According to Selywn Hughes, “Real change is an inside matter. It begins at the core of the personality and works its way out”.
We may not recognize it or otherwise be cognizant of it. We may oppose it, or even try to accelerate it. No matter what our position may be, change makes its course in the evolution of human effort.
Heraclitus, a Greek Philosopher, will tell you that the only thing that is constant is change. However, change may be negative or positive. For almost eight months now, Nigeria has been experiencing recession, that is, a temporary decline in economic activity, trade and prosperity. And if we are not careful, it could get worse even to austerity measure. The government’s inconsistent economic policies over the year contributed a lot to this mess.
When President Olusegun Obasanjo came in 1999, the economy was in a shambles due to corruption but he assembled the best brains and fixed the economy. In fact, he brought Nigeria out of the quagmire except that along the line, he derailed.
Steve Covey says that it is not what happens to you or people’s actions that matter, but your reaction. Today, shipping companies are withdrawing from Nigeria as well as airlines due to unfavourable forex policies. It was alleged that foreign airlines found it difficult to repatriate their money.
It looks as if everything is stagnant. For us to start experiencing any meaningful change, the Presidency should as a matter of urgency, cut down on the cost of governance. It would amount to irresponsibility for the government to go on as usual. Allowances and salaries of our legislators should be slashed.
There is no justification for the jumbo allowances our federal lawmakers receive at this moment of economic hardship and distress when millions of Nigerians cannot afford three square meals a day. A Nigerian Senator is said to be the highest paid in the world, earning more than the American president. Yet, they claim to be representing us and our interest. What a bogus claim!
I, therefore, suggest that law making business in Nigeria should be made part-time. It is glaringly that ordinary Nigerians are really suffering in the midst of plenty.
John Quncy Adams says, “the great object of the institution of civil government is the improvement of the conditions of those who are parties to social contract and no government, in whatever form constituted, can accomplish the lawful end of its institution but in proportion as it improves the condition of those over whom it is established.”
What are we in actual fact changing when people are invariably being chained in one way or the other through economic recession? One needs to ask whether we are really honest with the way we are handling our economic matters at this crucial moment.
According to Thomas Jefferson, “the whole of government consists in the art of being honest”.
There is need to build every part of the country, whether East, West, North or South. It is an ugly sight to behold that most of the federal roads in the country are death traps. Precisely, the federal roads from Aba to Port Harcourt, Onitsha to Awka, Awka to Enugu etc are unmotorable. If we cannot change when circumstances demand, how do we expect others to change.
Just as Henry D Thoreau rightly observes, things do not change, rather we change. And in the words of late Nelson Mandela, “In order to build a nation, we must all exceed our expectations”.
Okoye writes from Port Harcourt.