BusinessDay
NigeriaDecides2023

Selective prosecution of the law

 

As we all know, man is a reflection of his thoughts, as the thought process involved denotes our mind-set. This mind-set can be a reliable gauge of our core values and how we see life.

Perhaps the most noticeable difference between a Third World and a First World nation is their level of commitment to discipline; governments implementations of their professed policies and doing all to adhere to agreements; making punctuality a watchword and sundry other visible evidence of discipline as an established culture.

An insightful entrepreneur on his or her first time visit to Nigeria’s Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos may between the airport and his/her lodgings, be able to tell if Nigerians are the right kind of people to engage in business transactions with.

Lawless, inconsiderate and out rightly self-centred driving are all but the tell-tale signs of a people’s values.

Discriminatory prosecution of the law is what you get where the enforcement officials would turn a blind eye to commercial bus drivers running against the law but instantly jump out of nowhere to apprehend private vehicle owners and/or drivers that do the same.

Once what is good for the goose is no longer considered to be good for the gander, an undercurrent of disgruntlement will well up and from that point onwards, things can only go downhill

This is simply turning the country into George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ where all animals are equal but some are more equal than others. Besides, it makes people to begin to see law as being relative rather than absolute.

Or how do you explain a situation where an alleged drug baron was shield by the law against the international order. The same law that forbids extradition in another instance demands for alleged offenders of the law to extradite.

We are condemning this because it is a kind of sure recipe for disenchantment among the people and the resultant chaos. It exemplifies a total lack of discipline by both the law breaker and the supposed law enforcer. No one wants to feel hard done by and certainly, no one likes to fall victim to such blatant injustice.

Once what is good for the goose is no longer considered to be good for the gander, an undercurrent of disgruntlement will well up and from that point onwards, things can only go downhill. If we allow things to continue like this, a visitor in Nigeria may therefore not be too surprised when he encounters epileptic power supply and might be that surprised when the law enforcement personnel ask him to bribe his way into the town.

If Nigeria as a country is genuinely ambitious about attracting the right type of investors discipline must be sacrosanct because without it, most of them wouldn’t touch us with a long barge pole.

Selective enforcement of the law, unpredictable outcomes to actions and indiscretions and a collective mind-set which asks, “Can I get away with it?” Rather than, “Is it right?”

Simply won’t make them or their investment feel safe. Lack of discipline corrupts everything and the sooner we come to the realisation that discipline can actually be a friend that enables us to ultimately get what we want rather than a stumbling block to our progress, the better.

Discipline needs to be inculcated from the home and further reaffirmed at school. A child who lacks discipline while at secondary school where there’s still a modicum of monitoring is bound to go haywire at university where he’s essentially free to do whatever he likes; not to talk of when he’s out of the school system entirely. So, once you miss it in the formative years of an individual’s life, it becomes much harder to get it right later in life. Even if not impossible.

A visitor to Lagos who observes that in this society, it is when a motorist indicates that he wishes to change lane that vehicles will speed up to ensure you can’t, will quickly understand that this is a society where you take what you want with cunning or by force.

Politely requesting or sitting patiently with the belief that you will get what is due to you is often considered foolishness. When truth is, doing things the right way will eventually help both you and society in general because it will help to initiate order and bring sanity.

You won’t have to “fight” for everything because what is yours will come to you. As we also know, every action or inaction has consequences. If you discipline yourself to prepare for your exams, you’ll pass. If you don’t and feel you can wing it, you’re likely to fail.

Discipline is intentional. Decisions you take now will determine the direction your future will take. Yes, it is possible to correct things later but at what cost? So much time and resources may have been lost already. So, why not make the right decisions from the beginning. Why not discipline yourself to do the right thing at the right time.

More than ever, our nation is desperately in need of transformational leadership; leaders who possess the resolve to say “No” to the normalisation of wrong values; leaders who are no longer willing to stand by the side-lines while the nation burns and the future of our offspring disintegrates before our very eyes; leaders whose default mode is not to make excuses for non-performance.

Nigeria, no doubt need leaders ready and able to inspire responsible citizenship. Besides, this country needs leaders who don’t wait to be given a position or leadership title of some kind before doing all of the above.

We say to Nigerians, if you’re one of those who turns into a street in the wrong lane because you don’t want to allow oncoming traffic to temporarily halt your movement; or you decide to form another lane just because of slow moving traffic, you’re actually part of the nation’s problem.

You therefore lack the moral right to complain about the sorry state of our society because your selfish action inadvertently leads a multitude of Nigerians to “perdition” as they do the same. As the saying goes, “what goes around comes around.”

One significant thing about social rejuvenation is that it doesn’t require a whole population of geniuses; only a steely resolve by individuals like you to always do the right thing, beginning from one’s own little corner.

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