By CHINAZO-BERTRAND OKEOMAH
Every great leader obeys a law called the law of delayed gratification. Simply put, the law expects one to shift enjoyment of certain benefits to the future if such act will make the future better. Thus anything we do today that puts our future in jeopardy is a breach of the law and amounts to feasting in the morning.
The Bible story of Esau and Jacob explains it. Esau could not delay gratifying his hunger, prompting him to sell his birthright to Jacob at the price of just one meal. Many of our rulers do this today in the marketplace of selfishness and greed, or cronyism.
Leaders who obey this law are blessed because they do not bring woes on themselves and those they lead. The book of Ecclesiastes 10:16-17 puts it this way: “Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child, and your princes feast in the morning! Blessed are you, O land, when your king is the son of nobles, and your princes feast at the proper time – for strength and not for drunkenness!” Most of our post civil war rulers, except one or two, are especially guilty of the former curse.
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We feast in the morning when our public servants build houses their legitimate income cannot sponsor, and which they cannot maintain few years down the line; or when they waste millions to hold house-warming parties or naming ceremonies or child dedications or weddings or burials; and one or two aircraft in our presidential fleet, or choppers of our military, are dispatched to convey dignitaries, at times with fatal crashes as was the case when Governor Patrick Yakowa of Kaduna State and General Owoye Azazi died.
Do we know that the Jews hardly waste money on such ostentation? They believe the true purpose of wealth is to help others. Could this be the reason they are arguably the wealthiest and most successful race on earth?
We feast in the morning when our public officers keep hefty stolen sums in local and off-shore accounts, which make them perch on top rungs of our economic ladder, such that all of us today crave for public offices – not due to the value we will add but because it is the easiest way to wealth. This affects personal strive, such that small and medium enterprises that grow national economies are killed. But companies like Coca-Cola, Ford Motors, Gillette, Honda, Microsoft, Apple, Google and others that make global impact today all started small.
We feast in the morning when we make ourselves a laughing stock, like when we sent a jet to bring in and take back Mrs. Joyce Banda, President of Malawi, for a First Ladies’ Conference in 2012, when we know she sold the one she inherited plus about 60 Mercedes limousines and opted to be flying in commercial airlines; or when our former first lady went overseas with many aides and hangers-on, when just a few people would do. Do we know that Michelle Obama’s every trip abroad is investigated to ascertain the source of funding?
We feast in the morning when a whole city is literally shut down for a whole day, with roads blocked, and commerce grounded, just because a president we all queued under the sun to vote into power is attending a wedding or making a private visit of just one or two hours. Or when our budget provides more for the excesses of the executives and legislators than it provides for our kid’s education; or when our 2015 budget of N4.493 trillion shows we shall spend N556 billion or a paltry 12 per cent on capital projects, and 88 per cent on our public servants and the debt they incur for us; or when we borrow to pay our over-bloated workforce rather than seal systemic leakages said to be bigger than the budget itself; or when we let our refineries die, so that our smart ones can rip us off via fraudulent subsidy on imported refined products.
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