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A year after: An appraisal of the change

IT is important for all of us to know that, irrespective of our ideological, sentimental, ethnic or religious position, the country belongs to us  all. If things go well, everyone benefit – whether you are a critic of the government or  pro government – and if things go bad, we are all deep in it. It has been a downward trend this past year and whatever picture our politicians try to paint for us, everyone of us is feeling the pinch, feeling the hardship.

That is why there is a need for an analysis of this change; has it been worth the effort put in by the Nigerian people? Or, could it have been better? One thing is clear; when all the politicking, muscling and wrestling are over, everything comes back to the basics, that is to governance. Everybody, collectively – irrespective of parties and affiliations – work at making things work for the country, work at moving the country forward, work at giving the masses the best, work at a common goal, that is; putting  the country’s interest first is of utmost importance. But, that is the ideal situation. Has it been so with our country Nigeria?

Since this new government came into being this past one year, have we worked with a common purpose and aim? The answer obviously is no. If no, why have we failed to do so as is done elsewhere? In other words, where did we get it wrong? The change was supposed to bring succour, relief and opportunities for better life for the average Nigerian. One year after, we are yet to kick start the process. How did we miss the opportunity to make Nigerians happy after a whole year? Given the situation, would things have been better? As usual, depending on our position on the pendulum swing, the answer could be in the range of an outright yes to an absolute no. So how did things come to this pass?

Let us first examine the position of the Nigerian polity on the eve of the elections of March to April 2015. The PDP had been the ruling party since the army voluntarily relinquished power in May 1999. A few in the hierarchy of the military deemed it necessary for power to be handed over to one of their kind and so began the process of bringing Olusegun Obasanjo from the dungeon of prison to become the President of Nigeria.

If Nigerians were alert and were keen students of history, they would have realised that the position that Nigeria found itself in 1999 was as a result of the various misrule of the Nigerian military, which Olusegun Obasanjo was an active participant. Our military personnel were trained to obey orders, take control, dominate and rule without opposition. They were not schooled in the democratic processes and so Obasanjo came and introduced the military style of ruler ship into the PDP party. That was the beginning of the end of true democracy in the new dispensation.

And so, there were impositions, government by cronies, tribal and regional cliques in the new government. Of course, where all of these are present, the obvious end result is corruption,

At the eve of Buhari’s in coming, the PDP party had guaranteed it’s implosion by continuing with these undemocratic acts, as they say ‘a house divided against itself can never stand’. The result was a movement of the PDP rebels to the new APC party and that was how the new APC became the ruling party. The question people are asking is; what is the difference between the PDP of old and the APC of today? Discerning minds saw it as the obverse side of the same coin but others view it as the real change that has come to be. A lot of us questioned how the true ACN party of progressive bent will blend with the reactionary CPC party, of fundamentalists but, again, the optimists say it didn’t matter.

One year after, this fusion is yet to blend and the die hards are attributing it to past misrule and we ask; is it the past misrule that has made it possible for the APC  a party with the majority in the National Assembly to be in a continuous logger head with the Executive over padded budget? Is it the past misrule that has made it impossible for the various APC state governments to pay their workers’ salaries, while such poor PDP state like Ekiti are striving to settle workers’ despite the the harsh conditions? Is it the past misrule that has made it impossible for the APC ruling party to formulate and articulate clear cut policies that will lift the country from its doldrums? Is it past misrule that has made it impossible for us to move the power challenge from where the Jonathan  administration stopped? Is it the past misrule that has made the country to suffer the siege of fuel scarcity in the past four months – non stop, a record by Nigeria’s standard? Is it past misrule that is responsible for our inability to contain the incessant attacks of the cattle herdsmen against innocent farmers striving for their daily living? Is it past misrule that has made it impossible for the government to produce a clean, clear, simple and implementable budget for the National Assembly to pass with ease?

It does not take one year to bring about positive change – check out President Mangufuli of Tanzania – even if change is not manifest in the daily lives of the citizens, a road map should be seen by all.

Where is the road map of this government?

To be continued

Sunny Ikhioya a commentator on national issues, wrote from Lagos.


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