Thursday, 30 March 2023

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Why A People of Honour Must Arise to Save Nigeria

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The trouble with Nigeria is not leadership, it is not even corruption: it is the deficiency of honour, credibility and truth.

In summary, it is the absence of a People of Honour.

    If this nation, this long-suffering, much-abused nation, dying on her legs must survive, a people must emerge soon. If Nigeria will overcome her present challenges and recover from the wounds that have been generously inflicted on her in the last three decades there is now an urgent need for a distinct group of people to arise.

  Nigeria is blessed with people. various people -  people of talent, people of Faith. Yes, professionals, scholars, businessmen, artists, singers etc. But there is a group of people Nigeria still lacks and has lacked from the very beginning. There is a people Nigeria badly needs; and which she mostly lacks.

  Who are these people?  A people within a people!

 For lack of a better word, I call them the  PEOPLE OF HONOUR.

   That is what Nigeria lacks and sorely needs.

 That is why Nigeria today is in deep straits, gasping for life. That is why Nigeria dies and is dying. All the signs of decay and the omens that usually precede national death and collapse are now present in Nigeria. [ See my essay HOW NATIONS DIE ]

   I want to show you a mystery that has evaded scholars and even wise men.

 

 

THE REAL TROUBLE WITH NIGERIA

Let me ask the most important question now facing us: What is the trouble with Nigeria, the real trouble with Nigeria?

   Several answers have been given and they all make sense.

Chinua Achebe sincerely believes that leadership is what is troubling Nigeria. And I have heard many scholars and politicians and commentators and religious leaders express the same view.

  And they are right to some degree. Nigeria's problems began with leadership. Leadership is one of the problems and major trouble facing Nigeria. However, Leadership is a symptom not the cause of the trouble.

  Some have said it is corruption and to be sure corruption is a big problem in Nigeria. As we speak billions of naira worth of crude oil are being stolen daily under a government that promises to fight corruption. But corruption is not the problem in Nigeria.

  Others have mentioned our pluralism,  constitution, resource allocation etc. These are indeed problems and issues that need to be addressed but these are not the main problem.

  All that have been mentioned here - leadership, corruption, tribalism, Constitution etc are not the trouble with Nigeria. They are the effects of the trouble, the symptoms and manifestations thrown up by the trouble. They are not the real trouble with Nigeria.

  What then is the real trouble with Nigeria? Absence of Honour. The lack of Honour Code among people, tribes, citizens, leadership etc.

That is the real trouble, every other thing is a mere symptom. The real disease afflicting Nigeria is that this nation lacks a People of Honour, it does not even know what Honour is. Every other ailment -  bad leadership, corruption, tribalism etc are the bitter fruits of this singular evil tree. They are merely the effects, not the trouble; they are symptoms, not the disease.

Let me now show you clearly by specific illustration how this work.

Pay attention!

Let us take a look at corruption first, which many people even scholars have called the problem of Nigeria.

 

Why do people steal, take bribes, and give gratification? Why do elites, civil servants, government officials and politicians steal? Certainly, it is not due to poverty. A man who could afford five million nairas to buy a form to contest an election is not poor.

  A Director General of a Parastatal or Corporation or Ministry cannot be said to be poor.

 So if it is not due to hunger and demon possession why again do people steal what they don't even need?

  There is only one answer:- They lack honour.

  When a civil servant or public official comes into office he takes a certain oath, and signs certain documents as to the Civil Service Rules and Regulations which he/she is mandated to keep. Part of this Rule is that he must not tamper with public property. Yet after signing this form and taking this oath they still go on to steal and loot.

  Why?

  Because there is no honour. Honour is what prevents you from doing contrary to what you have agreed on oath not to do.

  Look at it again.

To steal public money is not easy. At least three or four categories of officials must collude together. There must be at least someone from the ministry whose money they want to steal, someone from the ministry of finance and someone from the Central Bank to release the money and someone from the banks to facilitate the transaction. It is not easy. Only one honest man in either of those places is enough to put a stop or block it.

  Yet it is easy in Nigeria because there is no such honest man, no such honourable person to say, No to corruption.

