The country Nigeria and in fact Africa is at the brink of collapse. This is because the country and continent are built up on loot riches. Loot riches are not the same thing as wealth. Therefore, it cannot last beyond one generation. It does not just fizzle away; it sweeps away the people who made it and their immediate posterity. It does not matter how many years it lasts. It does not go beyond one generation. It does not matter how huge it is, it, as always would be lost. Loot riches lead to wasted resources and lives. When you loot public resources or funds, you waste your life and the resources that you have stolen. In addition, you place a scourge and in fact, a curse on your posterity – children and relations who depend on you.
The holy writ and philosophies are clear about the law of sowing and reaping. You cannot sow corn and expect to reap apple. It has to be corn. You cannot sow hatred and hope to reap love. “For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he reap”. This law is immutable. There is nothing any man can do to change this law. Even the appearance of change in this law consequent upon the tide of the times when everybody including the very respected and dignified-appearing men and women steal public funds with impunity, build castles and 1000 room homes furnished with the best and costliest chandeliers and Arabian decorations like the one in Minna Niger State, it does not change or affect this law in any way. There are countless examples in Nigeria, nay Africa and indeed, the world over to show that loot riches is an ill-wind that does no one any good.
When those entrusted with public, company, organization or community money steal it, they prevent the people served by the resources of the social, infrastructural and economic impact of the stolen money. The thief, be he or she a pastor, governor, minister, president, commissioner, traditional ruler or chairman or managing director of the concern, unwittingly set themselves up for tendencies they have no moral power to control. Money has its own life. Acquired righteously or created as wealth, it changes the man or woman who has made it for good. Most times this wealth creator becomes a social, moral and developmental entrepreneur. His or her influence produces much goodness in the society and among the people. His or her life becomes the sources of good inspiration for the people around, especially the up and coming youth and leaders of tomorrow.
Money stolen from public coffers or business partners also has its own life. But instead of producing goodness, stolen money or loot riches produces more of the evil from where it originated. The man or woman who stole the money becomes an anti-social, immoral and a ruination entrepreneur. His or her influence produces more evil, rot, decadence and multiplicity of other vices that challenge the peace of the land. As the proverb goes the “fowl that perches on a clothe line and vows that the clothe line would never have rest, would also not have its own rest”. As the people lose their peace, so would the thief, though he may be a governor, senator, president, minister of whatever title he or she may go by.
To sustain loot riches, the thief-minister/governor/commissioner/board chairman/managing director/senator/president or whatever title gave him or her access to public funds would have to build a security apparatus which would require more and more money to maintain. As the people get more restive as a result of the decadence and degradation of their opportunities for self-actualization, more and more of the people turn to crime. As the crime market becomes more and more competitive, the criminals learn and improve on their sophistication. The growth in the crime zone diminishes the efficacy of the security apparatus in place, then the thieving senator or whatever position he or she holds would have to steal more money to improve the security infrastructure he or she already has in place. This is a vicious circle. Nobody, no matter how smart or stupid, can win.
It is like the proverbial “one sin leads to another”. This is the reality of the life of looters. That it takes a minimum of five lies to cover one lie and in multiples thereof, become the life story of the smartest looters. As he or she grapples with the dilemma of managing the looted funds, the looter becomes anti-social, a harbinger of more evil. And like the proverbial sheep that messes up its tail thinking it is messing up the barn for the owner to clean, this evil man or woman looter goes about shortchanging himself or herself as he or she shortchanges the society. Looters are like people who load a gun and point the same at their own toe and shoot. As stupid as shooting oneself in the leg while trying to be happy or live better lives is, so is every man or woman who loots to be rich.
A look at the lives of corrupt persons from first republic to this time and business people who have swindled their associates or the professional advanced fee fraudsters or 419ners clearly show that these people are a bunch of fools and imbeciles. One friend of mine said that if you are given a looter’s life with an additional one million Naira, you should still not take it. The implication: it is all foolishness. In the pitman shorthand text those days, we learn that “a fool and his money are easily parted”. The way and manner these thieving politicians and other fraudsters lose the riches they stole is evidence that they can only be fools and imbeciles.
This has led me to conclude that looters are nothing but fools and imbeciles. Real men and women cannot loot. Wise men and women would not loot after all the examples of the lives of those who have looted public funds in the past. Wise people usually learn from what happened to others. The fact that looting is still the predominant is an ominous sign which points to one dangerous fact – Nigerians are being led by fools and imbeciles. Do you again wonder there is no positive development in Nigeria and crime and all other inglorious things are happening in an oil rich country?
The IMF President was quoted as saying that all the money stolen from Nigeria by politicians since independence when converted to present dollars and laid one piece at a time on the ground, it would stretch to Mars and come back, not once, but seven times. Juxtapose that to the squalor, poverty and crime in Nigeria and you would have an El Dorado in this land if they stole and left us ordinary one tenth of what they stole. Now given the kidnappings, banditry, bank robberies, poverty, prostitution, infrastructural decay in Nigeria today, isn’t all the looting of public funds since this time tantamount to shooting oneself on the toe – proven act of imbecility? In fact, looters are actually the poorest people around. They have a poverty stricken mind.
Most looters see themselves as smart. Years back, when I could not even afford to eat twice a day after leaving secondary school, a man who left the same school with me at the same time without even a piece of paper of qualification had built himself a house, married, bought a CD-195 and also a Volkswagen Beatle car. This was in the early 1980s when the CD-195 was a symbol of making it. When I asked him he did it, he told I need to be smart. When I sought to know how I could be smart, he suggested I steal money from my employers, which he termed it an act of smartness. Today, while I am ruling in the professional and social world, he is struggling to become the secretary of a local motor park union – in fact, an agbero. Who is smart now, him or me?