources). Other artisans/ spare part dealers, conductors e.t.c in the same category as the mechanic. Honesty and truth are not in their dictionary. These set of people have fraudulent acts as an integral part of their training and they cannot
“make it” unless they cheat. So it is a psychological problem.
Government workers- I don’t want to over flog this area. Just try to get even a pin from them not to talk of tax clearance, passport e.t.c. then you will appreciate the level of rot in us.
The teachers are busy in all public institutions of learning collecting levies while students sit on bare floor in overcrowded classrooms perfecting strategies for cheating in examinations. The recent WAEC experience was a national disgrace. The churches and mosques? No one contends for the faith which was once delivered to the saints. The loud noise is about generational curses, prosperity, fruit of the womb, visa to oversea countries, etc. Whether it is the market woman or the artisan, the shop attendant or any of the publics one is unfortunate to relate with, the experience is the same – extortion and bare-faced robbery.
You can indeed imagine the outcome of any developmental effort in a country that is populated by a large proportion of the people described above. Contrary to popular opinion, corruption is not our problem; it is the symptom of a problem. This problem appears to be psychiatric in nature since the behavioral expositions of the type of people painted above can only come from demented minds.
However, a look at the Quran provides a better insight.
In chapter 2 verses 16 – 18. “these are they who have bartered guidance for error: but their traffic is profitless and they have lost true direction. Their similitude is that of a man who kindled a fire; when it lighted all around him, Allah took away their light and left them in utter darkness. So they could not see. Deaf, dumb and blind they will not return to the path” So we continue to wander. The unrighteous will never find peace with God. The Bible says that “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and every good thing shall be added unto you”.1 Corinthians 15:50 - Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 1 Corr 6:10 - Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God
Seeking good things from unrighteous conduct is evil and God will punish evildoers unless they repent. This is why I am suggesting to our religious groups to dedicate most of their time for the rest of the year to that seeking God’s forgiveness just as Adam did when he was sent out of the garden of Eden. It is only when God has forgiven us that we can begin to see a turnaround in our medulla oblongata which right now is filled with ammonia (419,credit card scam, gsm scam, overinvoicing, money laundering, washing of dollar, drugs etc) “ Our Lord, we have wronged our own souls: if You forgive us not and bestow not upon us Your mercy , we shall certainly be lost” (Quran 7:23)
TASLIM ANIBABA (FCA)
7th September, 2004