Written By: Max Umeh

There is a natural law that touches every aspect of life. Nature expresses this law in various ways. No matter how nature expresses it, its meaning and message always remain the same. I dare to say just about everybody, young or old; rich or poor knows these clichés that say:

“What goes around comes back around; what goes up must come down; what you sow is what you will reap; and so on.”

This cliché simply means life is all about give and take. You can’t eat your cake and have it. The universe does not operate that way. It seems simple enough to understand, right?

But there are people who believe (or delude themselves) that it is possible to overturn this eternal universal law; that they can eat their cakes and have them. So with this misguided belief, they commit many atrocities against their fellow man and against creation for their selfish gain, believing they can get away with it.

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The average person would say “God will judge them.” Well, God need not come down and punish them himself. Because their own outrageous acts of evil are enough punishment for them in the long run. The evil they perpetrate always ends up turning around to bite them.

I know that most people, especially my fellow Nigerians reading this article would believe I am speaking from a political perspective as I did in my previous articles. However, I speak more from a perspective pertaining to the environment now.

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In the poor countries of the world, most people desire to jump ship; to abandon their homeland and elope to more developed countries with better economies and living standards, which also includes more serene and kinder urban settings that comprise a higher aesthetic value, practicality, order, and convenience.

The begging question, therefore, is why can’t these people who seek for so-called greener pastures elsewhere make their own countries as lush and inviting as those of the countries they desire to elope to?

The answer is clear. They see their homeland as a mining site; a place they can ravage and plunder without any plan of developing it. This is the reason such nations are so backward. They can never make progress because most of the citizens are only looking for what they can take from the land. And never stop to think of what they can give back to it. How then can their land produce fruits for them when they keep sowing thorns?

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Amidst their commercial activities, using all the resources the land provides, they destroy both natural and man-made facilities through sheer irresponsibility and negligence. The simple act of discarding empty soda cans, water sachets and bottles in the street; or dumping refuse into drainage systems, for instance, is a common thing in a country like Nigeria for example. Yet when the rains come and floods take place because of the blocked drainages such people will blame the federal government for not doing anything about it. And it would never occur to them that if they had taken care to dispose of these non – degradable materials in a designated waste bin that there wouldn’t be a flood, to begin with. 

We vandalise oil pipelines to sell the oil to the black market for chicken change for our immediate gratification, destroying infrastructure that serves the entire nation. And when an explosion erupts, spreading death and destruction, we blame the federal government.

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We destroy our inland waterways by dumping every imaginable waste material into them; both organic and inorganic. And when the repercussions befall us in the form of epidemics or biological disasters, we blame it all on the federal government.

We disobey simple traffic rules because we are always hurrying to nowhere. And when fatal accidents occur as a result, what do we do? We blame it on the federal government as usual. The list goes on without end.

It is easy and convenient to point fingers at our governments for every bad thing that happens, and for the sorry state of our nations without stopping to think if we are also at fault ourselves. Yes, the corruption among the ruling elite is a contributing factor. However, they are the minority. We the electorates are the majority. Most of what happens in our countries are largely dependent on us regardless of whatever the ruling elites do.

Therefore, we the electorates are to blame for the inhospitable state of our countries. Because we do not have the moral depth and sense of responsibility to take matters that affect us into our own hands. We keep asking “what can the government do for us?” But as the late J.F.Kennedy, the former U.S president once said, “Do not always ask what your country can do for you. Rather ask what you can do for your country.” We don’t always have to wait for the federal government to do everything. There are many things we can do for ourselves and for the country.

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It is only when we adopt this attitude that true positive change will be possible. We must learn to preserve the dignity and integrity of our nations as our highest priority. Only then can we create in our own backyard the same “lush paradise” that we see in other developed countries; in Europe and America.

It is high time we in Africa, Nigeria, cleaned up our own mess, and put our house in order. And stop running away like refugees to camp with others who have put their houses in order.

   © 2018 Maximus Rex Umeh. All rights reserved.

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