By Sunny Ikhioya
Haven just read Festus Adedayo’s “Nigeria is a messed up country”, one cannot help but, become emotional about the situation that we have found ourselves in this country. Is Nigeria truly messed up? Can things be redressed? Or, are we going to continue on the famished path, as the the country with the greatest assemblage of poor people on earth? We are likely to be encouraged when we see Nigerians like Dr Osatohamen Osewengie, one that is regarded as the world’s best physicist, who manufactures drones for the United States of America and many others like him, the best in their individual professions, scattered all over the world.
What is the strength of the nation of Israel? It is their human capital, spread all over the world. If we properly harness our potentials can’t ours be the same? What then is holding us back? In the first instance, it is difficult to analyze situations objectively in the country these days, however good the point you try to put up, there will be thousands of nay sayers waiting to shut you up, at the end, the baby is thrown away with the bath water. We must start by accepting the challenges we face as a nation, I mean really accepting it as a fact and take responsibility to fix it, no matter how deep the rot is.
We must tackle them according to our ability and available resources but, we must be honest enough to accept what the real problem is. Is hate speech the issue here? I don’t know if the present government set up standards at the inception of this regime but an easy way out is to look at the inaugural speech given by President Muhammadu Buhari on May 29′ 2015. It is my humble opinion that we should all trace our way back to that speech. Everything that needed to be said is all encapsulated in that speech and most importantly, the way forward. According to Buhari,
May 29’2015 “marks a triumph for Nigeria and an occasion to celebrate her freedom and cherish her democracy. Nigerians have shown their commitment to democracy and are determined to entrench its culture. Our journey has not been easy but thanks to the determination of our people and strong support from friends abroad, we have today a truly democratically elected government in place”. He also went further, “…I would like to thank President Goodluck Jonathan for his display of statesmanship in setting precedent for us that has now made our people proud to be Nigerians wherever they are.
With the support and cooperation he has given to the transition process, he has made it possible for us to show the world that despite the perceived tension in the land, we can be a United people capable of doing what is right for our nation”. That was the President in 2015, that was the situation he met on ground. The question to ask ourselves now is this; how far have we progressed since five years ago? Can we in all sincerity say that we have moved forward? Unless there is stability in the polity of a country, the country cannot move forward in any direction.
The Buhari administration must begin to examine itself and make sure the polity returns to the point he met it or improve upon what he met on ground. It is a huge task but he must be reminded that history will be there to judge him, whether he has attended to his duties, as he did swore on oath to do, or, he will be judged otherwise, the ball is in his court. If the whole world was duly informed that there will be electoral violence in Kogi and Bayelsa states and the predicted scenarios played out for real on the day of the elections, who do you hold responsible for the violence and deaths that occurred on that day? Are we no longer going to witness peaceful elections in this country again? With the various crocodiles, python, puffadder and other operations going on? Why did they fail to nip these election violence in the bud? What was the police and other military personnel meant to do, after being heavily mobilised to these areas? You promised that you will deepen our democratic process, is that what is playing out? When you accept to take up the job, you must be ready to take up the responsibility that goes with it.
When a leadership refuses to accept its shortcomings, there is no way it can solve problems. The challenges were there before Buhari came in, according to him; “…I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody. At home we face enormous challenges, Insecurity, Pervasive corruption, the hitherto unending and seemingly impossible fuel and power shortages are the immediate concerns. We are going to tackle them head on. Nigerians will not regret that they have entrusted national responsibility to us…”. That was May 2015, what is the position today? It is very important for us to go back and see where we started from and take stock. We appear to have derailed from our set objectives, in the manner that we are tackling the challenges. When you are begging the people to forgive a governor who has performed woefully, what are you telling the world? You are telling them that there is benefit in failing, like the story of the Edo Chief, who asked the people to allow his son to repeat his tenure, for if you fail a class, it is normal to go for a repeat. That is the sort of comedy our situation has reduced us to. We keep on witnessing the same scenario; a ruling party that cannot even organise simple primaries for members contesting elections.
The question again, is; was this the promise given to the people? Propaganda is good, it can influence the people’s opinion, it can enable you to secure victory but it will not sustain you in government, if you cannot offer the people what they want. It is not too late to make amends, If it is to be made possible during his tenure, he has to adopt different approaches. He has to win the confidence of the people with his economic decisions, the international business community and show capacity to institute genuine change. He has to make elections truly free and fair, fashion out a way to bring together diverse talents that abound all over the world and use them to build the nation. He has to interact with the right people, free of sentiments of ethnicity, religion and cliques. The potential for greatness of this country is there for all to see, but leadership is falling short of expectations. We know the problem, we know how to fix it as attested to in the President’s speech of May’ 2015, now it is time to walk our talk, or else, we are on the famished path.