If Nigerian’s did an honest assessment of how far we have come in the last 20years, the word MEDIOCRE will be an excellent summary. The standards we set for ourselves have been mediocre and the praise we give ourselves for seeming “progress” only exist because the back drop was failure and a higher level of mediocrity.
If anyone doubts this, you only need to look to Dubai to see what can be achieved by people in 15years from harsh desert conditions. Unlike the many self promoting memoirs written by our leaders, one does not need to read the book My Vision by Mohammed bin Rashid to see his vision; you see it all over his country. In an interview with CBS, Mohammed bin Rashid said –
“I want my people to have the best life now… the best healthcare system, best schools, I want them to have the best of everything…”
The BEST, not refurbished trains purchased at inflated prices (when Japan has had bullet trains since the nineties). The BEST, not decommissioned naval vessels, The BEST, not refurbished buses.
His quest for excellence is visible right from the airport, excellence in service, design and organization. Excellence is a government fully supporting businesses– so reading Richard Branson’s lamentations on his experience in Nigeria during the life span of Virgin Nigeria is very insightful.
“We fought a daily battle against government agents who wanted to make a fortune from us, politicians who saw the government’s 49% as a meal to seek for all kinds of favors. Watch-dogs (regulatory bodies) that didn’t know what to do & were persistently asking for bribes at any point. Nigerians are generally nice but the politicians are very insane. That may be ironic because the people make up the politicians”.
The people make up the politicians
Our politicians are not Aliens, they come from us, so where did WE go wrong and how are WE culpable for the cesspool that has become NIGERIA. The political campaigns have lauded the incumbent for once again giving Nigerians a belief in the electoral system; they have lauded GMB for his stance against corruption. They have criticized GMB for the actions he made in his early forties over a two year span some thirty years ago others have disparaged the president for the high levels of corruption in the country. Our President has had one of the personally most successful political careers in recent times serving as a deputy governor, governor, vice-president and President; There should be an extensive track record of works he can point to, to justify his Re-election.
A people get the leadership they deserve.
Society produces politicians, pro-actively or ignorantly but Nigerians have woefully neglected this responsibility. Instead for personal gain people worship these politicians that are meant to serve us. Politicians, who for two months are the most humble, approachable and kind Nigerians only to turn round for the next three years and eight months to entrench their selfish interest and push you off the road with their noisy sirens and unnecessary motorcades; As though solving congestion problems in the city they govern is not their responsibility.
Nigeria is currently over a hundred years behind in everything (except corruption). We need a government with an excellent sense of purpose, Ideas and aspirations to give Nigerians WORLD CLASS institutions and facilities. A government that is bold enough to take the Bull (corruption and other problems confronting Nigeria as a Nation) by the horn.
Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results.
Who is responsible for the ruin of a child whose parents never corrected them when they did wrong? A child who becomes spoilt and corrupt? Would that same child not ruin their own lives? Will a child raised without a sense of responsibility or accountability grow up and take care of their parents? Nigerians’ are full of the wisdom of discipline but fail to see politicians are society’s children.
People have failed to see that as a society, every four years we get to give feedback to politicians. We get to let them know how well they are doing and what we would not tolerate. A lot of People don’t bother voting at all; “the sun is to hot” “the lines are too long” ,Others vote on sentiment, Religion or ethnicity. Very few vote based on the long term interest of Nigeria.
“The worst illiterate is the political illiterate, he doesn’t hear, doesn’t speak, nor participates in the political events. He doesn’t know the cost of life, the price of the bean, of the fish, of the flour, of the rent, of the shoes and of the medicine, all depends on political decisions. The political illiterate is so stupid that he is proud and swells his chest saying that he hates politics. The imbecile doesn’t know that, from his political ignorance is born the prostitute, the abandoned child, and the worst thieves of all, the bad politician, corrupted and flunky of the national and multinational companies.”
Corruption is THE cancer that is killing this country and like cancer cells, our country will only survive if this cancer is uprooted completely. People are yet to fully understand the implication of this cancer.
