The Greed of Nations

There is a book by Adam Smith called ‘The Wealth Of Nations’

Well, this post is crafted to highlight greed, primarily among politicians (with a touch on non-politicians, as well)

It is often amusing, seeing how politicians shamelessly cross-carpet without any thought for ideology. For them, it seems to be a matter of…  “it’s all in a day’s job, it goes with the territory”.

Equally so is the greed exhibited by politicians who oscillate permanently along the orbit / trajectory of governance.. the corridors of power.

The minister resigns to seek election as governor. The governor who has been in the saddle for eight years wants to become a senator, after having served as a minister in two different past administrations. The Senator who has legislated for six years, earning mind boggling sums, wants to turn-around and become a governor. A past Vice President was even rumoured as eyeing at a time Governorship of his home state.

Haba !

It is hoped that, one day,  desperate past governors won’t attempt to become commissioners as propriety and shame are no longer in the lexicon of our people.

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There is this fable that illustrates perfectly the behaviour of our
politicians, nowadays…

A greedy dog, with a juicy piece of bone securely clamped between its fangs, was passing across a bridge. Looking down, the dog saw its reflection, and thought it was another dog with a succulent bone in its mandibles. Hey, it ruminated to itself, would it not cool to have another sumptuous bone in addition to the one already in my hands (jaws)?

Of course, we know the rest of the story.

In failing to be satisfied and enjoy what’s already in its possession,  the dog is more concerned about what is out there.

This  same attitude latently and patently applies to lots of humans
(| graciously and loosely include politicians in that term!) …. greed.

Rather than focus on what we already have (which is usually already abundant), we are forever lusting aggressively after what we don’t have, and thus losing what we already have (like health, peace of mind, & reputation), in the process.

External things don’t make us happy. But rather, (lust for) external things have the propensity to make us unhappy when not managed properly, or if our hearts rule over our heads.

There is enough for our needs but not for our greed / wants.

Therefore, in our ambition and aggression to acquire the next big thing, next big position or, next big contract, let us pause from time to time to ‘Count our blessings and name them one by one’

We may just be surprised and find that the rambunctious races we engage in may be ‘actions executed by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying very little’ in the grand Scheme of things..

Let us slow down, sometimes, in our pursuits, so as to enjoy what we have.

7 comments for “The Greed of Nations

  1. Noni
    April 5, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    This cross carpeting and the pursuit for power in this instance is unique to Nigeria. Why? Because there’s nothing in the constitution that forces those swapping governorship for the senate to take a hiatus ie two years or a term before they can apply for the next position.

    Politics in Nigeria has not matured to the state where serving the people takes precedence over personal interests. And as we the people rarely ever demand anything of our leaders without a paid crowd getting involved, is the result a surprise?

    Even more ironic – and as far as I’m concerned, perfect examples of why elections in Nigeria isn’t free or fair – is now non-performing leaders are so easily re-elected to other positions.

    Adam Smith’s book was written in an era where only the wealthy voted and political power could easily pass from father to son or a favoured one for a price.

    Almost 340 years after the book was written, democracy and politics in the landscape where the book was written has changed enormously. Meanwhile in Nigeria in 2015, politicians behave as if the constituency called Nigeria isn’t important. And we’ve let them get away with it time and time again – unlike the generations since Adam Smith.

    • April 5, 2015 at 3:21 pm

      So, obviously, there is the need for reorientation of both the politicians as well as the masses. The days of ignorance and recklessness should be a thing of the past. We must march forward. But how do we go about this? Can anyone give us an idea? A step by step guide? Or a political blueprint?

      • Noni
        April 5, 2015 at 3:44 pm

        Historically there are precedence in other parts of the world, South Africa and the ANC during Apartheid being a perfect example. There’s an African political blueprint.

        There are many self-serving NGOs and organisations in Nigeria. The ANC was united in its aim, but also comprised of South Africans of diverse backgrounds and political persuasions. Nigerians needs to see themselves firstly as Nigerian and not see other Nigerians as “other”.

        It isn’t rocket science, we need to stop capitulating and waiting for someone to drop out of the sky and save us. God has shown us through these elections that power is in our hands. Now, we need to use that power responsibly.

  2. Afewgoodmen
    April 5, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    Great article. If only we can be content with what we have. If only we do not see politics as a farm in which we harvest all the time and give nothing back. If only. Then, maybe, we might have a great country to show for it!

  3. April 5, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    @Noni, I agree there with you. And I want to believe the transformation has started. We have realized that the power to change out destiny lies in our hands. But can we sustain the momentum? To elect is one thing, to make sure those elected are accountable and respond to the yearnings of the people is another thing altogether. Can we go the next stage and sustain that which we have gained?

    @afewgoodmen, if political offices are not made as lucrative, maybe we can get there.

    • Noni
      April 6, 2015 at 8:43 am

      @ Deoladoctor, we started during the fuel subsidy removal, and now, the 2015 elections.

      What are the common traits of both events? Persistence, being of one voice and showing up to make our voices heard. The lesson is simple and remains my mantra: nothing changes until we do something.

      These are small first steps. Those of us who care about Nigeria shouldn’t lose momentum. WE are the ones to keep our leaders on their toes. There are enough credible organisations in Nigeria we can align with, like EIE Nigeria and BudgIT.

      At the end of the day it comes down to we the people. For everyone who is happy with the status quo and stomach infrastructure, many of us want a better, more inclusive society and an accountable government. Other societies and communities organise under far more difficult political climates, why not us?

  4. April 6, 2015 at 10:04 am

    True words.
    Our destiny is in our hands. The power for sustainable change lies with us and we must strive to make sure we do not sell ourselves out.

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