–Ajoke Erogbogbo Gbeleyi, Founder, Focused Girls Moral Regeneration Support Initiative.
How can a country with the majority of the people believing and worshipping God (through Christianity, Islam or traditional religions) be enmeshed in socio-economic malady without redemption?
How can that country — with two hundred and fifty dynamic ethnic groups and everything needed to succeed — be classified as the poorest nation in the world? A country with a large territory, different climatic conditions and vegetations, easily mobilised population and trained manpower, abundant oil resources and easy access to technology.
Why should some few elites live like kings with their families and friends and prevent millions of citizens from living well — due to unnecessary bottlenecks, inadequacies in infrastructural development, stringent policies and unimplemented plans?
How can we keep quiet while corruption is becoming institutionalised despite the fight against it? How can we allow this hydra-headed monster to continue to ravage the social strata of our nation thereby putting peace-loving Nigerians in jeopardy?
One can almost conclude that the maladies and inability to get things right in most sectors of the economy stem from our collective unrighteousness as a nation. Most of us pay allegiance to God’s enemies – the love of money (the root of all evil) and love of the flesh (inimical to our progress). We neglect the consequences of these evils. Who is now suffering the repercussion most? The younger generation!
Many evil happenings have occurred in our nation in recent times and yet our leaders seem unperturbed. Or how do you explain the ungodly quest for power, titles and personal wealth — at the expense of the people — in a country where leaders are supposed to come together to find lasting solutions to the myriad of man-made problems confronting it?
How do we explain the undignified cross-carpeting by politicians? Imagine an individual betraying his political mentor, joining the opposition party while still serving as Deputy Governor until he got impeached, got his impeachment invalidated a few years after, and still got an appointment as a board chairman in Abuja and Chairman, Board of Trustees, in the state he served as Deputy Governor.
It is in this same country that a brilliant female minister (of the same political party as the Deputy Governor) was forced to resign on account of the NYSC exemption certificate, which she had duly taken care of.
While the female minister suffered humiliation and undeserved trauma, the Deputy Governor that got his impeachment invalidated went about his way without remorse. He forgot about his misdemeanors and further hurt his wife with his sexual escapades. Only God knows how many women he has hurt to date? And that is another prevalent evil: The oath taken at church weddings is mere lip service among the majority in our beloved country, Nigeria. Whether we like it or not, there are consequences for such, because all things are governed by eternal principles.
Many of our men are worse than the example of the former Deputy Governor. Some women also leave much to be desired based on the acquisition of material wealth without minding their sensitive and divinely ordained roles in society.
We cannot continue to tread the path of condemnable sins (with its attendant toll on humanity, particularly on our innocent young ones) and expect a just society. Sin is a reproach. Our sins in this country are numerous; and they stink to high heavens. We appear as the most religious, yet we are the most sinful. Guess what, the law of karma can not be suspended because of our religiosity.
Yours truly was a victim of man’s inhumanity against man, by a recalcitrant and unfaithful hub for 35 years, a poor Youth corper lover turned MD/ Deputy Governor in the South West and unfortunately blood relations too, despite my good deeds and kind disposition towards them when it mattered most.
Such is life, and my advice to the younger ones is to always be on guard. However, my being a victim did not change my positive attitude towards all. In all modesty, it was a life of indelible footprints on the sands of time and lasting legacies throughout my 35 years of civil-service career, from being a classroom teacher in three secondary schools for six (6) years in Lagos State, Nigeria, to being an Administrator in Educational Agencies which culminated into being the Director Schools Administration at the Education District VI and Head of Department, LSMOE Private Education and Special Programme Department (for reforms on deployment) without lobbying. That my last position and working experience as a civil servant was indeed two years of selfless service before my retirement in February 2018.
The political boss who redeployed me to that position wanted me to initiate reforms against corruption and get an appreciable number of schools approved based on high demand. This I did with a great team comprising six other directors and the dynamic staff of the Department of Private Education.
We put up our best performance and we were able to achieve our objectives using mapped-out strategies. By God’s grace, we exceeded the Honourable Commissioner for Education’s expectation on approval of schools and other responsibilities. There was no reward for not embezzling funds which was like a culture before the Central Billing System on Revenue was introduced, neither was there a reward for the zero-tolerance on tips from private schools in line with our Hon. Commissioner’s stand against corruption. Trust Nigerians, we were later made jest of for going by the Hon. Commissioner’s stand against corruption. But we remained unperturbed as agents of change, though I would say our due reward that was denied was not good enough for the system as it could further encourage corrupt practices. Nonetheless, nobody can take our dignity and the immense joy we experienced from the unprecedented achievements which was applauded by many stakeholders.
We acted out the true meaning of leadership and with our achievements within a period of two years, one can boldly posit that leadership is not rocket science. Where there is a will, there is a way, as it is often said
It is time for all of us, the good, the bad and the ugly, to come together and rebuild this endowed nation.
Human beings who will eventually be overcome by death should be mindful of their ways on Planet Earth. We need not get carried away by exalted positions. I lost a vey good friend, Desola Kehinde Odedairo, a lady without any blemish in character, a friend who could not hurt a fly while I was away on NYSC in Ilorin in 1981. I got back in 1982 to also meet people mourning my uncle, Mr. Abdul Rasheed Erogbogbo, who had already discussed how to get me a land to own a school before I left for N.Y. S. C. Of course, I wouldn’t have gone ahead because of my age and lack of experience.
My life changed because of those untimely deaths and I easily gave up thereafter when opportunities for acquisition of wealth and plots of land discovered by my humble self was denied. My most popular slogan about life since then was ‘What is the big deal?’ So many wonderful people including loved ones died during the last pandemic and yet it is still business as usual in Nigeria? Who are we? What is our pride? Many questions are begging for answers. Why are so many youths disillusioned taking to drugs, an act which before now was uncommon and limited to a few misfits in society?
Our teeming younger ones, the present and future generations deserve better conditions of living. Better still, they need direction on a path of rectitude and progress. We cannot afford to fail them nor fail ourselves and our hero’s past
Nigeria can still be salvaged through our collective power. Let the present Nigerian leaders correct the anomalies once and for all. We can get committees of experienced technocrats to work with ministries, parastatals and society at large for the desired results.
Nigeria must arise and shine. Let us save the soul of our beloved country in the interest of our young ones, who are brilliant, bold and ever willing to learn. They are strong enough to rebuild Nigeria if they are well guided and supported. Let us correct the ills of our society through sanctions without sacred cows and learn to do things right at all times, starting from this pre-election year 2022. Enough of egoistic and selfish tendencies by our leaders, but let’s put humanity first. Let’s repent and be guided by this slogan, ‘Great Nation! Character is key!’