Greed and selfishness have caused Nigeria’s woes.
The wanton greed and selfishness of the political class in Nigeria is the bane of the nation’s progress, Pius Adesanmi, guest speaker at the second “State of the Nation” lecture organised by the Save Nigerian Group, SNG, in Lagos, on Monday, said.
Mr. Adesanmi, an Assistant Professor in the Department of English and Literature at the Carleton University, Canada, explored the topic, “What Nigeria Owes the Tortoise.”
He drew deep analogies from traditional Yoruba folklore. He compared the financial profligacy of the Nigerian ruling elite to that of the proverbial greedy tortoise who thinks of no one but itself.
After highlighting the tortoise’s greed and selfishness, Mr. Adesanmi told the audience that they are principally meant to provide a didactic context. He advised the audience against emulating the attributes of the tortoise.
“When Ijapa offers his precarious adventures in folktales as a pedagogical canvas of behaviours that the individual must avoid, we know that those defiant behaviours almost always come down to two things, the first is greed, especially that form of greed which privileges consumption above all other areas of human experience.
“The second behaviour to which the trickster figure in the folktale hold an exclusive copyright and which we are constantly not suppose to plagiarise is even deadlier than the first sin. It is individualism. Individualism is the father of selfishness,” he said.
He lamented that the country’s political elites have “plagiarised” the tortoise’s greed and individualism leading to a situation where they are only concerned with gorging and sharing the common good of the people among their ilk.
“If you look at our post regional history, you will easily determine that we have produced, at least, three generation of leaders which ethos and philosophy of governance evolves on wantonly plagiarising the playbook of the tortoise.
“Each generation of rulers has been worse than the one immediately preceding it,” he said.
Also present at the lecture were the convener of the SNG, Tunde Bakare; former minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nasir El-Rufai; former member of the House of Representatives, Dino Melaye; and former Lagos governorship candidate, Jimi Agbaje.
The SNG called on Nigerians to repeat last January protest against a hike in the pump price of petrol in order to plug the greed of the political elites the group says is “leading Nigerian on the path of self destruct.”