Stealing in metaphor and thieves in their own barn

…..The great Nigerian enigma

Christian C. Madubuko, PhD.

In the heart of West Africa, a peculiar phenomenon has been observed. It is a tale of irony, a paradox of the highest order. Nigerians, a people endowed with an abundance of natural resources, have consistently failed to develop their own nation. It’s as if they are thieves who have been stealing from their own barn, leaving it bare and barren. The metaphor is apt. For years, Nigeria has been plagued by corruption, mismanagement, and inefficiency. These thieves in their own barn have pillaged the nation’s resources, squandering opportunities and sabotaging progress.

The irony is staggering. Nigeria is blessed with an abundance of natural resources, including oil, gas, and minerals. The country’s vast arable land and favourable climate make it an agricultural powerhouse. Yet, despite these blessings, Nigeria remains one of the poorest countries in the world. It’s a country where millions of people live in abject poverty, struggling to survive on less than $2 a day.
The thieves in their own barn are not just individuals; they are systems, institutions, and cultures that perpetuate this cycle of underdevelopment.

The government, once a symbol of hope and progress, has become a behemoth of corruption and inefficiency. Public officials have perfected the art of stealing from the system, using their positions to enrich themselves and their cronies. They embezzle public funds, award contracts to friends and family members, and engage in other forms of corruption.

The Judiciary, once a bastion of justice, has become a laughingstock. Judges are often complicit in the theft, using their powers to perpetuate corruption and protect the status quo. They issue verdicts that are favourable to the wealthy and powerful, while ignoring the rights of the poor and vulnerable. The police force is ineffective, more interested in extorting money from citizens than fighting crime.

The education system is another area where thieves have struck gold. Schools are underfunded, overcrowded, and poorly managed. Teachers are often underpaid and unqualified, leaving students unprepared for the challenges of the outside world. Textbooks are outdated, and resources are scarce. The curriculum is irrelevant to the needs of the 21st century.

The media, once a watchdog of accountability, has been co-opted by the thieves. Journalists are often silenced or bribed into submission, preventing them from speaking truth to power. Those who dare to speak out against corruption are threatened or intimidated into silence.

The people themselves are complicit in this grand theft. Nigerians have become so accustomed to corruption that they have lost faith in their institutions and each other. They have learned to adapt to the system, finding ways to survive in a society where theft is the norm. They pay bribes to access basic services like healthcare and education. They tolerate corruption because it has become a way of life.

But there is hope. Nigerians are beginning to wake up to the reality of their situation. They are demanding change, calling for transparency and accountability from their leaders. Social media platforms have given voice to the voiceless, allowing them to express their frustration and anger.

Social media has also exposed the thefts in their own barn. It has brought attention to the corrupt practices of government officials and business leaders. It has given Nigerians a platform to share their stories and experiences with corruption.

The thieves in their own barn must be held accountable. They must be brought to justice for their crimes against the nation. But it’s not just about punishing the guilty; it’s about changing the system that allows them to thrive.

It’s time for Nigerians to take responsibility for their country’s development. They must demand better from their leaders and institutions. They must work together to create a society that rewards hard work and innovation rather than corruption and greed.

Nigeria has tremendous potential for growth and development. Its population is young and vibrant, its natural resources are abundant, and its culture is rich and diverse. But all this potential will be squandered if corruption continues to thrive.

It’s time for Nigerians to act. They must demand accountability from their leaders and institutions. They must hold themselves accountable for creating a better future for themselves and their children.
The future is uncertain for Nigeria unless something changes dramatically. The country is at a crossroads, where it can choose between continued stagnation or rapid growth and development.

The Roots of Corruption
Corruption is not just a Nigerian problem; it is a global phenomenon that affects many countries around the world. However, Nigeria’s level of corruption is unique in its scale and complexity.

There are several factors that contribute to Nigeria’s high level of corruption:
Poverty: Poverty breeds corruption as people turn to illegal means of survival.
Lack of Education: A lack of education leads to ignorance about human rights and civic responsibilities.

Ineffective Governance: Weak institutions and lack of accountability enable corruption.
Cultural Factors: Certain cultural practices such as patronage systems and nepotism contribute to corruption.

Colonial Legacy: The colonial legacy has left behind corrupt systems and practices that continue to perpetuate corruption.
The Consequences of Corruption
Corruption has severe consequences for Nigeria:

Economic Instability: Corruption hampers economic growth by creating uncertainty and inefficiency.

Inequality: Corruption widens income inequality as those with connections benefit at the expense of others.

Lack of Trust: Corruption erodes trust in institutions and leaders.
Violence: Corruption fuels violence as those who feel marginalized or cheated turn to arms.

Brain Drain: Corruption drives away skilled workers who seek better opportunities abroad.

To overcome corruption, Nigeria needs:
Accountability: Leaders must be held accountable for their actions.

Transparency: Transparency in government transactions and decision-making processes must be ensured.

Good Governance: Strong institutions with clear laws and regulations must be established.

Education: Education must be prioritized to empower citizens with knowledge about human rights and civic responsibilities.

Community Engagement: Community engagement must be encouraged through participatory governance mechanisms.

Media Support: The media must play an active role in exposing corruption and promoting transparency.

International Cooperation: International cooperation must be sought to share best practices in anti-corruption efforts.

Nigeria’s story is one of irony – a country blessed with abundant resources yet plagued by poverty and underdevelopment due to corruption. The thieves in their own barn must be held accountable for their crimes against the nation.

Nigerians must take responsibility for creating a better future for themselves and their children by demanding accountability from leaders and institutions.

The future is uncertain unless something changes dramatically – either Nigeria can continue down the path of stagnation or it can work towards rapid growth and development through transparency, accountability, good governance, education, community engagement, media support, and international cooperation.

Dr. Christian C. Madubuko – a Political & Diplomatic Historian, is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of History & International Studies, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria, & a researcher at LaTrobe University, Melbourne, Australia. Madubuko was a former Anambra Commissioner for Trade and Commerce as well as the Executive Director of Operations, Anambra Internal Revenue Service. He writes from Canberra – The Australian Capital Territory, ACT. Mobile/WhatsApp: +2348162527884

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One Comment to “Stealing in metaphor and thieves in their own barn”

  1. Dr Madubuko has x-rayed the root of Nigeria problems and given a vivid solution.
    I want to appreciate the author a former course mate and friend.

    One day you words will be turned into a great harvest of change
    Thank you sir.

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