First Published here
Proverbs 19:3 Amplified Bible (AMP)
The foolishness of man undermines his way [ruining whatever he undertakes];
Then his heart is resentful and rages against the Lord [for, being a fool, he blames the Lord instead of himself].
God has given us something He didn’t give to other creations. A complex brain that is able to make decisions!
And the brain is the same everywhere but some nations have used their brains in much better ways than most around us.
The sanctity of human life is something that both government and individuals must work together to achieve. Some years ago in China, a baby food company was complicit in the death of infants around the world. Their milk was tainted. The verdict? Shoot the executives of the company that were complicit. Harsh? Not really. The babies that died had their own lives ended due to the greed and ineptitude of the executives. This is the same reason corrupt officials are killed in China without mercy. They understand the simple fact that the opportunity cost of the money stolen is much more than the value of the money. The roads that kill many included.
Now remember that a former President of Nigeria — Yakubu Gowon had the audacity to mediate on behalf of Pfizer when the company was found guilty of killing Nigerian children with its drug trials. International organizations were asking for hefty fines per child but Gowon opened his mouth and what came out was filth. His opinion was that Pfizer should not pay similar fines as obtains in the United States because the value of a Nigerian child is not the same as that of an American child. I lost every respect for Gowon and other past Nigerian leaders after this episode. That is how your so called leaders view our lives.
This disregard for the sanctity of Nigerian lives is the reason outsiders are also able to get away with a lot of nonsense. When you don’t respect yourself, others would also disrespect you. Nigeria remains the dumping ground for the worst products from all over the world. Little wonder people are dying from all sorts of bad diseases.
But the average Nigerian is also very complicit. In 2018, trucks carry payloads without securing the load with proper safety harnesses. Each time I am in Nigeria, I look out for these trucks and 90% of the time, the payload is just waiting to tumble off and crush the cars beside them.
Have you seen how supposedly educated men and women in nice clothes drive in Nigeria? I had to drive in Nigeria last December because my family was with me. My dad-in-law told me to drive and I said NO, that I would rather get a driver. The driver that drove us from Lagos to Ibadan and then Ilorin made me change my mind. Blatant disregard for road rules everywhere. And it is not just commercial drivers but private cars. People look at you as if you are mad when you obey traffic rules. On the highway, I realized I had not driven in Nigeria in a long time. Drivers are perpetually straddling lanes and never keeping to one lane.
And then moving around Lekki, a supposedly highbrow area in Nigeria makes you sad and sick. Dirt everywhere. Nice looking houses but the environment is filthy. If you were that rich, won’t you organize as a community and do something? But everyone has to wait for Government, right?
Most of the bad things that happen are due to human errors. Human beings who decide to look the other way and take bribes. You tell a driver to use his seat belt and he starts telling you that you are from abroad. The law enforcement officers would rather terrorize innocent young men than tackle real issues.
I am particularly pained about yesterday’s tragedy in Lagos. There are rules about moving such big trucks at that time of the day but the “anyhowness” of the average Nigerian comes through again. I also heard that the truck driver was trying to reverse on such a dangerous terrain with a 33K Litres load of fuel.
Can we spell it out? Nigeria has reached rock bottom. These events should make you angry at a system that has failed. At citizens that don’t care and a government that aids them. The failure has most of us complicit. It is a selfish world out there with little or no integrity. I have been to many African countries where civil servants still do their jobs with a conscience. That conscience is largely missing in Nigeria. People certify things that eventually kill many people.
This is where the stupidity of blaming God for bad things should end. If you just decide to do the right things, have the correct processes and not minding who will be angry — then we will be fine. The Lagos State Governor as usual with Nigerian politicians is asking for prayers. Sir, you need much more than that, You need to be tough and hard. You need to send the right signals.
I believe that these tragedies should wake us up to our responsibility of fixing the country. Bad news is that it is not all on the government. Citizens must also decide to start doing the right things in their little corners. Blow whistles. Social media has given us the platform to call nonsense out. And I am not absolving government — in fact I am just tired of their ineptitude. So as we hound them to do the right things, can we as citizens also start doing same?
We need a total overhaul of our moral codes as individuals and as a nation. We need to check our daily decisions from the prism of what is right and wrong. A very immoral but religious country is nonsense. The fruit is bad, so it cannot be godliness. I challenge the various religious outfits to audit their members. Most Nigerians belong to one but their habits stink. It means they are not learning good things.
When we start the process, we will realize that God already helped us.
Featured image courtesy of: https://www.ucg.org/