A LETTER TO THE GOOD CITIZEN OF NIGERIA
Poor leadership and bad followership that manifest in the form of corruption, embezzlement, insecurity, banditry, infrastructural decay, crude oil theft, pipeline vandalization, opaque accounting in subsidy payments, capital flight, money laundry, importation of fake and sub-standard products, fetish practices like blood rituals, eating of excreta, incestuous sex, sacrificing blood relations, spraying money for rituals, bathing in public spaces, consuming hard drugs and fetish concoctions, walking naked in the open among other bizarre rituals in a bid to make quick money, fame and material wealth, has become a source of worry to everybody in Nigeria and the global community. How the succeeding leadership and followership got to this mindless desperation for money, power and influence is incomprehensible.
The few people who dare to be different from the madness going on are often sidestepped, bullied, criticized, blackmailed and marked down for elimination. The case of a determined and entirely patriotic lady who chose to return unspent billions of Naira to government treasury is worthy of note. Rather than allow the money to be pilfered by greedy civil servants, the lady who had been a successful Banker all her life and had only just accepted a government appointment after rising to the pinnacle of her career in the banking industry has a bitter story to tell. Having been so badly heckled, pushed and shoved on account of her patriotism and principled stand against corruption, has vowed never to accept a Nigerian government appointment again in her lifetime.
We have come to that point in Nigeria at which right-thinking people across the globe have come to the conclusion that the consequences of inaction by Nigerians will lead the country to her inevitable destruction. All hands must therefore be on deck to rescue the country from the abyss.
Heiman Raees, in his ‘Life Lessons’ published on 27th March 2021, says the Greeks of old believe there are three types of people on earth: namely:
- the idiots,
- the tribesmen,
- the citizens.
Raees says that studies show that only 10% of Africans are citizens. The remaining 90% are either tribesmen or idiots. He went further to clarify that when the Greeks used the word "idiot", they did not use it as a curse word.
Idiots are people who just don’t care. If they write exams, they will cheat. If they are in government, they will steal. An idiot does not care at all, if he eats bananas, he throws the peels anywhere instead of putting them in a trash bin. Raees says the Greeks believe that some societies have more idiots than tribesmen and citizens.
The next set of people are the ‘’tribesmen". These are people that look at everything from the point of view of their tribe. They are people that believe in you only if you are a member of their tribe. It can be terrible to have a tribesman as a leader because he will alienate the rest of the population. Raees again clarifies that when the Greeks talk about tribes, it is not just about ethnicity, they also consider religion as a tribe. The Greeks posit that a great percentage of Africans (and therefore Nigerians) are tribesmen, because they view everything from the point of view of their tribes. They look down on everyone else but trust only their tribesmen.
The last group of people are the "citizens". These are people that like to do things the right way. They will respect traffic light rules, even if no one is watching them. They drive within speed limits. They respect the laws of the land and will not cheat under all circumstances. In government they will not steal. They are compassionate and give to others to promote their wellbeing. Citizens often promote ideas that benefit everyone in the society.
The Greeks believe that some countries have more citizens than tribesmen and idiots. Other countries (like Nigeria?) have so many idiots and tribesmen.
The good news however is that both tribesman and idiot can become a citizen through learning, practical re-orientation and constant enforcement of rules and regulations. This means that both tribalism and idiocy are mere inherent traits of the poverty of the human mind.
So, the question to ask every Nigerian is this:
Where do you belong? Are you an idiot, a tribesman or a citizen?
It is clear that many Nigerians who found themselves in leadership positions from inception, and who cannot point to anything of value they have contributed to national development, or who may even have hastened the collapse of the ship of state, as seen today, are either idiots or tribesmen; only an infinitesimal few can define themselves as true citizens. The present circumstances therefore compel each of us alive to earnestly define the type of persons we are and take corrective measures as necessary, by coming together as one to train and re-train our minds, and harness our creativity, vision, self-help, self-discovery, and self-motivation to the business of helping more Nigerians to become good citizens, wholly dedicated to doing things right.
We must rebrand. We must re-build. We must re-write our history. We must start re-defining ourselves and applying our co-ordinate advantages and natural strength, to ensure that the legitimate contribution of every Nigerian can be nurtured and channeled towards for the collective benefit of all.
The task is huge, but it is possible to achieve between the timeline of 20-30 years, starting with a core group of a few people who are committed. At the end of the long journey, it will be possible to confidently beat our chests and say we have created structures and raised people in positions of authority who are the true citizens of Nigeria. Anything we put into the hands of the present set of people who have not been reformed will go bad.
There is no doubt that Nigeria is blessed with a good collection of the likes of Lee Kwan Yew of Singapore, Mustafa Ataturk of Turkey, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan of Abu Dhabi, and Sheikh Rashid bin Al Maktoum of Dubai. Going forward, we must task ourselves to diligently search and discover such people within the populace and continue to add to their number. We must also ensure that the attributes and values of anyone aspiring to lead Nigeria, or any part thereof is on display for all to see.
What Heiman Raees did not tell us in his ‘Life Lessons’ however is that all the ancient Greek philosophers like Aristotle, Socrates and Plato who propounded the theory of tribesmen and idiocy, studied in African Universities in Mali, Morocco, and Egypt. Africa is therefore the true source of the knowledge and solution package being proposed to salvage Nigerian.
Every Nigerian is therefore urged to subscribe to purging themselves of the dastardly scourge of the affliction. The collective reward for this sacrifice is a country the African continent and the Black race will be proud to identify with. It is clear that whatever thoughts, energy or works people put out, openly or secretly, is always redeemed, good or bad. In other words, you reap what you sow either directly by yourself or by a loved family member. This is the great law of cause and effect applicable to everyone, which ought to discourage people from acts of cheating.
