Opinion

Measuring time in epochs

O

ver two decades, or put appropriately for 21 years, democracy has been thriving in Nigeria. At these times, the hands of the clock had moved progressively tick tock tick tock. In most cases, it is a forlorn hope and not much the fornloner could do than to say, ‘E go better.’

 

 

The democracy day is about acknowledging and celebrating the contribution of every Nigerian who has made our nation thick. It is an opportunity to review the state of democracy – Rule of law, governance, restructuring, accountability, and political tolerance.  However, there is no denying the overwhelming piles of work that remains to be done, and one is undoubtedly right to believe that the country could have achieved still more progress than it has managed thus far.

 

We have been through turbulent times; corruption and inefficiency have plagued the nation. We have continued to be partners in crime and corruption. The engine of the economy has continued to idle softly and we have continued to dance around solutions unanswered. The steps taken so far had not been decisive enough to alter the existing system.

 

 

When I say we are all measuring time in epoch, what do I mean? I mean today one might be in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity; tomorrow it vanishes like a mist at the sight of sunlight. Whatever one is doing today, he is signing a promissory note which his children’s children are to fall heir. In other words, one descendant will cash the cheque someday. Who could have imagined Black American would rule American about 10 decades ago? But it became a reality in former U.S. President, Barack Obama who ruled for eight years from 2009-2017.

 

We have celebrated our democracy day on the 12th of June, it is a reminder that no matter how one quickens his pace, one can never measure up with time. The time that is quarter past three now will be a quarter to three in a couple of hours from now.

 

 

This brings me to a universal story of great nations that had measured time in epochs and rotted away like the fragments of dead wood. The interesting thing about this history is that none were ever destroyed by anybody else’s soldiers but themselves. 

 

 

History tells us that there was once a strongman, great and powerful who ruled over the affairs of the nation, an idealist, self-confident, intolerant to criticism. He created new rules to give commerce and finance a lift. He levied new taxes to take away their profits and destroy what he called monopoly of capital ‘to please labourers, he subsequently gave farmers loans and subsidies. The national debt mounted alarmingly. He was told he was building a castle on a quicksand but he refused to listen.’ This was the story of Emperor So Tung Po (Tsu Tong Phao) who led China to its doom over a thousand years ago.

 

 

Similarly, starting from 146 B.C. internal conditions in Rome were characterized by a flurry of class wars and conflicts, street brawls, corrupt governors. About 290 years after Christ. A Roman Emperor named Diodetian took over. It was during turmoil and severe depression the first he did was to call in gold and closed the bank and raised the taxes. He reduced the power of the Senate and delegated its power to a lot of government bureaus.

 

 

Incredible but true that he had a Transport Act back then, prescribing the fee required to rent one laden jackass per mile. In other words, a jack would have to carry five passengers to make profit. Not only that, he put millions of people on the public payroll, yet the country was still in quagmire.

 

 

What broke the camel’s back was that he froze wages, he froze jobs, he stopped profits, he dictated to the farmers what he should plant, when and how he should sell it. Eventually, the labour market closed down, incentive was gone, food was scarce, the city stagnated and Rome passed into was history recorded as the ‘dark ages’ lasting a thousand years.

 

 

For Spain, it was the internal economic strength of Spain that declined – the endless regulations which were first imposed upon the Kingdom of Castile and then the rest of Spain but the real cause of decline was internal, the economy being crushed by endless taxes and famous stranglehold of state regulations the “Spanish Practices”.

 

In the wane of their reign (Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile), Spanish landowners did not even really control their own land – they could collect rents (from poverty ridden tenants), but they could not fundamentally reform the way their land was farmed (as with the agricultural revolution in England) because Spanish law would not allow the removal of peasant plot farming – the sort of “Spanish Law” (preventing the modernization of farming) and century later, the war against the French occupation during the Napoleonic period add salt to Spain’s injury. As the years lengthen, the fountain of Spain withered in the flame as they lost grip of world power.

 

 

Once a President or office holders take possession of office, a lever is pressed and time starts to count. And before you say Jack Robinson the brew dawn turns to nightfall. At nightfall his accomplishment starts to be x-rayed.

What is the secret of a flourished Nation?

 

 

I checked through the archive of history and it tells me, the secret of a nation is accountability, transparency, education and equal opportunity for all. That is the basic American creed and that is why they possess more than 5% of the world’s good things.

Are our rulers measuring time in epoch?

 

 

•Anjorin contributes this piece from Lagos via olusanyaanjorin@gmail.com

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