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Monday, 2 September 2013

The Mexican Statement and trends in Nigeria



                                                                    
 

In my second article on this series of public relations as a profession, I discussed What Public Relations Is What Public Relations Is-the definition of public relations. In that article, I mentioned some of the definitions given by public relations experts. However, because of the popularity and the wide acceptance of the definition given by the World Assembly of Public Relations which is also known as the Mexican Statement, I have chosen to use it to analyze the judiciary, corruption, religion, education, politics and crimes in Nigeria, in this third article.


Looking critically at the Mexican Statement, there is one very important word used in that definition. That world is “Trend”. What is trend? According to the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, trend is “a general tendency or direction”. There are dangerous trends in Nigeria at the moment. The first trend that poses a grave danger to the Nigerian society presently are people who are involved in monumental corruption whose cases have been in the courts for years without judgment being delivered on them but petty thieves are given expedited court trial and jailed for upward of 5-10 years or sentenced to death!
In 2010, an Osogbo Magistrate Court ordered that a 41 year-old attempted bungler, Mr. Timoth Awolowo be given 10 strokes of the cane once in two months for five years while in prison. His crime was that he attempted to bungle into a house but was caught.  Also, one Adamu Abubakar was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for trying to spend a fake Nigerian currency note at Darazo Market Bauchi State when he arrested and arraigned in court. Likewise, a Jos High Court sentenced one Obinah John, a 26 year-old-man, to death by hanging for robbing one Dorothy Olaniyi of N1,705. The convict was also sentenced to death for robbing Olaniyi of two rolls of peak milk sachets, valued at N400!
Former Inspector General of Police, Tafa Balogun embezzled a whooping N17 billion police’s fund that was meant to provide uniforms, shoes, accommodation, equipment etc for the police force. Tafa Balogun was tried and sentenced to three months imprisonment only! He has since completed his jail term and he is now enjoying his stolen wealth abroad. How does three months imprisonment commensurate with N17 billion theft? Early this year, Mr. John Yusuf Yakubu who was involved in the N32.8 billion police pension scam, was sentenced to two years imprisonment but was dramatically given an option to pay a paltry sum of N750,000 to get freedom which he paid without qualms! It is on record that ex-governors who stole hundreds of billions of naira are walking with shoulder high on our streets. It is unimaginable to know that while people who are involved in minor thievery are made to face the full weight of the law, those involved in large scale corruption and thievery go scotfree! With time, Nigerians will begin to see corruption a way of life; a norm.
This trend is dangerous because it emboldens people to steal huge sums of money from both private and public tills with impunity as they know they will not be punished. This is why ex-governors who have milked their state treasuries dried are moving freely on the streets because they have stolen enough money with which they bribe Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs), who help them secure frivolous court injunctions and adjournments of their cases intermittently! This is a calamitous trend because when the people lose confidence in the judiciary, they will take law into their hands and engage in jungle justice. When the judiciary shields corrupt people from punishment because they have a share of the stolen money from the culprits, the impoverished masses will engage in armed robbery, kidnapping and other vices which will also affect the members of the judiciary. This is why lawyers have become victims of kidnapping.
The trend in the religious circle today, especially the churches, is about prosperity preaching; not about repentance and how to go to heaven as it was in the early 1970s. This is why the focus of most Christians at the moment is all about making money by hook or by crook. Now people steal mobile phones, money, bags, jewelries etc in churches and give testimonies about such things as the blessings of God in churches! Also, there is a worrisome trend in the education sector presently. Since there are no employment opportunities in Nigeria, many youths that supposed to be in tertiary institutions do not have the desire to attend university. This is the reason why they resort to petty trading and hawking. This is not healthy because it further increases the illiteracy rate. The trend in the political space which has become “a-or-die affair” in Nigeria due to the huge amount of money people make from it calls for concern. This trend encourages people to assassinate their perceived political opponents so they can occupy such offices in order to have access to large sums of money that are available in politics. This is because leadership in Nigeria is not above service to the people but simply to amass illegal wealth!
 Another trend that poses grave danger to the Nigerian society is government negotiating with militants and compensate them. This is a very dangerous trend because any group of people can take up arms against the government at any time, the government will negotiate with such a group and compensate them without such a group rendering any services to the government! It also shows that the government is weak.
In a nutshell, the current trends in Nigeria are fearsome and will become inimical to the peace of the country in future if not checked now. Corruption, political assassination, militancy, armed robberies, kidnapping, human trafficking etc will become a way of life and a norm.

My next article in this series will be “Public Relations as Proactive Profession”. Watch out for it. 



Dear VME readers, what trends in your environment if not checked now will become dangerous in future? Please leave your comments in the comment section. Thank you.






 

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