DOES GOV YARI THINK NIGERIANS ARE STUPID?

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 Monday letter1

I think it is a jarring assault on our mental faculties by our political class to call us stupid and then flaunt a banner with the inscription “Nigerians are stupid”. That was how I felt when I read Gov Abdullaziz Yari’s letter demanding a payment of N10 million as allowance for being former governor of a state, where bandits rendered over 5000 women widows. Governor Yari’s request is akin to a student with F9 in mathematics, vigorously making a case for a maths scholarship to study at the university level.

It is shocking, that the leadership in Nigeria does not have a smidgen of respect for the people. In saner climes, Governor Yari should be in jail after answering for his various misdeeds, but in Nigeria every politician has the temerity to ask for what does not belong to them.

It would be foolhardy to blame Gov Yari alone as Nigeria now thrives on the ubiquity of corruption and mismanagement of public funds. In Akwa Ibom, despite the mismanagement of funds, and the fact that the state has one of the largest unemployment numbers in the country, Godswill Akpabio still gave himself a befitting retirement package of about N200million a year, despite being a senator and now a minister. I wonder why the people are so docile.

Till date, former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, still gets his retirement largesse from kwara. Kano State recently passed a law with hefty packages for the incumbent governor when he retires. Recently the lawmakers in Bayelsa State were about passing such hefty largesse for themselves, before the governor stopped it due to public outcry.

It is shocking that despite the mammoth poverty in the nation – politicians are more concerned about perpetrating their daylight robbery. All the states aforementioned are inundated with low social-economic growth, and one would have thought this would concern the governors so much, but their pockets mean more to them.

Another part that hurts me is the loss of regard for the people with titles. I was shocked to see office of the former governor! I was more miffed to see that the letter-headed paper came with a seal-a government seal.

All of these shenanigans are replica of the rent seeking French economy of the 1700 that snowballed into a revolution – but are Nigerians ready to confront their politicians and sanitize the system? I doubt it.

Why I say so is-Nigerians are part of the problem. We celebrate politicians and make it easy for them to run us riot because we don’t hold them accountable, we don’t participate in our democratic process, we forget that the people get the leaders they deserve, we forget that we have the capacity to change our destiny.

I ask how long are we going to leave our destiny in the hands of wolves, when are we going to stand up for ourselves?

Edward Murrow says, “A country of sheep would have a leadership of wolves”. My fear is we are becoming meeker than sheep, our docility has become stupidity, our future is traded for cheap. We are in precarious state.

Rufai Oseni, rufai@rufai.com.ng