An ancient kingdom under constant threat found peace and prosperity thanks to a massive, seemingly impregnable wall. However, corrupt watchmen who had been bribed betrayed the kingdom, allowing enemies to conquer it. The once-prosperous kingdom had been reduced to plunder and enslavement. This parable serves as a reminder that investing in infrastructure without investing in people’s value systems is a waste of time. The massive wall took a lot of time, energy, and resources to build. However, the human elements were not given enough attention. The kingdom failed to invest in its human resources and paid the price.
Any prosperous future you envision will necessitate the cooperation of the people. You cannot invest in massive structures without consciously shaping people’s value systems. An X (formerly Twitter) thread from October 2023 detailed how corrupt NRC employees in southwest Nigeria deceived passengers traveling from Ibadan to Lagos into boarding the train without tickets. A uniformed official circumvented standard procedures by seating their unticketed passengers in a special coach. These passengers were then forced to pay in cash while on the road. These payments are unlikely to be officially recorded as government revenue. It will go into the pockets of corrupt NRC officials.
The Federal Government of Nigeria borrowed heavily to build those modern trains, but nobody cares. The stories of the ancient kingdom and the Lagos-Ibadan train serve as a stark reminder of the devastation that internal corruption can cause. According to Psalm 14:1-3, the fool says in his heart that there is no God, and corruption often follows. Corruption thrives in the absence of the fear of God. Without upholding righteousness and justice, infrastructure development will never result in meaningful change. The strength of a nation lies not only in its physical structures but in the values of its people.