By Helen Ovbiagele, Woman Editor
Who would blame those Nigerians who are fed up with governance in this nation and have lost hope that any change of batons can bring about the sort of governance which will impact positively on the lives of Nigerians?Â
Iâ€™m sure many of us belong to that group of disenchanted people, judging from the reactions of our readers to the piece we put out the other week.Â Â Â Some readers are peeved that some people are being re-cycled over and over again, as if there arenâ€™t better options anywhere in the country.Â Thereâ€™s this annoyance, too,Â that some groups of people consider Nigeria their own personal property and theyâ€™re meant to be in power forever.
This gives room to the feeling that democracy as practised in this country at present is a farce, and ours is not truly a government of the people, by the people, for the people.Â If we were practising democracy the right way, we would put the nation first, and appoint to positions, people who can perform and bring progress to our country.
Nigeria has the largest concentration of black people in the world, and we should be the mirror which reflects the progress of the black man in his home country.Â Â Other nationalities should come here and see how well blacks can rule themselves.Â Â This means appointing people of integrity who can perform.Â Â If they disappoint and fail to deliver, they should be sent packing without a backward glance.
Madam, the presidential system is too loaded with avenues for spending the nationâ€™s money.Â Weâ€™re overloaded with so many appointments and in many cases there is duplication of duties.Â Apart from ministers and permanent secretariesÂ for the various ministries, the President, the Vice-President, the Senate Leader and the Speaker of the National Assembly, all have their Special Advisers for these ministries!Â What are all these people doing or advising on?
With all these appointments which siphon public money in remunerations and allowances, housing, vehicles, etc, no ministry is delivering the goods!Â Â Look at the state of our roads!Â Â Look at our health care!Â Â Look at the quality of education!Â Look at the dismal power supply!Â Â The list is endless.Â With so many appointments, no real work is done to alleviate our problems.
It is said that â€˜too many cooks spoil the soupâ€™.Â The parliamentary system is so much saner with fewer appointments and accountability. Itâ€™s cheaper for our pockets too.Â We donâ€™t have the discipline and money to run a presidential system like the Americans, and make a success of it.Â Thanks.Â -Â Â Yewande, Ilorin.â€™
â€˜Helen, I agree with your friend that it will be business as usual with this re-shuffle of cabinet.Â Our problem is this inherent feeling of poverty (whether real or imagined) and greed, which are deep-rooted in most Nigerians.Â Weâ€™re not comfortable with what we have and we regard any appointment as our opportunity to increase our funds and build family fortunes.
We donâ€™t go take these positions, full of ideas that will move our nation forward.Â Instead, we go there full of schemes with which to siphon public money, either directly or through contracts.Â Even if a person wants to keep his/her hands clear of the till, his/her family, friends and clans-people would descend on the person to talk â€˜senseâ€™ into him/her, so that they too can benefit from the â€˜windfallâ€™.
This is the reason why winning at the polls is a do-or-die matter for many of those taking part and their people.Â Â Even after the results have been declared, those who lost will never accept defeat.Â They head for the courts.Â What is annoying about the system is this refusal to dispose of all cases concerning the elections before constituting a new government.
The result is that some people get to occupy a seat â€˜illegallyâ€™ for many months, until the courts unseat him/her.Â This is ridiculous, and itâ€™s the reason tenures are no longer uniform throughout the nation.Â What a shame! -Â Â Freddy, Ibadan.â€™
â€˜Madam, if the Ministers who had manned the Federal ministries since the inception of this political dispensation on May 29, 1999, actually came to render selfless service to our Fatherland, there could have been marked improvement in the development of our country and the living conditions of the masses.
But they only want to grab their own national cake, so will those recently re-cycled or appointed for the first time by the Acting President.Â Our hapless country since the demise of the 1st Republic on January 15, 1966, uptill now, has been afflicted with rulers who are only interested in the acquisition of obscene wealth, instead of bettering our lot and launching our country into greatness with her abundant resources.
I want to state categorically that it is due to the greed and corrupt tendencies of our past and present rulers (civilian/military), that our richly endowed country has remained under-developed and there is so much poverty in the midst of plenty.Â It is this ugly trait in their character that pushes them to misappropriate the money meant for our roads, electricity, health, education, water, job creation, etc. to become richer than our country.
Could you point out any of our rulers who was in the corridors of power, either through the barrel of the gun or ballot box, who did not acquire wealth far above his or her legitimate earnings, since the first coup of 1966?Â It is only the introduction of capital punishment for corrupt enrichment that will curb corruption in all facets of our national life.Â Period! – Ifeka Okonkwo.â€™
We shall have sanity and accountability in governance when remunerations for political appointments and parliamentary seats are not attractive.Â Right now it is loaded with money, so, all shades of people are attracted to politics.
They are even trying to attach pension to parliamentary seats, as if itâ€™s a career.Â Â In most western countries, parliament is part-time and members have their own businesses.Â The majority of these people dabbling in politics hereÂ are misfits who are there for the bread only.Â If we reduce the monetary gains from politics, only people who have the interests of the nation at heart and truly want to serve the nation wouldÂ come forward to participate. – Thanks. – Peter,Â Â Jos.â€˜
â€˜Madam, my question is, â€˜Are all Nigerians in the 21st century in the matter of governance?â€™Â It seems as if weâ€™re practising the feudal system of allegiance to the lords of the land, rather than allegiance to the nation.Â Nigeria seems to be walking backwards into the dark ages.
Any wonder that hardly any service here works well, and the country is not making the progress and taking the giant strides it should be taking.Â Â Only God can rescue this nation. – Mike, Lagos.â€™
We thank all those who wrote in.Â Itâ€™s a pity we couldnâ€™t publish all the responses.