Viewpoint

June 12, 2024

The will to render good service in a democracy

A lot of blokes here in Nigeria are already missing Buhari. Truth to tell, most Nigerians in Buhari’s time could pay their electricity bills with their monthly salaries.

Democracy Day celebration

By Bola Bakare

The essence of governance, world over, is the rendition of the basics that make life easier to live. Doing this can be in a situation where it is absent whereby the person at helm of affairs introduces measures that would revamp an ailing system or, where already existent and in place, continuing with the policies in place in the bid to sustain same or even improve on same.

Interestingly, across the globe, success in the above is usually, most likely, the yardstick with which the success or otherwise of an administration is measured.

This translates to mean that if an administration successfully gives good service to the citizens of the country, it is adjudged successful and where it is unable or incapable of same, such an administration is referred to as a failure.

In Nigeria, sadly, over the last two to three decades, there has been a dismal deterioration in the provision of good service in governance and, sadly, the most prominent factor responsible for this has not been the lack, the insufficiency or even the unavailability of such services but rather the unwillingness of our leaders to provide same.

The Nigerian political leaders, elected and appointed, has been grossly obsessed with enriching his pockets and that of his cronies at the detriment of the populace.

Resources meant for the commonwealth have been repeatedly misappropriated and diverted to private pockets whilst the masses are left to bear the brunt. This is cruel, inhuman, deplorable, greatly unacceptable and has been the basis for the clamour and the agitation for change. A change that is positive, that is.

The reason, then, with the reality of the dismal performance of the last administration, especially in the area of the economy of the nation and the resultant effect of same on the living conditions of the Nigerian populace, it became expedient for any next administration to hinge its economic policies around the renewal of hopes.

Hope for more infrastructure, hope for an improved foreign policy, hope for lower cost of living occasioned by lower cost of basic amenities, including food and, of course, a renewed hope for a government that would not only be responsive to the yearnings of the people, but a government that would, equally be accessible to the people.

The reason, then, why the election of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, cannot have come at a better time.

Parading his excellent performance as the governor of Lagos and, flanked by a rich array of technocrats and professional gurus, the action governor, now metamorphosed into the action president swung into action, immediately after swearing in.
He went straight for the jugular of the monster called petroleum subsidy. And thus started the ferocious fight against the continued subjugation of the Nigerian economy.
As expected, the move was countered and opposed all around.

First, were the masses, the ones directly affected by the resultant increase in prices of petroleum products culminating in an increase in the prices of, virtually every other sector of the economy since the Nigerian economy is woven round petroleum. But this is expected.

To worsen issues, the cabal that had been fleecing the Nigerian economy through subsidy fraud has been fighting tooth and nail, misinforming the populace about everything negative in the subsidy removal leaving out the long-term gains. What are the long-term gains?

First and foremost, the huge resources wasted on the payment of subsidy can be saved and channeled to the provision of infrastructure for the larger populace.
Also, the money saved can be diverted to the overhaul of our moribund refineries.

This is already yielding its dividends as the Port Harcourt refinery has undergone a Turn Around maintenance and has, already, started churning out refined fuel, even if on test mode.

This is commendable. A good lookout for further reprieve is Dangote Refinery which is being encouraged as it commences refining.

This is already yielding dividends as the price of diesel, on which a lot of our industries depend, is already dropping.
Fuel and energy keep the economy running. With good and steady power supply, the companies will run at lower costs.

Overhead costs will reduce and so will the prices of goods and services. A lot of resources, including efforts, have been committed to our power supply sector and this, definitely, is expected to yield results.

Furthermore, a new legislation has been passed encouraging independent power generation which will all contribute to the overall power supply. Gradually, we are moving towards available and steady power supply.

The present administration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, when it assumed office on 29th May, 2023, met a rotten system, a malfeasance of several years of bad governance.

If it prepared for it, it is not sure it, correctly predicted or envisaged the inhuman plunder of the last eight years before it.

Hiding under the change mantra and the garb of integrity, the officials, in the last government, competed, vigorously, with one another and tried, albeit sadly, to outdo one another in corruption.

Thus, when the change of guard took place, what was handed over, in every facet of our national life, including security, was not a sinking ship but rather, a sunk one, derailed, rudderless and one filled with holes.

The debt profile was overwhelming. Nigeria needed to be taken to the ICU, operated on and revitalised.

Within one year of its administration, the banking industry has been sanitised and the searchlight beamed on its records. The former Governor of the CBN is being tried for abuse of office and banks have a deadline to consolidate.

The naira is being stabilised against the dollar and our foreign debt is gradually being reduced. Inflation, fighting stubborn, has been taken head-on and is bound to yield.

Agriculture, the mainstay of the people, is being looked into with a view, not only to develop mechanised and industrial farming but to encourage all to practise subsistent farming as well as small scale cottage farming.

The major menace to farming, especially in the three regions of the North, has been insecurity where banditry has been a major predicament. Insecurity, in all forms, is being combated.

The service chiefs have been replaced and our law enforcers are being supported in their fight against insecurity.

Daily, bandits are being apprehended and, hitherto unsafe roads are now safe for travel.

One proactive measure of the government of the day is to reduce the pangs of the many measures being implemented. To this end, palliatives in the form of monetary tokens, food items and reduced transportation costs are periodically doled out to the masses.

This is to reduce the effects of the immediate consequences of the corrective measures.

The Central Bank, ably headed by Yemi Cardoso, a maverick banker who had served as Commissioner for Economic Planning in Lagos, is working round the clock to improve on our monetary and fiscal policies and the sagacity and many years of experience and astuteness of the Minister for Finance, Wale Edun, who doubles as the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, is beginning to yield positive results.

On a final analysis and, in conclusion, it can be said that things are beginning to get better. The pains are temporary and if the measures are sustained, soon, then, Nigeria, definitely, will pan out to be a working economy where the quality of life would improve to enviable heights and business viability will increase.

Bola Bakare writes from Lagos