So religious yet ungodly
NATIVES of Far East Asia live about 7,000 Nautical miles away from our society, and they constitute about 20 per cent of the world’s population. They are not fanatical (unlike most of us) about their religious beliefs, which are; Buddhism, Taoism, Shinto (in Japan) and Christianity (not one of the major religions).
They don’t have solid minerals (except China); but their Asian values, strong authoritarian government and low tolerance for corruption, have propelled them into a highly technological, industrial and competitive economy that now makes the western world jittery. Although some level of corruption exists there like the corruption scandal that rocked the Chinese top leadership (Bo Xilai scandal) and the net worth of some Chinese leaders; but corruption level there is a child’s play compared to what is obtainable in our fatherland. Drug pushing is death by firing squad
The Chinese former head of the State Food and Drug Administration was executed for receiving one million dollars in bribes to approve faulty foods and medicines. Likewise South Korean former President committed suicide to save face for being accused of embezzling $6 million (USD) state funds.
Our society would have celebrated them (what a contrast)!
The Chief Executive of our leading automobile industries once said that if you reach an agreement to deliver certain service to Japanese and you fail, automatically you lose his confidence and he cannot do business with you again. The Japanese, according to him, have a culture that even if there is an earthquake, they keep their promise.
Although their cultures pre-date western civilisation; the industrial revolution, colonisation of African and South-American countries (amongst other factors) made western culture the pre-eminent force in the world.
These people observed some flaws in Western Democracy – violent culture, drug abuse, crime, and since they wanted Governance that work and in tune with the Asian values of the people, they employed unorthodox long term policies in their nation’s best interest.
They came up with productive agricultural programmes, established a business friendly environment and modest tax policies, modification of price distortion, and this attracted foreign investors.
They developed goods for export markets, start small low-tech, playing to the advantage of cheap labour with their abundant human resource. Later as labour became more expensive and population more educated, they moved up the ladder; exporting electronics, computer, vehicles etc, and with emphasis on export they improved on their products till they became a force to be reckoned with.
The economies of Japan and the Newly Industrialising Economies (NIEs) of China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, and Taiwan, have produced dramatic improvement in human welfare and income distribution. These countries have been hailed as models of achievement for other emerging economies.
Our society has about one-fifth of Africa’s population, religious indoctrination is the first orientation a child receives, as parents ensure that children are brought up in their faith. The children are not allowed by family, society and the state to think, reason, or live outside the family ‘religious box.’
The social, political and sometimes economic price of leaving, renouncing or criticising religion is high.
This ‘religious picture’ is in paradox to what’s obtainable in the society we live in as we have; religious bigotry, widespread corruption (looting of state treasury), ghost workers especially in our parastatals, homicide, distortion in electoral process, disregard for due process and rule of law, ritual killings, acts of terrorism, ethnic and religious riot, extra judicial killings, kidnapping, and many more horrible things.
In our society, many people try to outsmart or take advantage of others giving the slightest opportunity; for example, the last reduction in fuel subsidy resulted in artificial scarcity as many filling stations hoard old stock to later sell at new pump price making excess profit, perhaps to avoid the risk of being shortchanged at the end of the day. Market women increase in prices of food items and other commodities were overdone, justifying the increase on transport cost, when in actual fact old stock were being sold.
The judiciary is not left out of corruption as judges subvert justice in favour of the highest bidder. It was puzzling when an ex-governor, acquitted of all corruption and money laundering charges by a Nigerian judge, pleaded guilty and was sentenced by a British Court.
Lawmakers, who are supposed to be anti-corruption agent in representing the people protect public funds and other resources, and enact laws in the country’s interest, end up with bribe allegation levelled against committee members carrying out investigation (e.g. Power Probe, Oil Subsidy and Capital Market).
The nation’s telecoms (NITEL) and national carrier (Nigeria Airways) could not survive in a competitive environment as a result of corruption.
Ironically, in spite of the massive expansion and rise in religious activities in Nigeria, there is a drop in values, morality and godliness. The dishonest use of God and religion, high greed level, ethnicity (tribalism), and ostentatious lifestyle is the apex of our problems. Our failed development visions and abandoned development programmes are as a result of corruption and weak leadership which if not addressed will make our visions remain a fantasy (like Visions 2000 and 2010).
• Oyedokun, an engineer, wrote from Lagos.