It is very clear from the happenings in our state and country that an average Nigerian citizen, due to no fault of his/her though, is deficient both in patriotism and social discipline. This societal defect is even worse amongst the younger ones. The average Nigerian has neither knowledge nor understanding of the essence of Nigeria and as such cannot even begin to identify with the ideals of the nation.
Many a citizen, do not even begin to realize the importance, value, and advantage of being a citizen of a country, not to talk of willing to work for the sustenance of Nigerian nationhood. Everyone ought to know that social discipline is the basis and source of stability for any organization, be it a business or, nation. And no nation can amount to anything without the power of patriotism and nationalism.
Many Nigerians have no grasp of the spirit and ideals of Nigeria’s nationhood. Without that necessary identification, a citizen can never see that his own self-interest is intricately wrapped up in the prosperity and survival of his nation. All the prevalent social crimes hampering our Nigeria today are simply the outcomes of a lack of understanding and appreciation of the dynamics, necessity, and advantages of living together under one roof as a nation. And this is where the necessity for citizenship and leadership training comes in.
Those looters of public funds do so because their bond to the nation is thin or even non-existent. They have not yet come to the realization that by stealing from the nation, they are really stealing from themselves. Even those who celebrate corrupt officeholders do so because they have not understood that the money that the corrupt steal could have been used to provide better schools and better health care system for all. So, the fight against corruption will not be won by the prosecution or even enacting any better laws; it can only be won by the increased citizenship education so as to deepen patriotic instincts in both the leader and the led.
One lesson arising from our recent politics is that it is the duty of all citizens to strive to advance our nation. A basic misconception corrupting Nigeria is the wrong idea that the welfare of the nation is the sole business of officeholders only. I beg to disagree because nothing can be farther from the truth. Nigerian project is as much the duty of the citizen as it is that of the leader because all citizens are co-owners of equal shares in the enterprise called Nigeria.
And just as it is the duty of the business owner to oversee the running of his shop, even when he has a shop keeper in place, so it is the business of all citizens to oversee the work of the public office holder who is at best, a nation keeper. The poor health of our nation is not only a failure of the political office holders; it is also our failure as citizens since we do not seem to know how to hold the political class accountable.
For instance, in Bauchi State, the state governor, Sen. Bala Muhammed has vowed to retrieve stolen public funds and properties from those itchy-fingered public officers that almost crippled the state. A visit to most ministries, departments, and agencies in the state reveals the high level of corruption in play.
The most ideal solution to the problem is for the governor to re-organize the entire civil service structure. Let him be bold as a patriot and accomplished technocrat that knows the game to flush out those that contributed to pauperizing the state to beggar status.
How can one imagine a permanent secretary approving the waste of over N2.3billion on the supply of burial materials for a single cemetery or the purchase of horses for six traditional rulers at over N96million or purchase of soap at over N800million, a bogus fumigation of selected public buildings at over N400million and many more detected from one Ministry that for Local Governments and Chieftaincy Affairs?
Look at the heap of the mess at Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA) and the State Ministry of Information. In the ministry of information, a company by name Anakle was doled out a whooping sum of N75million as financial assistance apart from several other contract scams. Sen. Bala has to do the needful.
While that is done, the governor should strive to prove his innocence in the N3.7billion 105 assorted vehicles supply contract as most of the supplied vehicles are alleged to be second-hand ones (Tokunbo) since they were not accompanied with relevant Custom papers. In the exposed suspected scam, it was alleged that the government owns 20 percent capital shares in the controversial company, Adda Nigeria Limited. Not only that, there are flying allegations of several scams in the ministry for local governments and chieftaincy affairs as well as the State Universal Basic Education Board. If the needful is the wish of Governor Bala Muhammed and his brand of governance, then the game should start right away. Many heads have to roll to sanitize the system for the better or corruption and stealing of public funds should be institutionalized as part of the governing system.
Muhammad is a public commentator on national issues