The book The Millionaire Next Door by ThomasJ. Stanley, Ph.D and William D Danko, Ph.D teaches that a family manseeking to get rich must learn to exercise a lot of financial disciplineparticularly as it relates to satisfying the needs of the family. An in anintroductory encounter with economics in the secondary school, we were taughtthat you can never satisfy human wants as they are unlimited, so you have toset priorities and address your needs according to available resources.
Family demands arecountless and rather than diminish with time, they increase because the worldis in a constant state of change. Thus if you do not have the power to say noto some demands, you are likely to find yourself living above your means,needing to borrow and in more extreme cases, steal.
The greatest pressureon the man in this country is how to provide for his family. He is obliged tofeed, clothe, shelter and educate his family. Unfortunately not many are ableto exercise the needed discipline as we see husbands overstretching to pleasetheir wives and children and in the process, dipping their hands into fundsplaced under their care. Even though they are civil servants with limited resources,they allow themselves to be talked into sending their children to high feepaying schools, preferably abroad, highly expensive cars, holidays overseas,building mansions, designer clothes, shoes and bags, etc. These are all pursuedin order to belong to the trending circle, ‘The Joneses’ and that is howcorruption is fueled.
The result is that theattempt to pursue this life above one’s means has become a general malaise,from permanent secretary down to the messenger, all cutting corners to makemore money to be respected at home and in the village while services suffer.Higher up the political office holders declare projects as commissioned whichhave not been executed. They do not even know that converting constituency fundto self-use or failing to fulfill electoral campaign promise is corruption.
Thus all sectors of thecountry are facing problems. Our hospitals lack services because facilities aredecadent and eve when available, are side-tracked by officials for use in theirprivate clinics. Stories are told of two governors in the South-South who builtmodern specialist hospitals for themselves one in South Africa and the other Nigeriawhile their state hospitals were lacking. They had hoped to make wealth fromthese after office. Unfortunately for them, they built these under proxies whodenied them as they left office. Imagine what would have happened if the twohospitals were state structures, how many lives would have been saved, how manymedical staff employed and new knowledge transferred.
Currently, there is analmost daily disclaimer on announced government completed projects as more andmore people are beginning to boldly challenge false claims. Recently thefederal government announced it has completed and commissioned a dam inOgwashiUku, Delta State but a citizen took the pain to visit and video the damsite to tell the world that claim was a lie. Allowed to fly, that would haverobbed the community of the right to water and the improved power generationthe project was meant to offer them. Women in OgwashiUku face serious waterproblem at the moment relying mostly on harvested rain water.
Our public universitieshave been off session since October last year because government has not keptto its promises on improvement. Secondary and primary schools are no longerbeing run efficiently and half-baked students are being churned out, raising agenerational danger for the country. Our roads are death traps. The country isin recession with many suffering from depression brought about by hardship, aresult of many years of massive corruption.
As this corruptioncontinues to eat into the marrows of our bones, I want to suggest that women ashome menders rise up and help this troubled country. The woman is the secondhand that holds the world; the helpmate of the man, the unpaid counselor, theprudent home manager and family motivator. She is the eye of the family, thedream builder, confidant of the children and most often, the husband. Thisspecial position in the family makes her the most likely candidate to helpbring Nigeria back on her feet.
How will this be? Are-think. A realization that corruption harms women more than any other groupin the society. With a troubled economy, the stress is more on women. They haveto think harder, look further to stretch what resources are available. Theyhave to attend to the needs of the numerous unemployed youths forced bycircumstance to lay about at home all day; to watch over the girl-child now aseriously endangered species as ritualists, yahoo boys, human part dealers andhuman traffickers are massively on the prowl.
With realization shouldcome the need to re-examine our individual roles. Let us as women ask ourselvesif we have in anyway, contributed to the corruption in the country. Have webeen knowingly or unknowingly contributing to corruption by thoughts, words ordeeds (Apologies to the Catholics)? Have we been comparing our family to otherfamilies, thereby forcing ‘Oga’ to look around to stop the nagging? Have webeen urging for a bigger house even knowing that our salaries put togethercannot carry the burden? Are we spending regardless of where the money comesfrom? Do we give our children the impression they can ask for anything ratherthan teach them that people plan according to their capability and thateverybody does not have to be rich at once?
Have we ever frownedwhen we perceive our partners are trying to circumvent the rule in order torake in money for personal use? When your salaried husband suddenly buys amansion and sends you on holiday abroad, do you ask where the money came fromand reject the sudden wealth knowing something has suffered to make thatpossible?
You the mother, sister,aunty waiting to receive a car/house gift from your son, brother, aunty whenyou know his salary can only feed him and his family do you ponder to thinkabout who has been cheated to amass that wealth? Remember the Police PensionFund, how old men and women pensioners weredying waiting for verification in Abuja while the Fund officials were movingtheir billions into personal accounts.
Even you enjoying moneyobtained by trick by your husband, son or boyfriend from cyber fraud has itoccurred to you that you are involved in corruption? Every woman ought to havean idea of what her son, husband earns. In fact, it is advised that couplesshould know what each other earns as it would curb unnecessarily highexpectations and help in planning the family budget.
And you that revel inthe loot from your daughter, mistress to the treasury looters, do you not knowit not rightfully acquired? Or you that force your daughter into trafficking soyou can have money are you any different? And those of us in positions ofauthority have we been any different from the men?
There are so many wayswe can help re-build this nation. Let’s stop the waste by making the menunderstand that ill-gotten wealth which if discovered will bring shame to thefamily, is not what we want. Let us encourage them to keep straight, do what isright, carry- out projects with development in mind; offering service aboveself enrichment knowing that with proper planning and management of what istheir due, the right wealth will come; one that the EFCC cannot pursue you over.
When facilities are inplace, not much wealth is needed and when we curb corruption, there will begood schools at cheap rates for our children, good hospitals, good roads,effective power supply, etc. Above all, businesses will grow and open upemployment opportunities for our children and when people are busy, there willbe no room for ritual killings, yahoo, trafficking, etc. The solution lies inour hands; women let us join hands to kick out corruption from Nigeria!
ByConstance Meju, publisher, gender and environmental justice advocate