By Bayo Oluwasanmi
Christmas and new year are upon us, and families across Nigeria will come together to celebrate. But for millions of poor families, they will celebrate both occasions with hunger, fear, and uncertainty.
Some days I breathe and it feels like something is about to burst out of my chest when I think about millions who will be without food, money, and other basic provisions that guarantee a merry Christmas and the confidence, hope, and faith to plunge into the new year 2018.
What Nigerians are living through now, and what poverty and unemployment merely accelerated, is a historic convergence of economic maladies practiced and perpetuated by the respective state governors. More importantly, because of the unprecedented level of corruption and fraud by the governors, they’re unable to pay workers’ salaries for years and months. With the exception of Governor Ambode of Lagos State, the rest 35 governors are owing workers many months and in some cases two years salary arrears. In spite of the billions from Paris Club Refund paid to the governors by the federal government three or four times for the primary purpose to offset arrears of workers’ salaries, the governors diverted the money into their personal bank accounts.
Because there are no checks and balances and separation of powers between the three branches of government, the governors are unrestrained from going on corruption binge to steal money that belongs to the people. They engage in open looting, plundering, and wasteful spending. While they’re swimming in excess luxury and comfort, they feel strong, emboldened, invincible, and insulated, and forget about the misfortunes, troubles, and poverty, of the very citizens they are supposed to serve, protect, and provide for.
They forget that they’re only as strong as is their compassion for those who are weak and vulnerable. The governors must learn that through strength comes the power of understanding and wisdom to act with concern and caring for the people they govern. It is the ability to empathize and show real gifts of leadership which make life better for the governed that matters. These are the real hallmarks of true compassion and strength of a leader as a giver and not a taker.
Decision by decision, the economy of each state managed by the governors has turned into a younger people-screwing machine. Our young men are scared about the future and angry about the past. Grown up adults live longer with their parents than with roommates. They’re delaying marriage, postpone having kids, put off having their own abode, than any previous generation in our history all because of misappropriation and stealing of state funds by the governors – money that should have gone into job creation, education and training, social programs, and other economic projects.
From jobs to job security, to social safety net, all the structures that insulate our young and old alike have been eroded by corrupt governors. At this special time of the year, many of our people fight hunger. Food insecurity is becoming more rampant in our society. Hunger is having not enough food. It incorporates physical sensation of hunger, especially when someone does not have enough resources to obtain enough nutritious food for themselves and their families.
The behaviors and actions of the governors toward their own people show they have never known kindness. They lack feelings and emotions of kindness, humility, generosity, sympathy, humanity, and compassion. They turned their own people into street beggars. It’s never been so bad.
It bears repeating that at this festive period of the year characterized by caring, sharing, and giving, the governors should be kind to their consciences, be kind to necessity and needs of millions of families by making sure all salaries owed workers are paid instead of pocketing the people’s money. The governors should wear the cape of kindness,the underwear of generosity, and put smiles, laughter, and joy on the faces of their citizens for Christmas and new year.
One of the qualities that sets humans apart from other warm blooded mammals is the ability to be kind at heart. So far, from the body of evidence of the governors’ reckless spending, looting spree, their anti people policies and programs, the diversion and conversion of public money for their own personal use, anoint them as governors from pit of hell and a collection of deplorables!