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How not to run a country

By Yinka Odumakin

THE saddest occurrence in the history of mankind is that Nigerians ever featured in the human happiness index in spite of the miseries that daily rule their lives. Anytime I see Nigerians mentioned in the same bracket with that word, I usually reach for my dictionary and happiness is still defined as: “A mental or emotional state of well-being defined by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment or immense joy”?

Nigeria has been ranked sixth in Africa in the latest World Happiness Report of 2017 and 95th in the World. The Report ranks 155 countries by their happiness levels.

Just pick any of our daily newspapers from front to the back page; it is a daily ritual of news that ordinarily should make citizens of such a country to be in perpetual mourning. Yet, we are currently the sixth happiest people in Africa in spite of our many afflictions. Does it mean we are like the thoughtless Galatians? Well, we take a lot of things that make you wonder if humans can ever get so low and doubt what is left of our dignity as a people.

A resilient people

But a thorough inquiry would reveal that there is a more rigorous explanation for our state of being. And it is that we are a resilient people that should be very easy to govern by a focused leadership. Our expectations collectively are not so high. It is about a country of its size that I know where citizens would scream “UP NEPA” when power is restored instead of being angry that they have not had power for several hours. It is a place where “body language” is good enough instead of sterling performance.

Nigerians are ready to manufacture excuses for their leaders with the hope that “e go better” one way or the other. I am fully persuaded that it is this profile of the Nigerian people that has made life so easy for their leaders and also the very reason  their leaders (rulers is a better word!) don’t take them very serious but show deep contempt for them. I doubt if the Nigerian politicians see much value in the electorate more than the ballot box which is brought on Election Day and returned to the store once the votes are counted.

I have been reflecting on the foregoing, watching the tragicomedy that governance has been turned to in a country that was filled with the euphoria of change about two years ago. The land today is brimming with charade upon shenanigan as cruel jokes have taken centre stage of governmental activities. In the absence of a clear direction in government based on sound policies, assorted comedies have taken centre stage in this great theatre of the absurd.

One moment the Senate and the Customs boss are in a spat over appearance in uniform. Some have asked: what is so important in a uniform to the Senate? The corollary of that should be what is so unimportant to the Customs CG in a uniform attached to his office?

As that rages, the “grass cutter” too fires his own memo that he would not appear before the Senate. As we were savouring that, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN) momentarily forgot that he is a constitutional lawyer and an appointee being paid from taxpayers’ money by declaring that he could not be summoned by the Senate because they didn’t vote money for his office. So the fund his committee is using is from his law firm or the President’s farm?

In the midst of all that came the accusation that Dino Melaye did not graduate from the Ahmadu Bello University, ABU, as he claimed until the ABU VC came to testify that he did earn the university’s certificate. A day after, the senator came to the chambers in academic gown in a dramatic display of the huge joke governance has been reduced to in our country.

The clear demonstration of the denied threat to shut down Buhari’s government soon came to the fore with the refusal by the Senate to clear the 27 RECs sent by the Presidency until the resolution on Magu is complied with. It is difficult to understand what the President is up to on this controversial Magu issue. Did he expect the Senate to clear the anti-corruption dramatist with the damning report the DSS under the Presidency has turned to the legislative body?

This perhaps lends credence to the suspicion that all the shenanigans we are witnessing between the executive and legislature are scripted to make us focus on minors because they have no clue on the majors.  It may not be so. The truth, however, is that none of the arms is living up to the expectations of millions of Nigerians who embraced change two years ago.

The life of this administration is just a year more before serious activities for the next elections commence; would all that is going on now be the payback for change? The APC leadership must get back to the drawing board, stop all the nonsense going on between the executive and legislature and turn a new leaf in the months remaining for the sake of our suffering people.

All that is presently going on spells how not to run a country.


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