Hey Women, Let’s Kick-Out Corruption

Nigerian women hoping for a better future The book The Millionaire Next Door by  Thomas J. Stanley, Ph.D and William D Danko, Ph.D teaches t

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The book The Millionaire Next Door by  Thomas J. Stanley, Ph.D and William D Danko, Ph.D teaches that a family man seeking to get rich must learn to exercise a lot of financial discipline particularly as it relates to satisfying the needs of the family. An in an introductory encounter with economics in the secondary school, we were taught that you can never satisfy human wants as they are unlimited, so you have to set priorities and address your needs according to available resources.

Family demands are countless and rather than diminish with time, they increase because the world is in a constant state of change. Thus if you do not have the power to say no to some demands, you are likely to find yourself living above your means, needing to borrow and in more extreme cases, steal.

The greatest pressure on the man in this country is how to provide for his family. He is obliged to feed, clothe, shelter and educate his family. Unfortunately not many are able to exercise the needed discipline as we see husbands overstretching to please their wives and children and in the process, dipping their hands into funds placed under their care. Even though they are civil servants with limited resources, they allow themselves to be talked into sending their children to high fee paying schools, preferably abroad, highly expensive cars, holidays overseas, building mansions, designer clothes, shoes and bags, etc. These are all pursued in order to belong to the trending circle, ‘The Joneses’ and that is how corruption is fueled.

The result is that the attempt to pursue this life above one’s means has become a general malaise, from permanent secretary down to the messenger, all cutting corners to make more money to be respected at home and in the village while services suffer. Higher up the political office holders declare projects as commissioned which have not been executed. They do not even know that converting constituency fund to self-use or failing to fulfill electoral campaign promise is corruption.

Thus all sectors of the country are facing problems. Our hospitals lack services because facilities are decadent and eve when available, are side-tracked by officials for use in their private clinics. Stories are told of two governors in the South-South who built modern specialist hospitals for themselves one in South Africa and the other Nigeria while their state hospitals were lacking. They had hoped to make wealth from these after office. Unfortunately for them, they built these under proxies who denied them as they left office. Imagine what would have happened if the two hospitals were state structures, how many lives would have been saved, how many medical staff employed and new knowledge transferred.

Currently, there is an almost daily disclaimer on announced government completed projects as more and more people are beginning to boldly challenge false claims. Recently the federal government announced it has completed and commissioned a dam in OgwashiUku, Delta State but a citizen took the pain to visit and video the dam site to tell the world that claim was a lie. Allowed to fly, that would have robbed the community of the right to water and the improved power generation the project was meant to offer them. Women in OgwashiUku face serious water problem at the moment relying mostly on harvested rain water.

Our public universities have been off session since October last year because government has not kept to its promises on improvement. Secondary and primary schools are no longer being run efficiently and half-baked students are being churned out, raising a generational danger for the country. Our roads are death traps. The country is in recession with many suffering from depression brought about by hardship, a result of many years of massive corruption.

As this corruption continues to eat into the marrows of our bones, I want to suggest that women as home menders rise up and help this troubled country. The woman is the second hand that holds the world; the helpmate of the man, the unpaid counselor, the prudent home manager and family motivator. She is the eye of the family, the dream builder, confidant of the children and most often, the husband. This special position in the family makes her the most likely candidate to help bring Nigeria back on her feet.

How will this be? A re-think. A realization that corruption harms women more than any other group in the society. With a troubled economy, the stress is more on women. They have to think harder, look further to stretch what resources are available. They have to attend to the needs of the numerous unemployed youths forced by circumstance to lay about at home all day; to watch over the girl-child now a seriously endangered species as ritualists, yahoo boys, human part dealers and human traffickers are massively on the prowl.

With realization should come the need to re-examine our individual roles. Let us as women ask ourselves if we have in anyway, contributed to the corruption in the country. Have we been knowingly or unknowingly contributing to corruption by thoughts, words or deeds (Apologies to the Catholics)? Have we been comparing our family to other families, thereby forcing ‘Oga’ to look around to stop the nagging? Have we been urging for a bigger house even knowing that our salaries put together cannot carry the burden? Are we spending regardless of where the money comes from? Do we give our children the impression they can ask for anything rather than teach them that people plan according to their capability and that everybody does not have to be rich at once?

Have we ever frowned when we perceive our partners are trying to circumvent the rule in order to rake in money for personal use? When your salaried husband suddenly buys a mansion and sends you on holiday abroad, do you ask where the money came from and reject the sudden wealth knowing something has suffered to make that possible?

You the mother, sister, aunty waiting to receive a car/house gift from your son, brother, aunty when you know his salary can only feed him and his family do you ponder to think about who has been cheated to amass that wealth? Remember the Police Pension Fund, how old men and  women pensioners were dying waiting for verification in Abuja while the Fund officials were moving their billions into personal accounts.

Even you enjoying money obtained by trick by your husband, son or boyfriend from cyber fraud has it occurred to you that you are involved in corruption? Every woman ought to have an idea of what her son, husband earns. In fact, it is advised that couples should know what each other earns as it would curb unnecessarily high expectations and help in planning the family budget.

And you that revel in the loot from your daughter, mistress to the treasury looters, do you not know it not rightfully acquired? Or you that force your daughter into trafficking so you can have money are you any different? And those of us in positions of authority have we been any different from the men?

There are so many ways we can help re-build this nation. Let’s stop the waste by making the men understand that ill-gotten wealth which if discovered will bring shame to the family, is not what we want. Let us encourage them to keep straight, do what is right, carry- out projects with development in mind; offering service above self enrichment knowing that with proper planning and management of what is their due, the right wealth will come; one that the EFCC cannot pursue you over.

When facilities are in place, not much wealth is needed and when we curb corruption, there will be good schools at cheap rates for our children, good hospitals, good roads, effective power supply, etc. Above all, businesses will grow and open up employment opportunities for our children and when people are busy, there will be no room for ritual killings, yahoo, trafficking, etc. The solution lies in our hands; women let us join hands to kick out corruption from Nigeria!

By Constance Meju, publisher, gender and environmental justice advocate