I am taking the liberty of this national inflection therefore to bell the cat and present the Transparency Accountability and Sustainability project as a home-grown initiative to midwife the coming together of The Good Nigerian Citizen (TGNC) that will work with other minds to undertake this mission. TGNC is a movement for vision and national rebirth. It is not a money-making venture. It will be wholly dedicated to helping Nigerians discover and hone their in-born ability, develop their potentials, and deploy their passion towards helping themselves and everyone to see reasons to stop from further weaponizing their bad behaviour to the detriment of Nigeria. It is not going to be about chasing academic laurels or honorific titles. Rather, it will be about harnessing the natural endowment of individuals who are able and willing to contribute selflessly toward proving that excellence, honesty, hard work and respect for the dignity of labour can indeed germinate, blossom and bear fruit in Nigeria.
An idiot in power who has not been reformed will perpetrate his/her idiocy, no matter what people say or do. But it will be difficult and almost impossible for the idiotic or the tribalistic leader to stop the good citizens from applying themselves to the best of their ability and to enjoy the fruit of their labour.
My conclusion therefore is that the need to overcome our inherent dysfunction as a nation, and the need to stop embarrassing the black race across the world should motivate all the good citizens of Nigeria to come together and dig our heels into the ground, become more assertive and more creative, rather than fleeing the country in search of the greener pastures. Nigerians must simply agree to move on with their lives and for the next few years, ignore the shenanigans of bad leadership and follow the path of dignity and honour already paved by the good citizens of other nations.
The Transparency Accountability and Sustainability idea has played highly active roles in collaboration with other good citizens to give an ‘eye’ and an ‘ear’ to Nigeria with the launch of the national space programme in September 2003. The platform also pioneered the activities that gave a ‘voice’ to Nigeria with the rollout of the national eGovernment programmes in March 2004. In effect, the TGNC platform already exist, the structure and initial manning level has been established in every MDA (albeit largely dormant), the mandate for its actualization and Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is in place, preliminary works are on-going, some inventions have been licensed for the exclusive use of the Movement over a period of twenty years, full rollout is expected to commence with the admission of a few more good citizens who have ideas to contribute. These modest achievements have been made through the help of a few good citizens without taking a kobo in sponsorship money from government. TGNC will continue to maintain this discipline and independence.
TGNC will operate as a Pan-Nigerian movement open to everybody in all religious and socio-economic persuasions. The only qualification required of a prospective member is to be a lover of Nigeria, to be passionate about righting the wrongs of the past and be ready to work hard to ensure the country sheds the toga of indiscipline, greed and avarice while striving to take her rightful place in the comity of nations. God who brought us together as a nation did not make a mistake.
The Movement will not be used as a pawn in the game of power politics of Nigeria. It is going to examine and report objectively, factually, and fairly; separating those leaders and outfits who distinguish themselves and are serving the people well from those who are only there to steal and play the buffoonery.
We will never give accolades to or celebrate criminals who should languish in jail.
Instead, we will work hard to develop a crop of good citizens who will become the conscience of the nation and the gold standard for the voice of the ordinary Nigerian in the overall efforts to warm up the field and make it too hot for idiots and tribesmen to seize and further subdue to their exclusive advantage.
TGNC will be clear eyed about any infractions to its rules and regulations and go as far as accurately defining every constituted authority, every corporate entity, organization, or corporate body who operate or is desirous of operating in the Nigerian public or private space and whose activities will directly or indirectly impinge on the wellbeing of the people. We are going to be truthful and objective, being guided by the maxim that says: He who seeks equity must do equity.
If you consider yourself a lover of Nigeria, ready to contribute your own quota to re-shape her destiny and re-write her history for the good of all, please join us today. TGNC is not just a good idea, it is a matter of the survival of Africa and the black race across the globe.
To enroll from any part of the globe, you are required to provide the under listed information:
1) Your name, address, and phone number.
2) What have you done and what are you presently doing?
3) Apart from your place of birth, where else have you been to?
4) Mention the names of three people who trust you?
5) Why do you think anyone should trust you?
6) Mention the name of one person who does not trust you?
7) Why do you think this person does not trust you?
8) Where can we know or hear more about you?
9) What are your dreams for the future of Nigeria?
10)What are you willing to do to help Nigeria realise your dreams?
Upon enrolment, you will qualify prima facie to become a Blue card member of TGNC. After verification and confirmation of your initial submission, you may become a Silver card member. After two years of continued good behaviour and/or verifiable value addition to societal good, you may become a Gold card member. Five years of continued good behaviour and record of substantial contributions to the societal wellbeing, verifiable act of patriotism, innovation, invention, etc. you may become a Diamond card member. Ten years of continued good behaviour, verifiable and epoch-making contributions to national development, invention or a significant patriotic act may earn you a Platinum membership. Conversely, any act considered unpatriotic, corrupt, unjust or unbecoming of a good citizen will earn you a demotion or delisting from TGNC.
Wherever you are (north, east, west, south-south, middle belt or diaspora), able or disabled, whatever you are doing presently (artisan, mechanic, driver, house help, nanny, hairdresser, event planner, teacher, nurse, doctor, lawyer, Imam, Pastor, engineer, or even jobless etc.) you are strongly encouraged to join TGNC movement for a better Nigeria.
For information on how to become a member of this movement, visit: www.tgnc.ng or www.tas.ng
Felix Babatunde Obada. PhD.