By Yinka Olaito
Recently President Buhari was quoted as saying the systemic destruction of Nigeria from the past till now should not be placed on its leadership only. Indirectly, what the President was saying was that each and everyone of us must take responsibility for where we find ourselves today. I have come to the conclusion there is an element of truth in this. We may argue with the president on several areas but in this I guess he is right.
If one lives in a metropolitan city like Lagos and is not very lucky to own a car, the challenges are innumerable. Average public buses’ fares are unpredictable. Whenever there is heavy traffic due to damage on the road, rainfall or other road mishap, the fares may jump by hundred percent. Law of demands and supply sets in without prior notice. God helps any commutter without extra money in his pocket. This increase in fare may invariably increase prices of foodstuff from the local vendors from whom many on the poverty line buy.
The little budget for chalks and other stationery in a local public school is often ‘taken care of’ by the headteacher. Snake has capacity to swallow millions of Naira here. What do we have in our private schools? Education is no longer in the non profit clarification. Anyone with one bungalow or a duplex can start nursery, playgroup, pre- school, primary and secondary without any hindrance.
The annoying part, school fees are charged based on the needs of the proprietor. Several fees including development fees are charged without and regulations or monitoring from appropriate government agencies. The parent on the other hand will rather pretend ‘to belong’ instead of speaking out against heavy burden they go through every semester. Some of the parents who act ‘clever’ change their wards’ schools frequently after owing one or two terms’ fees in some of these schools. This is common at basic anat post basic levels.
Our national brand’s image, economy soars or goes down from our points of entries and contacts. What do we have there? some of our officials in these places do more damage than help.
What about our cherished traditional and religious values? Our ambassadors and leaders in these units have destroyed every iota of values of good names, integrity we all believed in. Traditional titles are thrown at anyone with the means without a searchlight on their character.
Many of our religious houses do not check sources of heavy contributions being made by some of its members. Members are encouraged to ‘give irrespective.
Truth be told, Nigerian leaders have done a lot of damage to Nigeria(ians). Many of our leaders are greedy lots without any vision for sustainable change or growth.
But the citizens have neither been up and doing with strong desire to create the change they desire and not just talk about. No leader will be able to sustain the level of impunity for long if h/she knows the system will dispose them like an unwanted item.
It is never too late to speak out; it is never too late to light the candle in our own corner. It is never too late to confront the corrupt elements amongst us. It is not too late to demand for quality service paid for without ‘greasing the palms of the officials. Inch by inch, the journey of a million miles will be covered in no distance time.
About the author: Yinka Olaito writes from Lagos.