WE have started again this new year 2017; grandstanding, propounding theories, analysing and forecasting. Different experts from here and there. The government, with all of its machinery of propaganda giving hope to the people, a hope that might turn to despair by the middle of the year because everyone is refusing to face and adequately deal with the true situation in the country.

You want to see an example of a leader ready for change? I produce here , a news item from the Vanguard of January 3, 2017, with the headline; “Tanzania’s President sacks head of power firm over tariff hike”. According to the news report: “Tanzanian President John Mangufuli sacked the head of the state run electricity company on Sunday after the firm put up tariffs, a move the President said would stymie his plans to industrialise the East African country. Tanzania’s energy regulators on Thursday approved a power tariff hike of 8.5 percent by the Tanzania electric supply company, TANESCO, less than half of what the utility company said it needed to stem loses. President Mangufuli’s office announced the sacking of TANESCO’s Managing Director, Felchesmi Mramba in a statement. ….. “It is unacceptable that while we are making plans to build manufacturing industries and ensure that our citizens have access to electricity, someone else uses his position to increase the tariff”…..

This is a government that is ready to match it’s words with action. No industry can grow anywhere in the world without government’s  support – policies, subsidies, infrastructures, etc – all must be done in line with objectives of government. We want to boost local production in Nigeria, yet we cannot afford to make power available to the people. We do not have electricity, yet our electricity companies  give us estimated bills to pay and, even increase tariffs, yet  government regulators sit down and watch.

The communication companies are reaping off Nigerians with their poor services and indiscriminate charges and our government sit down to watch.

Our banks will not provide facility for honest businessmen to do business, yet they collect all sorts of charges from innocent depositors under several guises. The sixty five naira ATM charge that should apply after three withdrawals is now done at every withdrawal, yet our government agencies sit down to watch.

Business and land documents still stay forever in government ministries in the name of ‘processing’ and we say we are changing. Tell me one thing that has changed between this regime and the ones in the past? I know that you will tell me anti corruption but, if you can cast your mind back to the ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime, with Nuhu Ribadu as head of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, examine the situation then critically, then compare it to the EFCC of today, what is the difference? Every time we go round in circles, repeating policies and measures that will end up not working, every government that has governed this country ends up shying away from the realities facing this nation, including the present one.

The reality is that we are a culturally diverse and complex nation, that is not united in almost everything. The reality is that each of the ethnic nationality that make up Nigeria wants  a say on how they are to be governed and their resources allocated, not by coercion or official manipulations. The reality is that our leaders, up till date have been sectional and parochial in their decision making, as it affects governance in this nation. The reality is that, as it is today, despite the drop in the international price of crude oil, Nigeria still depends on oil for its survival – more than 80 percent. The reality is that, without oil today, Nigeria can never come out of recession. In fact, it will dip further.

The reality is that oil must be produced without interruptions for Nigeria’s income to be stable. The reality is that people from the oil producing communities are not happy with the treatment given to them by government and oil companies and, until they are appeased, the challenges  regarding oil production will continue. We need to face the realities of this country. It is either we are ready to change this country for good or we continue to pretend that a nation exists. Without oil we can never get out of this recession easily. But, the government thinks that we can achieve this through other means.

There is need for a concerted engagement with the people of the oil producing communities. The real people in the region that is , not  politicians, rent seekers and carpet baggers. We need to institute measures and programmes that will grow the local industries and this can be achieved by truly reaching out to the people. We have been a country of dreamers. We only wish and  do nothing for the wish to be accomplished. This accounts for  why ponzi schemes like MMM  has become the fastest growing business in Nigeria.

Let us start doing and let government take the lead. When you see the actions of a government that is ready for change, you will know, as demonstrated by the Tanzanian example. We cry manufacturing, agriculture, education and others, what has  government done to lift these sectors that is different from what had  have been done in the past? Prices of fertilizers and feeds have increased to astronomical proportions and we expect local agric farmers to cope?

The ordinary citizen is being gradually squeezed out of existence in Nigeria. Let us face realities. The reality is that the Boko Haram has destroyed businesses in the north east part of the country. The reality is that the Fulani herdsmen or whatever name they are called have destroyed farming activities in the Middle Belt and the southern part of the north. The reality is that we must bring all of the ethnic groups together and allow each one  decide on how it wants to be governed. It is a difficult choice but, it is time to face realities in this country, no other way.

Mr.  Sunny Ikhioya.  www. southsouthecho.com Twitter: @SunnyIkhioya

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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.