Monday, July 14, 2008

A million and something cowards

"Cowardice asks: is it safe? Consensus asks: is it popular? Character asks: is it right" -Dr Martin Luther King Jr.

I saw my neighbour's son running an errand recently and wondered why he wasn't in school until I remembered that teachers were still on strike. How sad. Anyway, yesterday I leafed through a paper and saw that the NASS is set to have their salaries reviewed. While the figures quoted by the paper is way too much for me to remember, I do recall seeing that a NASS member could hence forth go home with at least 10 million naira monthly. Not to mention all the other allowances!
Now pitch that against what our teachers are asking for and what we get is the typical Animal Farm scenario!

"Our leaders are all thieves! Bloody thieves all of them! They just keep fattening their pockets while we suffer poverty and everything that comes with it!"

I used to think that way too until I hung out with some friends recently. We were in this jeep belonging to a man who obviously digs one of my friends. The guy stops to see another friend of his, probably to discuss business, when one of my friends in front opens one of those storage compartments in cars and discovers there's lots of money in it.
She exclaims: Make una see money oh! And next thing I know, she pulls out some wads and starts sharing it to us at the back. She says "Ejura take! Take now before he comes!" And I am so shocked by what is going on, I tell her "No, I can't! It's not my money!"
I now go on to add that they didn't have to take his money when he could have given them some as dash if they were patient enough to wait. And they tell me
"Stay there! You don't know anything. Come make we teach you." [Paraphrase]

I sit back and don't say anything after that. The man gets back into his car and we hit the road again. He doesn't know what just happened and he obviously may not even miss the money but it sets me thinking.

If my friends and I can sit down dissing Nigerian leaders and how they only know how to chop money on one page and on the next page, we deep our hands into someone else's purse and take what isn't ours, then what are we talking about?

Some people may laugh this off and say it's a case of gurls just being gurls but these gurls, including me, nurse ambitions to become leaders in Nigeria tomorrow and if we can bat our lashes and help ourselves today from another man's purse, what will we do tomorrow when we actually occupy these leadership positions?

How many of us are truly different from these leaders huh? Why cast stones when we are buried in a heap of them ourselves?
Ok, true, I didn't partake of the money with them but I couldn't stop them neither did I really air my views on the issue for fear it would turn into a cold war between my friends and I. Is that what I would do in a leadership position too? Choose friendship over what is right? Condone corruption, so I won't be the odd one out?

You know why God finished off a particular generation of the Israelites in the wilderness and didn't allow them get into the promise land? It was so they wouldn't bring their evil mentalities into the new land and corrupt the next generation. God wanted a clean slate for Israel. Now how do we get a clean slate for Nigeria?
Did you say prayer is the key?

While I do not in any way deny the power of prayer, I think this "Nigerian spirituality" is also responsible for what is killing us. What would have happened to South Africa if Mandela and others like him chose to lock themselves up in their rooms to pray? What would have happened if Rosa Parks got up that seat in the bus and went back home to pray?

What can I do? I am only one person.
Alas! I share the cowardice of millions of other Nigerians like me.


LG said...

i go come bac to give my 2cents
2day is my baffday,as my personal person, u have an invite to come n chop rice,
oya come....

ejura said...

Happy buffday gurl! I love me some good bufday parry. Off to your page I go!

Today's ranting said...

This is so true. Are we really different from those folks we call leaders.

Afrobabe said... are better than me love, for I have been involved in that dash money from aristo's car stunt...Did I feel guilty...only that we didnt take more...

Smaragd said...

hear hear.

tu as raison Ejura.

i would not have collected that money either (yea, i was that much a goodie two shoes).

are we really different from the people we castigate? i dont think so. Is there however hope for us? yes i believe that strongly.

Standtall said...

I am so happy that you chose to share your feeling on this issue. And no no laughing at you or dismissing the act as gurl being gurl. Just yesterday, I was telling my cousin on my b’day that I would love to become Lagos State governor. My friend and my cousin concluded it would be too tough for me to fit in cos I cant lie and that I am too honest to be a politician!!
I remember that honesty got me into a lot of trouble too as a student leader…. A lot of people that I have spoken too about not looking for each money , just told me to stop feeding them with shit that they must “hit it” at all cost. In fact some ppl see it as a norm for pple in govt to still money!!!

