Economy and Development

Conversation with my father:You chop, I chop.

Some people may find having a frank talk about life with their fathers difficult. Some may find it easy and it depends mostly on the father. I want to tell you about my father and why I find it difficult to talk to him about politics.

Many years ago I sat with the old man chatting about life and about nothing in particular. Unfortunately, the conversation moved to the subject of corruption.

Me: ‘’Babangida is the worst President we ever had in Nigeria’’.
Dad: ‘’No, Babangida is the best President Nigeria has ever had’’.
Me: ‘’Dad, Babangida institutionalised corruption in Nigeria. He made it fashionable to steal public funds’’.
Dad: ‘’Ha, he did not. He was perfect, as he did not ‘’eat’’ the money alone! With him, it was ‘’you chop, I chop’’.

On another occasion, we digressed into talking about his participation in grassroots politics. My father at almost 90 years of age, still travel miles for ward meetings and holds court with hoards of politicians seeking his grace. Naturally, I would be happier for him to allow younger folk to take over such roles, so he can enjoy the rest of his life without the hustling.

Dad: ‘’I want to be employed as a Minister for just one day. One day will be enough to make it’’
Me: ‘’What do you mean’’?
Dad: ‘’I would need just one day to steal as much as I can’’

I had to stop and look at my father with a perplexed ugliness on my face. I could not understand that he uttered those words and seemingly condoned corruption: so long as it went round everyone. It shattered the image of my father as an epitome of integrity and religiosity. My father is a ‘’good Muslim’’ and highly placed in faith, so this was kind of shocking to say the least.

No, it was cataclysmic and I stopped discussing politics or ‘’politricks’’ with him from that day.

Corruption in high places
The level of corruption and stealing of public funds has reached the stratosphere in Nigeria. From the time of IBB, successive governments led by Abacha, Abdusalami, Obasanjo, Jonathan and now Buhari have surpassed the previous governments in scale and wantonness.

Our daily life and politics has now been bedevilled by corruption in every aspect and at all levels. The fight to get into position to rape the nation goes on in all nooks and crannies. Politics is now a do or die affair and people maim/kill to become an elected official.

All our institutions including the armed forces, the legislature, the judiciary, the executive and even the watchdogs are now infected with this disease. Too many people who are in public offices see politics as a meal ticket.

Nigeria is a country where year after year, the national budget is filled with ridiculous things like the purchase of cars, house painting and buying newspapers of which the costs are usually more than budgeted for education and health. All you hear these days is the billions of Naira that have been swallowed up by one snake or the other. Money, critical documents and computers are set on fire in one establishment or the other. Soon after, all goes quiet and the profligacy continues unabated.

Fast-forward year 2020
Covid-19 has exposed a glaringly obvious situation. Nigeria is a very poor country whose resources are mismanaged by a small group of people. Nigeria is a support system for the old people in the political class. They have not prepared for retirement so continue to pillage the inheritance of the children.

Greed and consumption, not creation, is now embedded in the national psyche. Even during this Covid-19 pandemic, some are busy scheming, passing dodgy legislation and stealing the money donated for hunger palliation!

Meanwhile, countries with financial reserves are spending their nest eggs to re-float the economy, give palliatives to their citizens and help failing businesses. India has earmarked $266B recovery stimulus. Japan set out $1T to help companies, especially small businesses to remain afloat. Spain and Italy will be spending over E800B (Euros) to support businesses in their areas. Germany will be supporting Lufthansa airlines and France will help prop up Air France-KLM.

Conversely, Nigeria is borrowing huge sums of money! Further, there are queues forming already to share the money which will eventually be used to service the politicians and geriatrics. These people continue to rape generations unborn that will end up, as slaves to the Chinese in a few decades. Our fathers and mothers in government are rapists, thieves and rustlers.

Have a conversation
Politics controls the economy but the economy supports politics. Wealth cannot be created in a vacuum. Wealth cannot be created in a place where rule of law does not exist. Wealth cannot be created where there is insecurity. Wealth cannot be created by old people, morons and those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

In the post Covid-19 era, we must have a different conversation and a national re-orientation. We cannot continue down the path of destruction led by men so close to the grave they care less. Many are schizophrenics with double sides, two faces and dark souls. We cannot continue to have these people in government who portend evil for Nigeria.

Please have a conversation with your dad. Find out where his head is and try to find his heart.

Featured Image courtesy of Remi Desalu

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