Poor governance is a road to hell on earth for a country or territory’s residents.

Once upon a time, there was a land in Africa sitting on the fertile and geographically diverse west coast of that vast continent. This was a country that practically “had it all.” The north of the country was a spectacular geography, with boundless plains; herds of cattle in the millions; great expanses of forest and jungle teeming with wildlife; and a tourist paradise of rambling hills, stunning plateaus, and a rich equestrian culture that made the country a limitless safari resort of thousands of square miles.

The north was Muslim and possessed a rich and attractive equestrian and warrior culture that had evolved from Moorish North Africa.

From the middle of the country to the great Atlantic Ocean Basin to the south sat not only huge gas and oil reserves, but infinite stores of iron ore, bauxite, syenite, titanium, gold, clay, dolomite, phosphates, lignite, granite, marble, coal, lead, zinc, limestone and much more.

The land was so fertile that the country could easily have fed the African continent and exported food to other parts of the world: rice, plantains, bananas, cassava, palm oil, sweet potato, onion, tomato, garlic, livestock, bush meats and so much more.

In the early 1960s at independence from the United Kingdom, the country was a cultured, urbane and honest society that was the envy of the world, with the strongest currency in Africa and a thoughtful, charming and food-sufficient population.


Oil discovered

Then billions of barrels of oil were discovered in the south, with even greater deposits of natural gas.

A bloody civil war led to decades of military dictatorship, riddled with corruption and conflict of interest.

An entitled minority drove the country to the economic and social abyss by the 1990s.

Today the country is a failed state with awful social matrices: millions of children out of school; bandits and terrorists; frighteningly dangerous roads; unsanitary towns and cities featuring mountains of refuse; hospitals that have been described as abattoirs; and public officers whose salaries are months in arears.

A tiny minority of the entitled and connected live in a bubble, travelling about in armed convoys and in private jets. They do all they can to isolate themselves from the reality of the suffering, sorrow and pain of the vast majority of the starving population.

The preceding hell can be put down to one single reason: poor governance.

The livelihoods of the country’s residents have been destroyed by governing impunity, a lack of any check and balance on rulers, and the outright theft of the country’s financial and physical resources by a cabal of murderous rulers and strongmen with zero integrity or conscience.


In the Virgin Islands

The Virgin Islands may not have been heading down the same road as the preceding African country, a former British colony that gained its independence in the early 1960s.

However, there are many similarities: entitlement as opposed to competence, rulers who believe they have a right to do whatever they want, secret deals using taxpayer cash, a total lack of accountability for taxpayer money, no governing vision, and victimisation and fear of those who would dare speak out.

Thank God for the UK Commission of Inquiry, which is holding the feet of high officials to the fire. Or one day we will all wake up to a country like that failed African state, where even a Haiti will look like heaven to its suffering residents.

Good governance is worth its weight in gold for all generations of residents.


Connect with Mr. Igwe on Facebook and Twitter.