The social media have been awash with hate posts and a lot of people revel in abusing others and continually posting falsehood about others just to denigrate them or make them look bad before a gullible unsuspecting public.

Our country, which has failed over the past 57 years to develop into a nation because of some debilitating attitudes of its frustrated and uncritical citizens, continues to be the worse for it. Even the Bible insists that God will only heal a land where the inhabitants repent from their evil ways.

Some so-called leaders over this period under review have abused their office by stealing the meagre resources of this country, which by all standards, is a poor one. Someone recently compared the budget of the City of New York in the US of $82.2 billion for a population of a little over eight million inhabitants and Nigeria’s $22.3 billion with 170 million people (at an exchange rate of N304.7 to $1). I don’t want to give the other statistics here but it is cause for serious concern. Yet, those who steal the meagre resources here, mainly politicians and militicians with their collaborators in the public service are unfeeling. They do this without remorse.

In Yoruba land in years past, if anyone was caught in a bad behaviour like stealing, the entire family suffered for it. I recall a man, whose name was mentioned in a celebrated armed robbery case in the 1970s. He was one of the few richest people around in one of the major cities of the Yoruba race in Nigeria. After this incident, no one heard about his name again. All his children who could have continued with the family name, I believe, left the country in shame.

Today, people who stole and robbed the masses of their meagre common wealth flaunt the wealth, even after appearing in court for stealing and after being in the custody of EFCC. And wait for this, even the people who are the victims cheer them on. No shame about bad behaviour anymore. Those who fought in the National Assembly yesterday with torn dresses and the pictures all over the internet and the traditional media are today senators and transparency activists; yet it is alright for some people, even the journalists, as long as money changes hands. For our country to move out of the woods, we need to change our ways, condemn bad behaviour even if committed by our siblings or friends or people from our section of the country, and stay straight for the good of all.

It is annoying to hear “let us pray for our country” when all we need do is a change of attitude. Let me share something that happened in Germany before the unification. It is truly instructive. Back in the days when Germany was divided, a huge wall separated East and West Berlin. One day, some people in East Berlin took a truck load of garbage and dumped it over the wall on the West Berlin side. The people of West Berlin could have done the same thing, but they didn’t. Instead, they took a truck load of canned goods; bread, milk and other provisions, and neatly stacked it on the East Berlin side.
On top of this stack they placed the sign:
How very true! You can only give what you have.
My dear friends and family, what do you have inside of you? Is it hate or love? Violence or peace? Death or life?
What have you acquired over the years?
Is it capacity to build or capacity to destroy?
Is it ability to make money or steal money?
Is it ingenuity to develop good things that will benefit mankind or ability to bomb those good things that others have laboured to build?
Think about it!!!

Joe Bankole, a former director at the News Agency of Nigeria, is an Abuja based public affairs analyst

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