Earlier this week, I read Linda Ikeji’s story about how her phone was stolen at The Palms and couldn’t help wondering why our moral values have degenerated to such a pitiable level. As much as I agree that the shameless display of wealth by the rich Nigerians can be very tempting, I do not think it’s enough excuse for us to resort to stealing and abusing trust because we want to be ‘up there’.
While many people blame unemployment, government policies and other societal factors for their actions, I still believe that every individual can decide to be whatever he/she chooses to become. My dad had a big bar which I managed for at least 5 years, but I still don’t drink. I had access to free beer and every excuse I needed but chose not to drink. So, as much as the societal factors play a role in shaping our decisions, the final decision will always rest on us as individuals.
A few weeks ago, a security guard in my office stole a very useless phone. When questioned, she said she did it because her colleagues who committed similar offences got away with it. A few days later, another one was caught on camera as he made away with 4 laptops. Both of them were sacked and handed over to the police. Ironically, these people were meant to prevent criminality in the office! So, they lost their job and trust in people.
If the excuse is that security guards are poorly paid, what about bankers who mastermind robbery attacks?
I’ve always said that Nigeria is not as bad as people are painting it. No doubt, things are in a mess, but that is not enough reason for us to drag our name in the mud. Honesty and integrity may not translate to immediate prosperity but they always bring in the desired wealth in the long run. All we need to is have patience.
You can dream of the millions, the fancy houses, luxury houses and designer clothes; but don’t despise your humble beginning. Whatever we steal will be exhausted someday but the victim will certainly move on to greater heights – except karma is playing itself out.
My friend’s car was stolen and when I visited him, I met him having fun with his other friends. He was in a good mood and acted like nothing happened. One his friends joked about the incident and referred to my friend as a big boy – and he’s a big boy for real. But check out my friend’s response:
“Before you start rating me as a ‘Big Boy’, remember this: there was a time in my life when I had nothing but hope. There was a time I was at the crossroad of life, but I chose my path carefully. I’ve worked hard for every kobo I have and I am sure that nobody will eat the fruit of my labour in peace, without my consent”
The car was found a few days later, and the robbers arrested.
No matter what life is throwing at you now, please don’t do what you cannot defend. In the words of my late mum “remember the son of whom you are”.