  So corruption is not the problem, the real problem is that Nigerians have no Honour, both leaders and the led. Corruption is merely the effect of that lack of Honour.

  Do you get it?

Take leadership, for example, another ailment that most people have said is our problem. It is not! It is the effect of our lack of Honour that help these people to get into leadership positions because a group of people get the kind of leadership it deserves and what do people lacking in honour deserve? A leader that is bereft of Honour.

  That is why we are here.

 

Stop and reflect on the people who have ruled us:

Balewa, Ironsi, Gowon, Murtala, Obasanjo, Shagari, Buhari, Babangida, Abacha, Abubakar,  Yar'Adua, Jonathan

These are the men who have piloted our affairs for 62 years.

  I ask you one question: if this nation were a land of merit and honour how many of these men would have emerged?

Balewa knew of the plot to take the West by undemocratic means and he did nothing to stop it.= because of politics. That is contrary to the oath which he swore to protect all of Nigeria, that is dishonourable.

  Ironsi did not last but it is sufficient that even his soldiers had no confidence in his integrity and he got the office of Chief of Staff through political intrigues and tribalism.

  I will spare Gowon because he was too young as a leader and most of his decisions were made by career civil servants.

  I will also spare Murtala because he did not stay long enough to be judged.

  Now all the remaining rulers can be grouped under one umbrella: corrupt, inept, dishonourable. Not a single one of them would pass the Honour Test.

  Babangida annulled an election that the whole world knew was free and fair and then attempt to conduct another election. That is dishonourable.

  He chose to give witness to a lie so that he can save his life. Why then are you a soldier and a general?

  Do you see what I mean? -  Honour.

  Obasanjo worked to foist a third term on us contrary to the provisions of the  Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by bribing legislators and party men. It is a fact. In other words, he was trying to subvert the Constitution of Nigeria.

   Why?

 Because there is no Honour. An honourable man will consign himself to the two terms that the Law allows and which he swore an oath to keep.

  Then when the game failed he began a vengeance mission, selling government properties to his cronies on the eve of his departure as a punishment to a people who denied him the benefit to be a Mugabe in Nigeria.

  These are the men who have ruled Nigeria - men who do not even know the meaning of Honour.

  Need I talk of Abacha - the national bungler and archetypal waster whose loot we are still recovering up till today?

  Umaru Yar' Adua declared an asset of N77m as Governor and four years later the asset has burgeoned to N770m - all in space of a few years. Even Balarabe Musa wasn't impressed.

Goodluck Jonathan was corrupt even as Governor of Bayelsa. His wife was accused by Ribadu- led EFCC of money laundering and should have been tried. That is not an allegation, it is a fact which is documented in Senate proceedings.

 What about Abdulsalami Abubakar who in one solitary year at the saddle, depleted the external reserves of Nigeria? It is documented. Read Kolade Panel Report.

 And what of our present nemesis, Muhammadu Buhari? The one who we are repeatedly told is a "man of integrity" yet surrounded by thieves. You need to be careful of a "man of integrity" who is comfortable dwelling among thieves. Do you know how much was looted or stolen at PTF under Buhari according to Haroun Adamu Panel? The records are available, it is documented. Corruption does not matter to the "man of integrity" except when you belong to the Opposition or other tribes and religions.  Once you cross over, your sins are forgiven and forgotten or when you are a kinsman. Prof. Yusuf of NHIS who was suspended for misappropriating N100m was reinstated by Buhari and now nothing is heard of the case. He is a Fulani man! There are many others like that under this dishonourable regime.

 Stella Oduah's case with EFCC has been suspended because she has crossed over to them. Both Adamu and Omisore who were once accused of misappropriation or stealing billions are now piloting the party of Next Level while Mr Integrity sits comfortably inside the Rock picking his teeth.

This then is my thesis: Nigeria does not have a leadership problem, we have an Honour problem. Our real problem is the absence of HONOUR. We are not a people of Honour and that is why we have a leadership that is bereft of Honour.

That these men and women are the ones ruling us and representing us is enough proof that our problem is a lack of honour.

  If we all imbibe a culture of honour as in those days in our native tribes no dishonourable man will even show his face. We must bring back Honour to public service, to government, to religions, and to service.

