Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha, got the web reeling in laughter thanks to a clip from an interview he gave recently in which he asked the interviewer to go look up the meaning of “Iberiberism”.
Beyond the laughs, he mentioned something else we all should take a lot more seriously.
Okorocha stated that any government official who does not have a second job has no choice but to steal – he slyly exempted himself and other governors by saying they earn ₦750,000 as monthly salary, but said other government officials with no second job as source of income, it is inevitable that such persons would steal.
This coming from a sitting public office holder – and not just any office but the governor’s – speaks volumes of the level of corruption Nigeria is buried under as well as the dire state of the economy that stealing is the first option that came to his mind rather than another legitimate source of income.
This has come to be Nigeria’s lot because of the high level of indiscipline among citizens – many are prone to mismanage public funds if they find themselves in public office owing to a “I’ll take care of mine first like all the people before me have done before getting to the issues at hand” attitude.
Also, Okorocha probably would not have made such statement if the issue of inflation (which stands at 12.5% at the moment, which is bad for the country in case you were wondering) had been addressed appropriately instead of the government being busy delaying budget passage for months while also laying excuses for the country’s economic lapses on the failings of previous administrations.
Rather than carefully mapping out strategies to further reduce the inflation rate to single digit, increase delivery in oil production and sales, power supply, food processing, exportation, transportation, and other key sectors of the economy, we are saddled with the reality of having to steal in order to make ends meet.
And all this in an economy which has fixed minimum wage at ₦18,000 per month (about $50 – yes, just the one zero after the five) while food prices for instance remain out of reach for those earning minimum wage. Then you add daily transportation, accommodation, fuelling your generators… the picture of suffering becomes an unbearable sight.
Iberiberism aside (and no, I won’t bother looking up the meaning in any dictionary), Nigeria continues to show an unwillingness to move away from the rot it is trapped in which makes for sad reading and calls for serious soul searching among us all to cleanse the polity of people interested only in lining their pockets nicely and put those with the country’s best interests in the positions to make a positive impact in governance.