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Leaping into the dark: The fears of 2014 and 2015

By Adisa Adeleye

As many Nigerians do often forget memorable events, it is necessary to remind ourselves that 1st of January 2014, Nigeria will be 100 years old as a nation and in 2015, the life of the present Federal Government would need renewal in another national election.

Following the undesirable violence and the loss of innocent lives after the 2011 Presidential election, many are doubtful of the ability of Nigerians to control events in 2015. Some pessimists doubt the existence of Nigeria as one country between the years of 2014 and 2015.

As an incurable optimist, one would rather side with the much criticized current President that this year would witness a faster growth rate in the economy and a realistic political stability, even if current events do portray negative sides.  As the AREWA politicians are scheming for the return of power to the north in 2015, the opposition parties are forging a united stand to snatch power from the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the States and in the Centre.  Nigeria-map

The main focus is on the determination of some individuals or coalition of parties to remove the present president from power.  There is a bit of confusion on the real economic and political policies for the country other than “get the President out syndrome”.  We are yet to be told, in some details, what the country would gain from a change of governance at the centre.

However, it must be realized that it is the duty of any recognized Opposition to form an alternative government in the face of the defeat of the ruling party which is adjudged in a free and fair elections to be inefficient and ineffective.  The fear of many people is the fact that it might be near impossible to unseat a ruling party even in a fair and free election.

The power of incumbency seems real and potent.  This, added to other factors which are peculiar to Nigeria could make the defeat of the present Federal Government extremely difficult, if not impossible in 2015.  The political anxiety is being heightened by the prospects of an Ibo President in 2015. Thus, the present President is facing many odds in 2015 apart from his performance on the job.

The complexities of the Nigerian situation have pointed out clearly to one conclusion that no person, however brilliant or efficient, might not be able to satisfy in full, the yearnings of ambitious Nigerians.  This is just dawning on President Jonathan that no matter what he does, he would still not be able to escape the eagle eyes of incisive critics or the poisoned arrows of religious and ethnic jingoists.

However, the impression is that the present Federal Government is performing below average and could do better.  It is assumed that the problems of the country are too complicated, so defused that a single political party, no matter how endowed, could hardly be expected to successfully tackle them.  The ruling party has been in power since 1999 and the country‘s problems have continued to increase rather than decrease.

For example, power supply which is the mainstay of any economic development has defied concrete solution in spite of heavy injection of funds; unemployment has risen to a frightening height to encourage insecurity, armed robberies and kidnappings.  Political uncertainty has encouraged the belief that ethnic hold on power is the surest way to survival, and also, the Boko Haram insurgency has glorified the use of terror as a means of expressing disagreement.  Unhappily, this is Nigeria of today.

The problem of the present leadership is the inability to see the needs for shared responsibilities.  The present attitude of the ruling political parties is that of “winners take all” mentality where all political positions and good things of life are shared among party members only irrespective of ability and needs of the nation.  Often, cabinets are not made of tested and creative talents but proven party workers of doubtful ability and integrity.

It is no surprise that problems of the country continue to mount and the resolution of the conflict becomes impossible by party leaders, who though may be conscientious, but are mediocres.  In such a confused situation, it is hard to expect the emergence of visionary leadership.

However, optimists believe that the country could still be redeemed and that President Jonathan, shorn of foggy party principle of nepotism, could still play a notable role in the preparation for 2014 and in containing the terrifying fears of 2015.  The President could make history by becoming the first person to give the country a Peoples Constitution which will return Nigeria to True Federalism.

The present 1999 Constitution is, according to many people, a military imposition.  Chief Olu Falaiye in his book, The Way Forward for Nigeria noted that, “The Constitution we are supposed to be operating at present is a fraud.  It is called a Federal Constitution but its comments make it abundantly clear that it is more unitary than federal”.

He added, “In a genuine federation, we have different tiers of government, each of which is supreme within the powers and responsibilities allocated to it in the constitution.  Each being a government, it should have the constitutional power and authority to enforce its own laws and other enactment through a Police Force.  In order words, if ours were a genuine federation, both the states and local government should have their own police forces for enforcing their own laws or bye laws respectively”.

Apart from that aspect of state police, there are other things embedded in true federalism as opposed to what the country is experiencing now through the present 1999 constitution  With a defective political structure, the present leadership would find no respite until the country is restructured to reflect a true federal state.

The restructuring exercise is a sure way of taking Nigeria safely into 2014 which is expected to be a year of review of events after 100 years of amalgamation of Northern Protectorate and Southern Protectorate to form a country now called, Nigeria. Though reconstruction might prove unattractive to a leader who enjoys today, it is a desirable exercise to a leader who believes in tomorrow.  And that is what Visionary Leadership is all about.

In United States of America (USA), North Dakota output is estimated between 450,000 to 750,000 barrels per day.  North Dakota, Texas, California and Alaska – each produces more than 450,000 barrels per day.  The total amount is enough, combined with other major producers in Texas, California and Alaska to sustain the USA for 200 years.  USA has 142 refineries for processing oil with each of its major refineries processing approximately 520,000 barrels per day.  Any lesson for Nigeria ?


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