“There is no more dangerous menace to civilization than a

Government of incompetent, corrupt, or vile men”. 

Ludwig Von Mises. 

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only” . – Charles Dickens:  A Tale of Two Cities

The Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, said, “Woe to the rulers! And woe to the chiefs! And woe to the trustees! Some people will wish on the Day of Resurrection that their hair was hanging from the sky and swinging between heaven and earth rather than to have done what they did.”  Reported by Abu Huraira.

Late Ayinde Barrister lamented in one of his songs ‘Omo Nigeria, nibo ‘lanlo’; ‘Nigerians, where are we going’?

It is indeed a period of woe and lamentation. Our leaders have betrayed us. They took us on a boat ride and abandoned us in the deep sea; in a boat without oars. We are today drifting in an uncharted and uncertain sea. What hope do we have of reaching the ‘Promised Land’? When this journey started, we had high hopes but today our revolution of rising expectations has turned into a revolution of rising frustration, bordering on despondency: The ‘changee’ we all clamoured for and voted for, has today become retrogression. Our people are today jobless and those that do have are being owed for months. Our leaders have become more confused and they now speak in ‘babelian’ tongues; contradicting each other and unsure of what to do.  Under this atmosphere of confusion, violence is not far around the corner. Our patrimony has been squandered and embezzled. Our national coffers broken into and brazenly robbed. The proceeds from these serial robberies are today sitting comfortably in overseas banks and real estates, to be enjoyed by their children and children’s children and those yet unborn.

Allah in the Quran, Surat Az-Zukhruf, and Ayat 32 said:

Is it they who would portion out the Mercy of thy Lord? It is We Who portion out between them their livelihood in the life of this world: And We raise some of them above others in ranks, so that some may command work from others. But the Mercy of thy Lord is better than the (wealth) which they amass. (Quran 43:32)

 Yet, they are here again, asking us to tighten our belt. We are being squeezed to the bone., with no more space to tighten; we are tired! What happened to the promises of a better life? What dividend accrued to us? Where are the jobs? Stolen! Our pensions and gratuity? Stolen. Our roads, electricity, houses and the food on our tables? All stolen.  Our fathers are today jobless, while our mothers have no goods in their shops. The children are out of school and those that pass out have joined the swelling army of the unemployed. Like dispossessed and orphaned children, we walk naked in the streets eking for food from the dustbins; that is if there is any. Today there is much poverty in the land. Poverty in the midst of plenty. Poverty now parades our streets in nakedness and yet our ‘leaders’ are busy fighting each other over useless issues that are of no consequence to our daily bread. I ask, ‘where are we going’? We need change and we need it now; but not the change ‘ala’ electoral promises: real and meaningful change; a change for a better and prosperous life.  

A few years ago, before our self-inflicted economic meltdown, many states in the federation had allocations which made their budgets the envy of many countries on the West African coast.  For example, ‘In 2013, the top 10 Federal allocations went to the following states: Akwa Ibom (N260b or $1.7b); Rivers (N230b or $1.5b); Delta (N209b or $1.3b); Bayelsa (N173b or $1.1b); Lagos (N168b or $1.1b); Kano (N140b or $0.9b); Katsina (N103b or $0.7b); Oyo (N100b or $0.6b); Kaduna (N97b or $0.6b) and Borno (N94b or $0.6b).” “Many Nigerian states received revenue allocations which are larger than the budgets of neighbouring countries such as: Liberia ($433 million), or Gambia ($210 million) or Benin Republic ($1.47 billion). The top two recipients of state allocations –Akwa Ibom and Rivers –receive $3.1 billion, which is about half of the entire budget of Ghana (about $6.4 billion). On a per capita basis (i.e. revenues/population), the top three recipients of federal allocations per capita are: Bayelsa (N84, 500 or $545), Akwa Ibom (N55, 600 or $360) and Delta States (N42, 000 or $270). On this per capita basis, many Nigerian states receive more than neighbouring countries such as: Ghana ($255), Benin Republic ($146), Liberia ($103), and Gambia ($117) …” (See Dr. Okonjo Iweala, lecture at 2014 Convocation of Babcock University).   It is instructive to ask ourselves, what our leaders did with such fantastic allocations. They were stolen. Today, all the states with very few exceptions are owing their workers months of salary and are now receiving bail-out funds from the federal government; which itself is out begging for loans and even contemplating selling our national assets, in order to bail itself out of the economic quagmire: With our Naira sliding daily and approaching the 500 to one Dollar mark: What an irony and a twist of fate!!!

