Friday, 28 September 2012

The ONE who wouldn't take bribe...

This morning I remembered 3 Uncles from way back. Two of them were government officials. Let's call them Uncle A and Uncle B. The other held an enviable position in the bank. Aptly named Uncle C. They are all retired now.

The one I remember the most is Uncle A. From when I could recollect my earliest memories of Lagos, some of my holidays were spent in his 'mansion' in GRA, Ikeja. His official house. He was one of the top bosses in an education board. Imagine coming from the back streets in Edo state to visit a palatial abode in Lagos. He was a respectable man, a man of integrity. He took no bribes nor used 'long leg' to get his children or his relatives jobs or places at University. He was diligently serving his nation and earning a good reputation. Fast forward 23 or so years down the line. Uncle A retired with a truck load of books and now lives in our village. His closest companion is the bottle. The only house he managed to build is somewhere far flung in Okokomaiko or something....whenever he walks past, he is being ridiculed for not using his position to enrich himself or anybody.

Uncle B was dishonourably discharged from his post in government but he was 'smart' enough to acquire choice lands and houses in Abuja area. He can afford to send all his children abroad to study without working. When he is broke, he sells a land and they are home and dry.

Uncle C, judging by his calibre of friends (The wealthiest men in Nigeria), one can safely say he wiped out clean at his time with the bank. His children all school abroad. Houses in the States and he is basically living the life of the rich and famous.

The present situation....
Mr Lamidi beats the traffic light because there is no traffic warden in sight. Mr Okon gets priority treatment for headache at National hospital because his old buddy is the chief medical the expense of Miss Rita who needs chemo urgently. Contracts are over-inflated because you have to 'settle' those in power. Mr Kelechi sells fake drugs to make ends meet.  Ms Adesuwa cajoles young girls for a better future abroad then sends them to Italy for prostitution.  Bribing the police because your vehicle papers are not in order. The egusi seller alters her measuring cup to get the most out of your money. You see young men and woman who want to drive Porsches at 25 and live in Mansions with minimal work. All they need is 'one contract'. The average Nigerian is quick to bash the government. Fair enough. They have done nothing exemplary in 52 years besides wiping our coffers clean but in hindsight I believe corruption can only be eradicated from our society if we start from ourselves.
Sitting behind a computer and bashing the government on facebook or twitter will not lead to a better Nigeria. Nigeria as a country is closely associated with corruption and more recently, terrorism.  It's the entire system that is cankerous. The government is just a minute part of that.

Nigeria turns 52 on Monday. If you are a Nigerian, what are you doing to make your community a better place? We can start by building on our integrity and everything else will follow. Like Uncle A...



Ema Leecious said...

Very interesting write-up...and familiar too.

Even though it seems that there is no reward for the "good man" we need to know that our country can only be restored if we all do the right things at the right time.

Myne Whitman said...

I soo agree with this piece. A lot of us rail at the govt or those in authority, but in our personal dealings, we're actually no better.

'Lara said...

Our self appointed and association fo voltrons nominated social activist, sit down and abuse the governement everyday on twitter...yet they are no better than the govt which they attack.

Nigeria will not become good by itself, it is still us the people that will make the country better.

Ginger said...

Your Uncle's stories reads like a tail of two cities. We Nigerians now make honesty look like a shameful thing.

mstizzle said...

The fear of being poor IN NIGERIA keeps people from being honest. Do you think uncle A would do things differently if he had a second chance? Just asking.

SHE said...

Spot on!

If everyone did their little part, and lived by the golden rule, we would be shocked at the transformation.
But how can that happen when greed and evil reign supreme in the hearts of so many people?

Mamuje said...

Mstizzle- I have no idea about Uncle A but the truth is he is a man of integrity. I am afraid of being poor but I am not afraid to do the right least not anymore.

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Daughter of Her King said...

Well said... I couldn't have agreed more.