Nigeria: A nation in death throes under the APC-controlled FG
I have found it absolutely necessary to write again in the course of our nation’s chequered history. It is my fervent hope that everyone stumbles upon this piece, reads and digests the contents. It is none other than the ongoing grim and obviously sad situation on the ground which stares us ominously in the face. This, you will all agree with me, has drawn the attention of our neighbours in the West African sub-region.
However, there is no denying the fact that Nigeria has a government in Abuja headed by a man with a military background in the person of President Buhari. I shall in the course of this piece shed light on why government exists. One of the major reasons, for starters, is to make laws, moreso a wide range or variety of rules which are desirable for society to properly function and progress. These rules are often created to provide law and order and ultimately protect society from conflicts which have happened throughout history.
That man by nature is selfish, domineering and often lords over others is not in dispute. This has often led to conquests, subjugation and expansion both on the social and economic fronts. Today, we have a country made up of over 250 ethnic nationalities with different historical, religious, cultural and social backgrounds fused into a large distinct polity by the historic amalgamation of 1914.
It is time we evaluated this government’s results on security, social welfare and infrastructures development – to serve as indicies of its performance and effectiveness.
May 29, 1999 goes down in history as the year Nigeria again returned to civil democratic rule. Extant laws were modified and new ones were made to meet exigencies, age-old yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians geared towards the security and well-being of our people. It is the interest and desire of every Nigerian to be safe in one’s chosen place of residence in the federation of Nigeria. In the dim past, Nigerians slept with eyes closed and some of us could hit the road even at night from Nigeria’s coastal plains to the Sahelian regions of Northern Nigeria. Sad to say today all that has changed as our country has been over-run by Janjaweed armed militias thereby making the government of the day a cacophony of an epic diabolic proportions.
In terms of security which is one of government’s statutory responsibilities, the government in Abuja, you will agree with me has not only failed woefully but abysmally. Banditry, killings and kidnappings are on the ascending order of magnitude – one of the trademarks of a failed leadership. What I often cherish is a larger Nigeria to give us a vocal voice in the comity of nations but the bloody insurgency in the northeast is increasingly making this a pipe dream as our territory shrinks by the day due to the ongoing armed invasion by insurgents who are fighting to actualize a sovereign islamic state in the embattled region.
We have never had it so bad! No one, you will all agree with me, is comfortable with the obviously sad situation! Armed criminal gangs now play the piper and dictate the tune while Nigerians look on helplessly as the government of the day cowardly throws in the towel. Over 750 cases of criminal abductions have been recorded with a whooping N10 billion reportedly paid in ransom to these tribes of socially undesirable elements who say it is either their diabolic whims and caprices prevail or there would be no Nigeria. The situation is even grimmer in the north as scores of Nigerians in that part of the country have gone untimely to the grave. Nigeria’s once glorious and peaceful north has been overrun by armed militias! Whither are we bound?
Down south, the situation is better imagined than real. Criminal elements who masquerade as herdsmen wielding assault rifles often unleash terror on our people. Farmlands are often destroyed, farmers are hacked to death in their tens and hundreds giving rise to food shortage and scarcity. To compound our grief, the northern traders under the auspices of Amalgamated Union of Foodstuffs and Cattle Dealers of Nigeria have blocked foodstuffs supplies to the south. Where you find foodstuffs that have been smuggled in the cost is prohibitive. This is a region whose means of livelihood are destroyed daily by some criminal elements from that region of the country. I am very sure Nigeria will cease to exist if the south which considers the former a drag speaks with one voice and retaliates. It never rains but it pours, so the saying goes. Into what grave dangers would these further lead Nigeria with a cast of neophyte actors at the helm?
Like what presently obtains in the north, communities in the south have been overrun by the same band of mephistophilan Homo Sapiens from extinct barbarian tribes. Government appears at its wit end as the security measures put in place have collapsed like a pack of cards and returned us to the proverbial vicious circle.
Governments the world over make provision for the citizenry. This borders on assistance programmes geared towards the well-being and quality care of the country’s citizens.
In other words, in pursuing social welfare group of assistance programmes are designed to help the people such as housing, education, family circumstances, medical care, food distribution at safety nets, subsidies to name but a few.
In the build-up to 2015 federal elections in Nigeria, the All Progressives Congress as a party then in the opposition with a vibrant voice promised to rapidly transform Nigeria to the proverbial lost city of El-Doraldo. With these alluring promises which border on security, social welfare, infrastructures development, introduction and implementation of fiscal policies that would make the Naria, Nigeria’s monetary unit equal in value to the US dollar, Nigerians fell for the merchants of falsehood hook, line and sinker and threw the PDP and the Jonathan administration into the graveyard – a blunder which over 85% of Nigerians rue to this day. Under the PDP-controlled Federal Government, the government of President Olusegun Obasanjo paid off Nigeria’s debts and built up our foreign reserves even when crude oil sold for much less in the international market while under President Jonathan with good economic managers Nigeria rose from behind, overtook Egypt and displaced South Africa to become Africa’s largest economy after a rebasing calculation of our GDP. These were in indeed interesting times and important epochs in our economic and political history which made life super abundant and gave rise to Hegira home at the time as against frustration, hunger, hopelessness and thoughts of imminent death that now hang over our heads like the ancient sword of Damocles. Today, our people flee Nigeria in droves as security of lives and property increasingly becomes elusive.
