Greed, especially for money, is a cancer that has eaten deep within the fabric of our Nigerian society. Greed , (or avarice), according to Wikipedia, is an uncontrolled longing for increase in the acquisition or use of material gain (be it food, money, land, or animate/inanimate possessions); or social value, such as status, or power.
The famous English Philosopher and Political Economist, John Stuart Mills, aptly described it this way in his essay, utilitarianism. He wrote that “the love of money (which) is not only one of the strongest moving forces of human life, but money is, in many cases, desired in and for itself; the desire to possess it is often stronger than the desire to use it.”
This is exactly how the current generation in Nigeria feels like as greed and poverty forms a vicious cycle around the citizenry. Let us first take a look at some ridiculous show of greed and shamelesness.
Embarrassing local examples of greed
1. A fresh employee at a high brow primary school was elated to be part of an elite teaching staff only to be caught a few weeks later stealing stationary meant for the school and water bottles meant for pupils.
2. A worker in a plastic footwear factory was caught sneaking out decorations for plastic shoes and slippers. He got the sack immediately.
3. A care giver in a creche was caught on CCTV camera hiding food, snacks and diapers meant for babies. She also got the sack.
4. Another very common and annoying form of greed is when workers in a restaurant cart away food stuff meant for the business.
5. This one really choked me out. Many of us have observed how certain guests at parties would fill up bags with wines, food packs and gifts meant for ten other guests. A particular incident happened in a birthday party whereby the celebrant wrongly accused an event planner of carting away expensive bottles of wine. Lucky for her, the culprit was later discovered. But the event planner was also guilty of hoarding gifts, food packs and drinks.
6. During the pandemic, some schools relied on online schooling in order to carry out teaching activities. Some schools also organised online tests and exams. Shockingly, It was discovered that some parents assisted their children in cheating during the online exams.
7. This one also happened during the Covid-19 pandemic. Government officials carted away palliatives meant for the citizens and hid them in private warehouses. Allegations that these palliatives were even used as birthday gifts by government officials became an open secret.
The list goes on and on.
The reason money bags won’t invest in Nigerian factories
I wish to speak to the little ones. Take a ride with me, children, through the common streets in Lagos, say Egbeda or Ogba and tell me what you see at every saide, corner and crany of the streets. Of course, shops, stalls and many street hawkers abound everywhere.
I used to think that the only solution the Nigerian government could profer to the rising tide of street hawkers and conversion of residences into shops was to create factories. Also, I knew that this solution was not tenable with gargantuan epileptic power problem in Nigeria.
Aside from the power issue, investors refuse to build factories in the country. They fear because the greed in Nigerians are larger than the blue whale.
After listening to Voice Note on Nigeria Info, 99.3 FM, a popular Lagos radio station, I realized that the issue is not building factories. The radio station described why the rich will never invest in building factories in this country. The reason is not farfetched. The humongous greedy in our people make them connive with factory management, steal materials meant for the factories, sell them off and eventually bringing the business to ruins. If you wonder why Nigeria’s four refineries don’t work, this is the simple explanation: greed!
Risk takers, like Aliko Dangote prefer, to employ Indians for their honesty and better work ethics than to employ Nigerians who claim to be more Christian and more Moslem than the Pope and Arabs respectively.
So children, if you wonder why Nigeria still experiences black out; why we still need to import fuel; why public schools are still not functional; why public hospitals are a no go area; why the Nigeria Police is not friendly and why there is no future for the young generation. The answer lies in a five lettered word, GREED. With greed, there is no honesty. With greed, there is no trust. Without honestly and trust, our society has no solid foundation for progress.
Children, if you are a bully always snatching things that don’t belong to your, then you are part of the greedy gang. If you cheat during exams, you definitely are greedy.
If you are among those who telll lies in order to gain favour, you are nothing short of being greedy. If you take home pens, books, rulers and stuff that don’t belong to you, believe it or not, you are part of the greedy club and you are among those that are responsible for making Nigeria a hell hole, that is an unbearable place to live in.
Parents, guardians, ladies and gentlemen, let’s imbibe the spirit of honesty, selflessness and empathy and let us push harder in reviving the spirit of true humanity back into our society.