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By Chike B. Emenike
Through their wrong perception and hence the mis-application of sovereign power for what is base over the last 54 years, the greedy ruling class in Nigeria has lost the balance in every sphere of our national life. This largely ignorant and thoughtless segment of the Nigerian society has continually taken and taken from the rich gifts of God to our land, and from what they have taken, they have formed almost exclusively what is wrong and evil, and in so doing, has forgotten the natural and necessary balancing factor of giving back to the nation.
All religions in Nigeria harp on the theme of giving as an obligation for all believers, but as with everything else in our modern life, the concept of giving, which is a virtue, has been bastardised and reduced to something associated only with giving alms to the beggar in the street. Some Christian doctrines admonish their faithful with the slogan “givers never lack”, referring to the importance of giving to the needy. But this injunction was more often marginally understood to only mean that those of them who give to the church would never lack that which they so erroneously give out.
The result is that the average Christian makes effort to give to the church and to the beggar, but without any regard to the more important necessity to give back to the society at large through their work and position.
Consequently some of those who misappropriate public funds or the tribe of public servants that loot the commonwealth, are known to dutifully “give” to their churches out of what they have stolen from society. But such self-serving “giving” is not what the Law of Balance intended. Everyone who benefits from the nation, especially those who occupy leading positions in public and private office, is obligated to give back to the society ONLY through acts of probity and accountability while in office; whosoever finds himself in any position of authority, in every aspect of public or private life, ought to do likewise.
This is the big difference between the comparatively “mindful takers” in the Western nations today and their mindless counterparts here in Nigeria and, indeed, much of Africa.
In most Western nations the rich and wealthy who run or influence the running of the economy, support the creation of equitable, workable and transparent wealth re-distribution avenues through which, in the least, particles of the commonwealth are allowed to trickle down to the masses. In this way extreme poverty is alleviated and a level of social security is achieved. Part of the measures are also seen in the deliberate effort to create jobs through home-based economic and industrial manufacturing activities and mass housing stock delivery; to provide critical infrastructure, essential utilities and other imperative social safety nets designed to enable the masses enjoy a measure of quality life, even in the midst of the opulence of the affluent class.
But in Nigeria the reverse is clearly the case. The minority rich and affluent class greedily blocks all avenues through which wealth re-distribution, even at the minutest scale, can be successfully achieved. For instance, they would scheme and manipulate the system to defeat policies aimed at achieving, say, mass housing delivery, youth empowerment through job creation, etc. Consequently you find it is often the case that mass housing projects ear-marked for the low-income groups end up in the hands of the already well-housed elite groups; most job opportunities declared open to the unemployed youth are also often hijacked and secured for their relatives and friends of the well-to-do; bank credit to farmers, entrepreneurs and small-scale businesses are equally intercepted and abused by the same elite class.
As a result of the greed of the elite class in the housing sector, for example, we now find thousands of un-occupied houses and apartments lying fallow in public and private housing estates across the nation.
The reason is all too obvious. In the beginning a mass housing effort would be initiated by the government, with the laudable aim to address the massive national housing deficit. But along the line the completed project is hijacked by the rich and mighty who, often in collaboration with public servants, acquire the properties and then place them for rent, lease or sale, at prices far beyond the ability of the common man to afford. Yet it was a housing scheme meant to serve the housing needs of the poor in the first place.
This odious practice and its cyclic pattern is repeated in almost every facet of our economic life, with its dire consequences as evident all around us. Wherever you look you find the claws and fangs of the greedy elite sunk into everything good meant to benefit the masses.
Is it then surprising to us when now the compensation Justice of God is here to redress the balance? The happenings throughout Nigeria, since 1985 in particular, a nation which which became more and more corrupt and violent, certainly speak to us in plain language
To maintain strictly and justly, the constant balance between giving and taking in every sphere of life in one’s fatherland is the great task for all those who claim to be leaders in Nigeria today. Otherwise the mills of the Justice of God, though grinding slowly, will crush them in its course to redress the balance. It shall happen, sooner or later.
The on-going National Conference would have been a great opportunity for the nation to launch into a fresh start. But indications are already pointing to a doubtful outcome. The processes of the conference are guided and driven mainly by the predominant elite class delegates, the very class that has been taking and taking from Nigeria, without giving back, or showing any qualms of conscience in that regard..
So as things stand in Nigeria today it is a make orbrake situation. We either make, voluntarily, the necessary balance now or at some point in the not-too-distant future, orbe broken by the relentless forces of Nature when they set in forcefully to restore balance.
Almost every nation on earth is today in turmoil in varying degrees and intensity proportionate to the extent of their breach of the law of balance.
Imbalance exacerbates religious and ethnic differences and throws up other primordial sentiments which often combined to form an inflammable tinder box. And this, when ignited by maladministration and societal injustices, often exploded into a conflagration, as witnessed in many nations today, including Nigeria.
The level of mindless indulgence in obscene lifestyle by the Nigerian elite, particularly the ruling class, is revulsive, immoral, ungodly and simply unacceptable. The level of material and resource wastages attributed to this minority class is iniquitous more so in a country where many citizens still cannot afford to eat a good meal a day. The animalistic mindset now driving these “takers” in Nigeria is similar to the destructive mental delusion that led to the collapse of past empires around the world which conquered peoples, plundered them and thrived in immorality, greed and injustice.
The present Nigerian variety of conquerors must not expect to escape a similar fate. They may be cheating the Nigerian masses, cornering the commonwealth for themselves and their families alone. But they will never cheat or escape from the retribution of the Law of Balance, which is a primal regulatory law of Creation.
Emenike, an engineer, is also a consultant based in Lagos