The effect of this cancer is seen in the reports by soldiers being sent to war unequipped and the poor handling of a situation that is crippling the nation despite billions being spent on the military. This cancer is seen in the fact that the 6th largest producer of crude oil imports refined petroleum products with a subsidy scam that has seen its major benefactors go scot free. A cancer that magically makes 20billion dollars or is it 12billion dollars disappear from our treasury. It was this cancer that sentenced a man responsible for the police pension fund misappropriation to pay a N250,000 fine, while in the same week a young man was sentenced to 20years for stealing a mobile phone. The core of this cancer was seen when youth who should be gainfully employed were charged fees to apply for vacant slots in the Nigerian customs, slots which as it turns out had already been filled. Some of this youth died in the process and video footage shows these youth were treated like animals; cows to be put in a pen.
Corruption is the reason medical doctors are left without an option but to perform caesarian operations on pregnant women with PHONE TORCH LIGHT in general hospitals. Corruption is the reason for the despicable housing and conditions the Nigerian Police have had to live in for so long.
One cannot truly lead a people that one does not love or care for
It is in that love a leader finds the ability to sacrifice his own personal gain and LEAD by EXAMPLE. Corruption at the level of a rice seller is a symptom of the corruption at the top. It is love and respect that would let leaders rethink the fact that they are one of the highest paid governments in the world yet insist on an N18,000 minimum wage.
Asking a leader to respect a people who don’t bother to vote or can be bought with a bag of rice or N200 recharge card is asking a tad bit much. If the people refuse to fully participate in determining their leaders, that vacum would be filled by “GODFATHERS” and just as Fela’s songs are as relevant to Nigeria’s current situation today as it was over twenty years ago, it will still describe our situation fifty years from now.
“We will continue suffering and smiling”
In the last thirty years, No Nigerian leader has had to respect the Nigerian people. This is simply because the people have never been the source of their power. Leaders have either directly seized power or have been given power by Godfathers whose sole aim is the protection of their ill gotten wealth and status at the impoverishment of Nigerians. It follows that since the people don’t put their leader in; Nigerian leaders owe their allegiance to everyone but the NIGERIAN PEOPLE.
Apparently holding thieves accountable for stealing from the nation at the expense of impoverishing the people is bad. People complain about GMB’s attempt to bring Umaru Dikko to justice for financial crimes, they also complain about the Presidency pardoning convicted criminals. What people have not considered in all this is – what example is being set for the youth, the future leaders of this country? Have all the thieves supposedly gotten away with their stealing scot-free? Are youth that have seen this precedent supposed to enter politics and be saints, when their predecessors were thieves? If you leave these thieves with all this wealth and power that has come at the oppression and impoverishment of the masses, it will be impossible for a generation that seeks the public good to ever rise in to positions of power as they will consistently be suppressed.
If you are not a thief, you have nothing to fear as relates to accountability and if GMB does not do it, Someone else eventually will mainly because as the price of oil continues to fall, any leader that intends to take this nation to the next level will need funds to do that. Those funds will not be raised by taxing the already impoverished citizenry when BILLIONS of dollars have been stolen by corrupt officials over the last 20 years. Nigeria is reducing geographically and economically, the nation has been steeped in mediocrity for way too long. Some of our politicians are of the opinion that lying is a per-requisite to carry out their jobs. Until we the people completely determine who is elected there would be no future for Nigeria.
So please vote, if you don’t like either of the major parties, vote for the independents, encourage them so more like them can rise. The fruits of democracy do not yield overnight; we keep trying till we get it right. Vote based on track record so politicians understand if they perform they will get elected
Let them know when they don’t perform-
“We vote you out. Not because there is a better alternative but so that incompetent leaders will know and fear the people’s ability to elect, select and deselect. Why should we endure another 4 years simply because we fear the unknown. If the unknown comes in and performs at the same level or worse, we vote them out as well and so on until our leaders start to lead”. –Chuka Amos-Ejesi