  Until this is done nothing will change. You can have Yoruba Nation, Arewa Nation, Biafra and I guarantee you that without an Honour Code and an elite class imbued with honour you will be miniature Nigeria soon. Ethnic nationality is not the answer, it is escapism.

Breaking Nigeria is not the answer. That is fighting the symptoms rather than the disease.

I heard people who do not know History saying Revolution will happen in Nigeria. It won't happen. For a revolution to happen in a place there must be people who believe in honour. Hunger and suffering are not enough to birth a revolution. You must also have honourable men and women who are ready to guide the people through it - men and women who have ideology and honour and are not part of the decay. In the 17th century British revolution you had the Puritans, the French Revolution had the Jacobins, in the Russian Revolution you had the Bolsheviks, and in the American Revolution, you had the Patriots...

These were men and women of honour ready to die for the Cause.

I ask you where are such people in Nigeria today? Where are Nigeria's People of Honour today? Tell me of a single profession or association today that has not been soiled.

Is it NBA that cannot conduct a free and fair election? Or the Union of journalists that could not account for the donation given to it? Or an Association of Writers whose landed property keeps depleting year by year without the account getting bigger?

  I look at every sector and section of Nigeria today I cannot find a single place where Honour resides. That, my brother, is the root of our trouble.

  The solution must begin from there. When there is an emergence of people of honour in a nation, even if you have bad leaders; he would have difficulty getting his way because no one will cooperate with him. That is the lesson from Watergate Scandal. When a nation has people of honour a bad leader will eventually be disgraced as Richard Nixon was put out of power.

Today civil servants who complain of low pay engage in corruption. Some don't even go to work most of the time. Honour requires that you work for the pay that you earn. Or quit.

Nigerians either have no honour, or we have lost it. Nigerians can do anything for money or office. Anything. Including ritual, being fetish, human sacrifices, maraboutism, etc

  Have you ever seen anyone resigning from the government due to allegations of corruption even when true? Never.]!

There are only one or two men who have resigned from the government on principle. In the entire history of Nigeria. And they didn't resign because of corruption but because of principle, and honour. Surprisingly the two are from the same subethnic group.

  Obafemi Awolowo resigned from Yakubu Gowon's government when he reneged on his handover date shifting the goal post. He believes that was wrong because a leader's word ought to be his bond.

  The second is Olu Onagoruwa, Attorney General, the only person to ever resigned from that office. This man is deserving of the greatest honour and commendation.

How?

Abacha released several decrees, very draconian decrees. But Onagoruwa wasn't aware of them. They took it behind him because they knew he would never support it. And when he saw them what did he do?

  This man of honour called a World Press Conference to declare publicly that his office was not behind the decrees and he knew nothing about them and they did not originate from him. He gave Abacha his resignation letter.

  That is what is called Honour. That is what saves a nation.

  If all Nigerians were like this man we won't be here. Muhammadu Buhari won't be ruling us. Jonathan wouldn't have been our leader under which we lost thirty trillion, and we have lost much more under this current disreputable regime.

 How many Nigerians have this heart? Instead, five parties agreed to field Abacha as the sole candidates of their respective parties. Nigerians, where is your honour?

Do you see what I am saying?

  That is the trouble. Until you fix that, a thousand Constitutional Conferences and Seminars won't help. Now it is reported that some terrorists have been found with arms belonging to our own security agencies. The auditor raised alarm the other day that arms have disappeared from our armoury.

  Things like this will happen in a land where people worship money and office and care nothing about honour.

 What then is to be done?

There must be a people of honour. Nigerians must be people of honour! A people who value and reward honesty, righteousness, truth, fidelity, courage...

 

   A PEOPLE OF HONOUR

As my own little contribution to this quest for National Reformation and Reconstruction, I am today forming a Group, an Association, a Citizens' Vanguard or Movement which shall be called PEOPLE OF HONOUR.

    If you are of this frame of mind if you believe in Nigeria and you believe in saving this nation if you want to be part of this quest and you have honour and are ready to imbibe this culture, join me. This Movement is open to all Nigerians of whatever persuasion or religion or tribe.

 

 

 

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