It’s a Monday morning and I’d just finished my interview programme ‘Entrepreneur of the Week’. I dashed upstairs to go check if Bella Naija had published Atoke’s Monday Banter (God bless that lady for me, I always look forward to her exciting posts) only for me to see 8 missed calls from a close friend of mine. Monday, 1048hrs; dude, you’d better be about to be assassinated for you to call me 8 times on a fine Monday morning. I called him back and he said we should do BBM which irritated me the more. While chatting with him, he told me his fiancée’s family was putting pressure on him to talk to his “old man” to drop money.
Let me explain. My friend’s ‘old man’ is a serving Honorable in the House of Representatives (that means money right?) and my friend just proposed to his girlfriend. The young lady isn’t from a rich home but this Honorable isn’t your everyday Nigerian Honorable. He’s a very humble, non-flamboyant man. The young lady’s family are of the opinion that Honorable should drop about N20m for the wedding (coming up in December). They also want a jamboree for a wedding, the who-is-who on the guest list; you know the whole trappings of a politician’s son’s wedding.
My friend knows his dad; he knows his dad will never drop such. He’s definitely not the ‘stealing’ type. His kids live their lives like their dad was a regular civil servant; they don’t go looking for favors based on old man’s political standing. In fact, to most of his political associates, his children aren’t known at all.
Sometime ago, my friend had issues with law enforcement agents, I was the first person he called to help him see if I could help out. After the ordeal, I jokingly asked him why he didn’t call his dad. He responded “my old man? He’ll tell you to face your troubles like a normal Nigerian same way you got into it like a normal Nigerian. That’s why I don’t get into wahala Nike. My dad is an amazing man but trust me, old man isn’t in my ‘in case of emergency list’ ”
I told him to calm down and talk to his fiancée, explain things to her so she’d be able to let her family know the situation of things; after all, you won’t go rob a bank because of a wedding.
After the whole chat, I then thought to myself, how will this country ever move forward? This is one of the many reasons Nigerian politicians steal and amass so much wealth in office. They have so many people who look up to them for favors and these people expect them to deliver promptly! Family members, political associates, church/mosque members, friends, former colleagues etc. We expect them to live in a certain way, we expect their kids not to look like regular people. You tell someone your uncle is an Honorable at the House of Representatives and you hear “ko ti e yo lara e” (e no show for your body). How is it expected to ‘show’? Just tell me how? You want to tell your friend about a guy you just met and you go “he’s XYZ and guess what, his father is a Minister!!!” O_O
Local party members aren’t left out; I call them the foot soldiers. These people ‘worked’ for the party during the elections and they expect the politician to return the favor once he gets into power by doling out money, contracts and appointments. It is pathetic. When these politicians especially lawmakers decide to come down to work on their constituency projects, majority (if not all) of the contracts have been awarded to party members/stalwarts, a good number of the beneficiaries of their empowerment programmes are party members. How exactly do we expect this country to move forward?
Here’s my question; from what I just wrote, do you think we (citizens) put a lot of pressure on our politicians? Do you think we encourage them to be corrupt? After all, they have to live up to the billings of being in power. Aside doing what we elected them to do, do you think we are part of the problem?
To the readers living outside Nigeria, please how does it work? Having an MP in one’s family – does it equate wealth? Or having a congressman as an uncle or a dad, does it amount to living a flamboyant life?
Photo Credit: newsone.com