Going by the promises they made at the sad period under review and our entitlements in terms of social welfare programmes, how many Nigerians today receive assistance from the All Progressives Congress-controlled Federal Government? In many countries when you are unemployed you are entitled to social benefits which is a proactive step towards curtailing crimes and a host of other social maladies.
In civilized climes, society participants when plagued or faced by certain untoward events receive assistance from government. How many times has the Federal Government assisted you with payment of house rents? How many times have you received unemployment compensation in cash from the Federal Government being part of their promises in the build-up to the 2015 presidential election? Sad to say this is not only unobtainable in the near and far future but may only happen the day pigs begin to fly as APC remains in power. On this wise, Buhari’s emergence has only succeeded in anihilating the democracy Nigeria enjoyed in 16 years under the Peoples Democratic Party with a batteted economy, bloody insurgency, separatst feelings and agitations, poverty, hunger and frustration ultimately sounding us the death knee.
Today, in terms of education, Nigeria under the APC-controlled Federal Government has fallen from its Olympian height. Strikes which last for over 10 months and sometimes over 12 months by academic and non-academic staff who only ask for their entitlements – better wages and living conditions – often disrupt our school academic calendar thereby bringing about drop-outs and half-baked products into our labour markets. This re-echoes Chinua Achebe’s famous line in his best-seller of all time “Things Fall Apart ” – “Where are the young suckers that will grow when the old banana trees die” My recent visit to a certain Federal Government -owned school in Nigeria broke my spirit as the school in question was totally bereft of infrastructures. Only three teachers were in a school with no learning or teaching aid whose salaries, I gathered, are paid by public-spirited natives. That is what it is probably like all over the country which private schools operators have taken advantage of by notoriously fleecing over 70% Nigerians who live below the breadline. In consequence of this, many children have dropped out whereas in other countries government often assists parents to ensure children remain in school. Only yesterday, Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki as a trail blazer and visionary leader par excellence made two Executive Proclamations which make it compulsory for parents to send their children to school while the state government on its part proclaimed access to Free Basic Education for all children in the state which is reminiscent of the lost golden age under Prof. Alli while Governor of the defunct Bendel State. This again is another important epoch in a PDP-controlled state which ought to be replicated by other governors in their states. Thanks to Pa Awolowo’s Free Education Programme of the defunct Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), I, for one, would not have seen the four walls a secondary grammar school. That makes the late sage a living example of what man can be and accomplish in the realm of excellence and virtue.
On infrastructures development we must now turn. “The only way to have stable electricity is to vote out PDP” , The Nation newspapers published on July 12, 2014 quoted Babatunde Fashola as saying while Governor of Lagos State, adding that the then PDP-controlled Federal Government lacked ideas. Ironically, the man who spewed this shocker headed the power sector for four calendar years. James Watts, may God rest his soul, the inventor of the steam engine who is honoured with Watts and kilowatts with which units of electricity is measured today must be looking askance at this naysayer for his inability to add one megawatt to the national grid for four calendar years. People like him and the party he represents should remain silent forever on national issues having lost the credibility to lead. In fact, I had expected Babatunde Fashola to resign a long time ago being part of the clogs in our wheel of progress.
So on what basis is the ruling party seeking power retention by the ongoing party membership re-validation exercise when everything is at sixes and sevens under its watch? Is it to field or recycle or foist their candidates with spent brains yet again on Nigerians? Are the grossly oppressed and abused victims still ready to bond with their captors and oppressors by identifying with these merchants of falsehood? This would be another Stockholm Syndrome at play! Today inflation figures under the ruling All Progressives Congress have spiked double digits while crimes of varying degrees particularly violent ones are on the ascending order of magnitude with the government losing the battle on all fronts and at every turn. Like I did just say this has given birth to separatist feelings and agitations. At one time Nigerians lived happily together but today the reverse has become the case as Buhari’s style of governance has polarized Nigerians on ethnic and religious lines.
Today, hyper-inflation stares us ominously in the face which has reduced us to sub-species and mindless hominins by outdated monetary policies which inflict dehydration on our finances and economic well-being.
One of the vocal voices that harassed President Jonathan out of power in the person of Yemi Osibanjo, a university professor, is one of the daddies that call the shot today. I often sit back hand on chin wondering how he feels about the injustice he did to over 200 million Nigerians who now thrive on dirt and dirty surroundings caused by debilitating poverty, unemployment and ethno-religious fundamentalism. What about his principal Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the self-styled Jagaban and former Lagos Governor’s assertion that
“General Muhammadu Buhari is an agent of destabilization, ethnic bigot and religious fanatic”?
He did expressly say Buhari would disintegrate Nigeria. This was contained in a Wikileaks transcript in a conversation between Tinubu and the US consul-general in 2003. Events playing out today are pointers to that fact as Nigeria’s ship of state which Buhari pilots today heads spirally for the rocks.
May God save Nigeria, a nation in death throes under the APC-controlled Federal Government.
Iyoha John Darlington, a former governorship candidate of the Peoples Party of Nigeria in Edo State 2020 governorship election is an opinion leader and public commentator on national and global issues.