Allah said in the Quran:

“And O my people! Give just measure and weight, nor withhold from the people the things that are their due: Commit not evil in the land with intent to do mischief. (Quran 11:85)

For more than a year now, people living and working in Apapa have been under siege, caused by unprecedented traffic on the only two approaches to the port: A situation that has now been exacerbated by the infrastructural degeneration of the only two gateways in and out of the city: Yet, Apapa is the 8th largest port complex in Africa comprising Apapa Port and Tin Can Island Port. The Tin-Can Port complex has the dubious honor of being the only port complex in Africa, if not in the world, that is not served by a railway line for the evacuation of containerized cargo.  Yet it need not have been like this if our leaders have had the foresight to plan ahead while developing the port of Tin-Can some 40 years ago. This port was developed without any provision for expansion. What land that could have served as avenues for expansion were stolen (carved out and divided among our leaders; Ibafon, Beachland and the Kirikkiri waterfronts up to the Ferry port in Mile 2); all of which could have been available today for port expansion. Ask them who own these places and you would be shocked. Today, some of them are still parading our narrow world as political colossus and pontificating on political and economic issues. Bloody thieves! And like someone described them this week “political scallywags”!

According to the Dubai leader, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in his epic book, My Vision: Challenges in the Race for Excellence, he wrote “The crucial point in Dubai’s modern history was the dredging of the Creek and the construction of a modern port. … Following the deepening and widening of the Creek, my father expected Dubai would soon attract much more trade……..he decided that much larger port facilities in deeper water were needed. In 1969 he ordered construction of Port Rashid. He kept on increasing the size of the port and eventually two years to completing it he surprised everybody by ordering the construction of a larger new port; the port of Jabel Ali, which today is the biggest port in the Middle East.”  It is instructive to know that Jabel Ali, is a deep port located in Jebel Ali, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Jebel Ali is the world’s largest man-made harbour and the biggest and by far the busiest port in the Middle-East. Jebel Ali was constructed in the late 1970s at about the time the military government under General Yakubu Gowon commissioned the construction of our Tin-Can Island port under the supervision of then Commissioner of Works. We all know what happened; the ghost of Beachland Estate has not been buried. One day a Daniel will come to judgement!

With all our oil money we cannot boast of anything comparable. In 1985, Emirate Airlines began operation with 2 chartered jets, but today it boasts of about 250 ‘state of the art’ jets and arguably one of the best airlines in the world; not to mention its airport, which in itself is a tourist attraction. If we might ask, ‘what became of our Nigerian Airways, which in the late seventies to early eighties had the largest fleet in Africa? Indeed, it was the best of times and the worst of times.

Narrated Ma’qil; I heard the Prophet (saws) saying“Any man whom Allah has given the authority of ruling some people and he does not look after them in an honest manner, will never feel even the smell of Paradise.” Sahih Muslim – Volume 9, Book 89, Number 264.

God calls His people to trust Him, to live carefully, to be watchful, and to pray in troubled times: And indeed we are praying. In Luke 21: 25-28, Jesus had something to say to his disciples about the uncertain and troubling times that would come to them; it can apply to us now.

25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;

26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.

27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.  (Luke 21: 25-28) KJV

War and insecurity, terrorist threats, starvation, uncertain economic times, levies, wage cuts, lay-offs, higher taxes, more pressure on the job, austerity measures, declining income and productivity, currency devaluation, declining value of export, and most important, the shaking of our inner peace: Suddenly, the end time is here. When will our redeemer cometh?

These are uncertain times. Is your peace shaken?  What do we do? We are on the ’Road to Golgotha’. May Allah direct our leaders to reverse this downward slide!

Show us the straight way; The way of those on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy Grace, Those whose (portion) is not wrath, and who go not astray.  (Quran 1:6-7)

Barka Jumuah and a happy weekend!

Babatunde Jose

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