By Bisi Lawrence
And when all is said and done, what we all want is change. It is an organic element of the cosmos charting out the essential route of benign development, or otherwise, as humanity chooses. “Forward, forward let us range,” cries the poet, “let the great world spin forever, round the grooves of change.”
Consider the two watchwords of the principal political parties in the recent election, the Peoples Democratic Party, the PDP, and the All Progressives Congress, the APC.
The former held out “transformation” which the dictionary depicts as: alteration, conversion, development reform,, change. The latter, the APC, simply proclaimed the word itself, change, which is described as alteration, modification, variation, transformation.
The two words are, in fact, synonymous with one another. And in a dramatic fashion, it came on the heels of the election from the man who bore the brunt of it, President Goodluck Jonathan.
He instituted a change in presidential elections in the country when, having lost the contest, he congratulated his victorious opponent on the phone even before the last result had been announced. That had never happened before, especially after a bitter period of electioneering marked by some rather vicious exchanges.
That is all in the spirit of “forward, forward let us range”; the manifestation of healthy and preferable change has to be for progress or it would be ruinous.
The action of the president therefore deserves the wholehearted support of all patriotic Nigerians, irrespective of their political affiliation.
Apart from the obvious quality of sportsmanship in the president’s acceptance of defeat in the election is also the immediate deterrence of violent reaction which the result could have aroused among the more unruly elements of party members and supporters. President Jonathan proved that he sincerely believes that no ambition is worth the shedding of blood any Nigerian.
It would appear though that his acceptance of the election result is not shared by some members within the powerful hierarchy of the PDP are not exactly on the same page with him about throwing in the towel.
They are, of course, free to explore how right their cause is within the law. However, it would be unfortunate if they are allowed to whittle away all the advantages we have already won in reputation within and without the country on the edge of protracted law suits and prolonged court cases.
That has usually left a sour after-taste in election matters, but it’s heartening that the Chief Justice of the Federation has already promised not to encourage any attempt to turn the courts into an extension of electioneering efforts, as it were.
It is a popular sentiment that the Buhari government should “hit the ground running”. Such language lacks common good sense, of course.
That is clearly the best way to end up on your face. Any athlete will testify to the fact that the first few steps in a race must be controlled and deliberate; then having secured a firm grasp of the course, speed may be increased. Rushing into issues immediately, and there are a number of them aflame, would definitely be without good judgment.
Even the obvious ones like power supply, still require a thorough examination to either correct what has been installed in error before substituting a new process. That is meaningful change, and we urge the incoming administration to also look into other areas of deficiency like road construction, education, health, water supply, agriculture, housing, jobs – the whole lot, not in that order, of course.
Every adviser—and that is what we all are at the moment—has his own priority, though subjects like power supply are common to all of us. We cannot relegate the issue of security to the sideline, either.
The Boko Haram menace has gone on for too long. It has definitely affected the direction of the election results. Many people depend on the military antecedents of the president-elect to execute a final decision, and soon. A resolution of the Chibok appalling situation is of great importance.
Along with the prosecution of the insurrection, however, should be a re-vamping of the military ethos of our nation which seems to have suffered untold battering in the recent past. It would be fruitful to examine the morale of the entire army and consider its improvement beyond the rigid imposition of court martial punitive measures. The other aspect of security which directly affects the citizenry is to do with our police system and operations.
There are still some police officers and constables in this country today who believe in law and order. That might be difficult to believe, but it is true as I have met some of them. What is more factual, however, is the high-handedness and unfair behaviour of the generality of our policemen. It all derives from the pervasive corruption which holds the entire society in thrall.
It might take more than the efforts within the tenure of one administration to curb this national malfeasance, so deep has it eaten into our social culture. It embodies the attitude of police officers who see themselves as “lions” out to conquer a state governor, with the support from the highest quarters.
The removal of such “politician-policemen” from the scene would serve as a beginning in the necessary exercise of restoring respect and honour to the image of the police force.
The issue of corruption, generally, has to be left with the in-coming government to deal with, any day. It was intertwined with the maxim of patriotism which has one its aspects as the “War on Indiscipline” – WAI. We all remember the “cue culture” which largely remains with us till this day. We welcomed it, swiftly breaking the dreadful habit of disorder which even the harsh colonial direction of decades could hardly touch. But we accepted it and complied with it because, in my own way of thinking, we are basically decent as a nation.
The return of WAI, which made us learn our National Anthem with pleasant results, would by itself mark a revisit to the path of nationalism.
However, the new government must avoid distraction in any form. Nothing can cripple the realization of good intention like lack of concentration. Spanners will of course be thrown into the works of their operations, especially with regard to the repair of the economy. That hangs squarely on the situation of the oil industry.
And that money provider, at the moment, hangs between the devil and the deep blue sea. It is almost strangled by our thieving and mismanagement, and throttled by international falling prices. With the global distress of poor market, we just have to be patient. With thieves and manipulators, however, we need care and expertise in handling the people and establishing good order in the industry.
Here, if we may point out, is a wide-open arena for distraction. Fortunately, the president-elect is no stranger to this terrain.
In such a messy situation, management of an ultra-professional calibre is key. The men and women who would be call to service in the new dispensation must be highly-principled and highly-skilled technocrats. Without mentioning names, the profiles that we see looming behind the shoulders of the resident-elect already, fill us with hope. We wait for the first one hundred days.