My dear, it’s not only u that sees this wrong doing and I want you to share this mentality with me “if you can’t beat them, dare to be different”!!! Believe you are accounting to God and not to a man or woman.

I have chosen to speak out against some things we consider normal like throwing things on the road, squeezing money etc and I will continue to do so whether I am heard or not.

Do not let us give up on our uprightness Ejura, let’s choose to be different!!!

Standtall said...

I hope you feel me? BTW I was confused abt some of the sayings on NAETO C album lunch too (lol)

Charizard said...

hmmn..insightful ejura...

buh yeah u r differeny r we anyway...would we act differently in thier shoes if at such an opportunity we keep quiet...

u aint alone on that thot pattern mayn...

bumight said...

lol @ afrobabe's comment!

BlogVille Idol said...

hey ejura,its me once again remindng you that the blogville idol contestants 08 have sung their OLDIES jams!!!this session in on FIRE!!..Pls go over to the page listen to the contestants and then VOTE!!!dont forget to drop us a kind comment!tanx

NigerianDramaQueen said...

Im so glad you didn't collect that money
Unfortunately the problems with corruption in our country is a vicious cycle on every level in society. A kid grows up watching his father bribe police men, watching teachers collecting bribes..and it just goes on and on. But if we have honest people like you, there is hope for change. Like Margeret Mead said: "Never underestimate the ability of a few commited citizens to cause change. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has"

ejura said...

@today's ranting: Girl, I was over at your page some days ago and I tried leaving a comment in vain. Will try again today. I see more and more everyday that there isn't much difference between us really.

@afrobabe:afrobaby!you too mush!Haba. You would be my downfall in any office because I'd luv you so much I'd bend the rules to protect you at any cost. I choose u over America. I!

@smaragd: So how do we start fanning the flames of this hope we have babes?

@standtall: I am so with you on this really. I also started an informal campaign against throwing dirt on the road. I called it "One dirt less". I dare say, I'd like to be different but I must confess I don't know what steps to take to get my voice heard. I think I should learn to take it step by step. Nelson didn't suceed in one day. No, it took years and years of pain. Ouch, that's what I want to avoid-the pain that comes with healing.Your words however feel me with hope...I'm standing tall with you

@charizad: I'm glad you share the same thots. What do we about the issue then?What proposeth thou?

@bumight: LOL!

@Blogville idol: I have tried in vain to listen to the songs but it ain't working for me. The play list won't just open. What am I doing wrong?

@NDQ: The power of the honest person. I so agree.
"A kid grows up watching his father bribe police men, watching teachers collecting bribes..and it just goes on and on."

How do we now change this mentality? Our problem is our thinking, really.

Afrobabe said...

lol..for ur sake I will change....

Buttercup said...

u r so on point..a mountain actually does start from a molehill..ok, that doesnt make much sense but i know wat i mean(lol)..the bigger picture(e.g. politicians choppin a country's money) resulted from the smaller picture(e.g. girls choppin an unsuspectin man's money)..

Jaguda said...

hmmm im here again and impressed. u touched on a deep moral issue eating into the minds of most people in developing countries like ours. we keep eating our vomits[ by electing the same corrupt leaders over and over again]. most people would say they wont embezzle funds until bags full of money is shown to them and offers of brand new cars, houses and land are presented. then the become the people they have criticized

Aphrodite said...

I must commend you for not falling into temptation dear.
How i wish we could have more honest Nigerians!

Anonymous said...

I'm really glad u didn't take the money. I don't think I would have spoken against my friends wither but at least u let them know that u don't do things that way.

It's funny how many pple complain about the situation in Nigeria, if u ask them if they are ready to follow all the rules and go thru all the proper channels, they'll say no and yet they complain. It's little things like that that really matter. Most of these leaders got to their post thru deceit anyway.