By Kunle Oyatomi
I wonder what there is that makes a number of people feel optimistic that Nigeria is on course for change. I have tried to figure it, but there is nothing there to convince me!!
Relative peace in the Niger Delta?
I canâ€™t put my money on it. What is brewing behind the facade of amnesty has volcanic potentials. It is early days yet, but the deals donâ€™t add up. On both sides, all the cards are yet to be put on the table. How that inspires hope and confidence I cannot fathom.
Democracy? Thatâ€™s a long way off. What we have on ground is a quarter kilometreÂ to one-party dictatorship. We say we are a Federal Republic of Nigeria, but there is nothing federal about the system which has mutated within half a century from a federation to a military-style unitary dictatorship.
It explains the mentality of the federal government over the creation of local government, in Lagos State and the hopeless dependence of states on the federal for their survival.
The very fundamentals of liberal democracy are scant in this â€œdemocraticâ€ experiment. AtÂ the apex of it are free and fair elections. But that is the aspect we least understand how to manage except in its travesty. Two years on since the last elections, cases are still in court unresolved as a result of the magnitude of fraud that characterised that 2007 elections.
Even when Mr President admitted that the process of his own election was significantly flawed, he is still there enjoying the trappings of the office. And as if that was not odd enough, the fellow, who conducted what stands undisputed as the worst election ever held in the history of this country is still there at his duty post shamelessly congratulating himself for doing a dirty job.
If the â€œbody languageâ€ of the government and the ruling party is anything to go by, there is nothing to suggest that Professor MauriceÂ Iwu wonâ€™t be the same person to oversee the 2011 elections.
Wouldnâ€™t it be pathetic in the circumstance for any one to hope that the 2011 polls will be credible?
Or how else should one explain the way the government has treatedÂ the Justice Mohammed Uwais recommendations on electoral reform.
Since 2007, governance in Nigeria has been stagnant, except for a few places (like a drop in the bucket), we have not experienced governance in the real sense of the practice. Sure, we have heard about budgets. There has been â€œmassiveâ€ disbursement of funds from the federal level and the states, but we canâ€™t put more than a finger on what these monies have been used for.
Throughout the country, infrastructural collapse is wreaking havoc onÂ economic activities. The economy itself is comatose, and there is misery in the country as we have never been unfortunate to experience.
But against this backdrop of human suffering, there is a visible and disgusting parade of affluence by the wealthy, and the political class which has already distabilized society. Anger is building throughout the land, but the grave yard â€œsilenceâ€ all over is like a building vulcano.
Law and order? Ask victims of armed robberies and escalating incidents of kidnappings. None will understand when you talk about law and order.
For them as well as for most of us, law and order have long since broken down; we are simply lucky that chaos and anarchy havenâ€™t taken over.â€
Most of us who are keeping track of these developments are shocked by the incapacity of state apparatus toÂ contain the worsening state of insecurity all over.
And before we could come to terms with these violence, the country was confronted with the madness of Boko Haram.
Over 800 people have lost their lives from the mayhem of that insurgent religious group in parts of the North.
Perhaps the incurable optimists amongst us would say the worst of Boko Haram is behind us. Sorry, they are not reading their history properly.
Boko Haram is not over; the name could change, but the phenomenon is still festering, and I would venture from hindsight to say that we are not done yet with the madness of religious insurgents in the north. It is a familiar tape on the reel.
It will play again.
But what disturbs me very deeply is that those in charge of the affairs of state have practically abandoned their responsibility to govern.
They are rather engaged in a â€œrat raceâ€ for succession, or the â€œsecond termâ€ sickness. The concentration ofÂ office holders (especially the executive heads of governments) is now on how to secure a second term, or pick a successor who will shield their â€œcrimesâ€ after leaving office. As a result, governance in the land is right now in abeyance.
We are not far from that fateful year of 2011. The situation in the country at the moment, which gives us inkling of what the immediate future could be like, is not good to put it bluntly.
If the political class and the powerful continue in their â€œdevil-may-careâ€ attitude and proceed to violate the nationâ€™s conscience as callously as they did in 2007, there is real cause for concern that the state may unravel.
Those in government shouldÂ concentrate on governance. The lack of it in Nigeria today puts all of us at great risk, including the politicians themselves.