“For behold, darkness will cover the earth And deep darkness the peoples; But the LORD will rise upon you And His glory will appear upon you. “Nations will come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising.” – Isa 60:2,3
In my native language there is a proverb that says that describes an unfortunate situation. It’s the situation where the person you have trust to help you blow out specks from your eyes has pepper in his or her mouth or where the person you depend on to scratch your back has thorns in his or her hands. When war gets to a point where the choice men of war in town begin to run, what becomes the of the peasants?
One of the shocking headlines in the dailies yesterday was the FG of Nigeria and it’s agencies have budgeted N2 billion to fuel their generators in 2009. The state house – the seat of power and the home of the president was said to have a budget of about N27 million for fuel and another N14.3 million for maintenance. The Police force will spend about N110 million while the national assembly, over N466 million for acquisition of alternative power, fueling and maintenance.
What instructions can we take from all these? Read on.
Well, we cannot afford to kid ourselves and be over optimistic about the fate of PHCN or NEPA this year. Our leaders have shown us the direction to follow in their budgets. It’s not absolutely a bad thing, it’s a crucial step in the movement forward.
The current position of the FG and it’s agencies reminds me of a statement in the story in my previous article Economic Depression 1. In that story the King of the town answered a citizen that had been battered by the famine – “How can I help you, if God does not help you?” By this statement leadership alludes to a state of helplessness and that they themselves being in the same state of despair and despondence as the citizens. In the story, not short after this declaration were initiatives of courage taken that finally got the citizenry out of the glut.
It’s possibly a quote that will end up being attributed to me, but it’s my honest opinion, that the government is not in the government house, the government is you and I. In a democracy, the people are the government. It’s called government of the people by the people. We have to customize our own democracy and apply what will work for us. We are the government – we all have budgets for our light, we pay for our own security, we do our own roads, we provide our own water are we not taking government responsibility in some areas? When I look at what I get to do, I cannot but see myself as a local government executive. When we begin to put our hopes and futures in the hands of systems that even though more empowered are faced with similar predicaments as us, and start taking responsibility, we would have started off in the right direction.
Yes, I hear you when you say we can’t do too many things in this current state, yes! But we can do a lot more than if we just keep pointing fingers. One day we will exhaust what we can do as the lower arms of government and stretch out into either motivating people to take on leadership or become directly interested. Till that happens, we must consistently enlarge our boundaries of influence and focusing less on mere concerns that we have no influence over.
It’s easy to be selfish and fix our own problems and complain about the inefficiencies of those who rule over us. The sad questions however are not masked, because in time, the society that we do not help in developing, will be around to frustrate our developed lives. How will those without fuel budget cope? How will the low and no income earners cope? How does it feel when you know that your nation is x% productive and that the x is less than the number of hours over 24 that there is light? These are the issues we need to be able to address as governments. Complain? We can’t afford to, that’s a weak position, but act, talk and get our ideas in the frontline where they can be seen and heard globally, we must!
Our future is now… and it is our responsibility to deliver the future!