Many of us are seeking change and we are not ready to be that change that we seek. This even relates more to Nigerians who are clamouring for change from our leaders while they continue the things they are doing that brought us to where we are.
A few days ago I had to drive through town very early in the morning. I was driving a friend’s car and the license of the car had his name on it. When I got to one of the major bus stops, I was waved down by a police officer – this was a few minutes past 5 am – who asked me to park. He requested my license which I produced and he requested the documents for the car. I also produced that.
Immediately he saw the name on it he started asking me questions and I answered all his questions satisfactorily. He didn’t know the next thing to say but he expected me to part with some cash before leaving. He saw me hesitating then he said I should call the owner of the car so he could verify who owns the car.
In the first place that was a bit stupid because I could have called anyone who will also claim that he is the owner of the car and that will be the end of the story even if the car was a stolen car. I called the owner of the car as requested but my friend was not answering so the officer said, ‘oga do something make you no waste your time now.’ He simply meant I should give him some money instead of wasting my time trying to reach the owner of the car.
I kept calling my friend who owns the car but he didn’t answer until another police officer came to where I was. He asked what the problem was and I explained to him. The police officer who just approached me wanted to ask the first one what happened but the first police officer was already busy chasing another car. I guess this second police officer is a senior officer so he asked me if the other officer was requesting bribe from me.
At that moment, I had not offered the officer any money and I had no intention to do so. So I said to the second officer ‘no.’ At that point the second officer asked me to enter the car and go.
We all are citizens and there is just about the same corruption going on in the government house as it is in the public with individuals. The only difference is the size of funds or the scale of corruption depending on the resources that you control.
As we demand fair and transparent leadership from incorruptible leaders, it is important to note that the problem is not just leadership. There is also a great part of the problem coming from individuals.
A good example is the ongoing debate between the loyalists of the present President (Muhammadu Buhari) in the country and the immediate past president of Nigeria (Goodluck Ebele Jonathan). While I resist getting into the debates, the most amazing thing to me is how people defend a leader who led the country with reckless abandon regarding the issue of integrity and corruption. How do you defend someone who openly says stealing is not corruption?
Again my forte is not in getting you to think one person is good or the other is bad. The important issue I want all of us to deal with is the fact that we can only get from our leaders what we are doing to ourselves. If we are not upright there is no magic we will do about producing upright leaders. If we can get some upright leaders then it means we still have a few upright people and all the rest of us must strive to play our part in ridding the country of corruption rather than wait for the government.