• Monday, June 17, 2024
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Systems collapse

Systems collapse

System collapse? Which one? All. I once wrote an article where I related the story of a newspaper headline, shortly before a UK general election. The naughty caption read, “Will the last person to leave Britain please switch the light off”.

Isn’t it so tempting to say the same here? Oh! I forgot, the grid has collapsed. Okay, the last person should switch the generator off. Oops! My bad. There’s no diesel. Well, I guess it makes it easy then, as there’s nothing to switch off. But wait a minute. How do we leave? There’s no Jet fuel either! What a mess.

By the way, that British government lost the election woefully and the mischievous newspaper headline was credited to have done a sizeable chunk of the damage.

Water, water everywhere but none to drink, gas flaring all around but no electricity, crude oil in abundance but no petrol, no diesel and definitely no aviation fuel. At a time, the electricity tariff doubled but still, darkness reigns.

Water, water everywhere but none to drink, gas flaring all around but no electricity, crude oil in abundance but no petrol, no diesel and definitely no aviation fuel. At a time, the electricity tariff doubled but still, darkness reigns.

In a land where incompetence is rewarded while enterprise is slammed with multiple taxation (official and not so official), princes are found walking while slaves ride proudly on horses; brilliant minds atrophy under a deplorable education system; elected officials swank around town in state-of-the-art vehicles while for most of those who put them there, even “tokunbo” cars are now beyond reach.

Blessed with fertile land, among the world’s best, but the most basic food items have become luxury items; natural resources aplenty but abject poverty abounds. An alarming level of insecurity like we have never known before, despite all promises.

In the midst of all of this, there are incessant strikes by doctors and lecturers – always for the same reason – government has failed to honour its agreements.

Today, university students sit at home, told to wait a further two months before the ASUU strike elapses. Like their parents, they sit in hope that that will be the end of it but no one dares hold his breath. Oh! And where was the President in all of this? London.

A one day, one crisis nation. If life wasn’t so excruciatingly painful and frustrating, some incidents would make one laugh. Imagine an Ibadan to Lagos train breaking down in the middle of nowhere because it ran out of diesel! Imagine no more. It actually happened. Thank God it didn’t happen in the bandit-ridden north.

And all this in a country proud to have produced the largest share of African unicorns – youth led fintech companies with capitalisation of $1 billion and above; depicting perfectly, Nigeria’s propensity to continually oscillate between the sublime and the ridiculous. Well, this is our current reality.

Compassion has been defined to mean someone who feels touched by another’s plight and is driven enough by this to do something about relieving that individual of his or her pain or difficulty.

Read also: Nigerian economy to remain subdued in 2022 – CBN

There is the skill of listening to people and connecting with what they have to say but it is empathy that makes one listen with the intent to help. Empathetic is not a term that readily comes to mind when we think about Nigeria’s political leaders and yet, empathy has been identified as an essential prerequisite for good leadership.

There lies our problem. Much has been said about subjecting any candidate running for elective office to a psychometric evaluation but this may still not throw up an individual fit for office if he or she isn’t also subjected to an empathy test, if there is such a thing.

Let us bring to an end the perennial mistake we make of judging people purely by their academic credentials. Our dear public servants have taught us time and time again, how very mistaken we are when we do that.

These are people who haven’t been able to quite get their heads around what it means to be a public servant. The term really is not an inverted euphemism or a modest term for a big man but actually means what it says.

Such a person is paid from public funds to serve the public, plain and simple. When we make the mistake of believing such a person will automatically deliver because he has the so-called training, we deceive ourselves.

A man with all the relevant skills but who lacks the moral character to restrain the urge to serve himself above the people will fail the people.

Let me see what I can compare him to. Yes, he is like a man who erects a gate without a fence. His beautiful gate (credentials) is impressive but is meaningless without the support of the fence (moral character) to complete it. Let us not be deceived, all manner of things will wander in and out totally unhindered.

The silly season of elections is fast approaching and increasingly, we will see characters emerging who claim they are the best thing since sliced bread. They have this qualification and that experience and yet they stay silent on the fact that it’s their so-called experience that has brought us to where we are today; systems collapse. My fellow Nigerians, please vote wisely.

Changing the nation…one mind at a time.