By Chris Nwokeji
It is true that great nations are built by great men and women, divinely inspired to do things beyond the ordinary. This include great minds who elect to selflessly serve the needs of their country and her people; who eschew nepotism, corruption or any form of aggrandizement.
They are identified by their sacrifices for the common good and the measure of zeal with which they serve the needs of their country and her citizens. They place their country above self and value the lives of their people and are always ready to take risks to protect them.
Can Nigeria ever belong to the category of countries described above? What kind of nation have our leaders been able to bequeath to us? What can our leaders be remembered for? How will history see the leaders of this country especially the contemporary ones?
Right now, the country is in a lull, at a stand-still and on the edge of precipice. The level of stagnation, deprivation, frustration, hunger and starvation being experienced by Nigerians presently has not been experienced since the history of the contraption called Nigeria.
The supreme target of government is the happiness and security of the people, maintenance of law and order, not allowing society to become a kingdom of demons as it seems in Nigeria today.
Practically, governance is about principles. It is about stability, keeping things going, preventing lawlessness, and keeping society from falling into bits by taking morally sound decisions and actions, that will translate to the happiness and general welfare of the majority while taking cognizance of the needs and aspirations of the majority.
It is about making people part and parcel of the development process, advancing the communities- both formal and informal- in the most uncommon manner and harnessing their collective advantage and efforts for common goal.
I do not like rating a government before its first anniversary. But the high expectation that have been dashed and widespread discontent occasioned by increasing hardship being experienced in all ramifications of the life of Nigerians call for the urgency of re-examining and re-assessing the propriety of the change agenda. I have decided to make public some of my worries about the unconventional manner the affairs of government has been run for the past eleven months which has brought us ton this sorry situation, without solution in sight.
Never in the history of this country has unofficial pump price of petroleum products gone up by nearly 500%. Very unfortunate development! Never in this country has the Naira been so weakened without any conscious effort by government to strengthen it by any conventional means. Indeed, allowing such a wide gap between official exchange rates and unofficial rates is in itself corruption of monumental levels. Of course, it is capable of tempting government officials into sharp foreign exchanged deals which perhaps, as alleged in some quarters, cannot be said to not be happening within the ranks of the government.
In just eleven months, the prices of staple foods have gone up by almost 200%. For instance, before May 29,2015, the price of a bag of rice was between #6500 and #8000. Now the same brands sell at between #16000 and #18000 per bag. What an avoidable catastrophe!
Long queues of snail speed have returned to the feeling stations as a result of sharp deals in the sector. Many Nigerians are confused at the propriety of the of the anticorruption war, believing that corruption has increased by unimaginable proportions, leading to frustration, hunger, deprivation and despondency, practically losing faith in the ability of those in government to fix the country better their lot.
The local government system which can help to check poverty by creating wealth through its constitutional role has been strangulated and in fact castrated by the excessive greed of most governors This has compounded the economic conditions of the rural dwellers. And the President seems not to be doing anything about it.
As a matter of fact, improvement in the living condition of Nigerians will only be possible when all the state governors conduct election in all the 774 local government areas of Nigeria as a way of creating wealth and distribute national resources to the people, majority of who live in the villages and know the 3rd tier government as the government closest to them.
One of the strong points the opposition had against the government of President Goodluck Jonathan was his inability to stem insurgency. One year after Jonathan, insurgency seems to have increased preponderantly, including that by A K 47-wielding Fulani herdsmen who dispossess people of their farmlands, not only rape their wives and children but also kill them without official reprimand. The question in all lips is “Can this war against insurgency be ever won, given government hypocrisy.
The government seems to have made its anti-corruption war a mere rethorical exercise than a committed programme. Much talk without commensurate action or result. Government seems to have directed all its efforts towards pursuing those it thinks have stolen the national wealth while much more than that is still said to get stolen daily under the watch of Mr. President. Result-producing anti-corruption war is the one that is not noisy but silently achieving results that are seen and practical.