Friday, 29th September 2023

Government house: Same bed, different dreams

By Matthew Ozah
29 May 2019   |   3:17 am
I would like to begin this commentary by asking a common question. Do you believe Nigerian politicians? The correct answer for many should be no, of course not, you must be joking to say that. Why take no for an answer with all the performance by rhetoric? Indeed, one can see how things have improved…

Incoming Governor of Lagos state Sanwo-Olu (Left) and Outgoing Governor of Lagos state, Ambode (Right). Photo/Twitter/jidesanwoolu

I would like to begin this commentary by asking a common question. Do you believe Nigerian politicians? The correct answer for many should be no, of course not, you must be joking to say that.

Why take no for an answer with all the performance by rhetoric? Indeed, one can see how things have improved rapidly especially the efforts being made by the ruling party to curb insecurity and unemployment in the country.

A friend the other day said that this political era is certainly a wonderful age for vision and dreams among Nigerian politicians. This is particularly so for those elected politicians being sworn into offices today across the country.

The swagger among these politicians is consumed in ecstasy to have won elections to occupy such prestigious offices as governors, legislators, Senators among others. Therefore, triumphalism becomes the pride of the moment as many will behave like special breed and indulge in rhetoric making fresh promises of what they would do in office.

No doubt, Nigerian politicians are known to run a massive politics of rhetoric and are hungry for applause without performance. If politicians could get their way, they would do nothing about their campaign promises rather, continue to tell the citizens cock and bull stories until their tenure ends.

In Lagos for instance, the Governor-elect, Babajide Sanwo-Olu the other day, during an interactive session with his classmates at the executive Master of Business Administration class, University of Lagos, 1998/2000 said he would end the Apapa area gridlock within 60 days in office as well as engage university graduates to drive the BRT buses with a ‘fabulous’ monthly salary of 100,000 thousand naira. These are indeed ambitious and tall dreams.

Notwithstanding, Sanwo-Olu has committed himself by making such pronouncements. Therefore, Lagosians are waiting to hold him accountable on the appointed time and day.

The governor-elect needs to be cautioned by his communication managers. No doubt, these ambitious workaholics seem to toe the line of American President, Donald Trump who goes on Twitter to say all kinds of things during and after the presidential elections.

However, before the governor-elect, Sanwo-Olu could swallow his saliva from that political statement an ‘executive order’ from Abuja swiftly took the steam out of his dream.

The president issued a directive for the immediate clearing up of the Apapa area gridlock in 72 hours and to restore law and order within Apapa environs in two weeks. This type of scenario where political statements seem to constantly clash among politicians within the same party shows that party faithfuls are not together as a team.

Somehow, it seems the ruling party does not follow a laid down blueprint. Although, Nigerians are no strangers to failed promises and dashed hopes, it would be extremely disappointing and appalling if both the presidential order and the Sanwo-Olu’s dream fail to take care of the Apapa gridlock .

Just as different leaders are inspired by different ideology so are these in-coming political leaders talking about different ideas and dream differently on what to do. Therefore, the fear of continuity in government becomes evident as each of these new leaders wake up with fresh dreams and ideas which may hinder their predecessor’s on-going projects or truncate deals already signed into law.

For example, eight days to the end of Rochas Okorocha’s tenure as governor of Imo state, he leased out some state-owned hospitals for 25 years to churches, private investors, Nigerian Army, Air force and Navy to manage.

Without mincing words, this type of action usually orchestrates that Nigerian spirit of power show among politicians, particularly if the out-going and in coming are from different political parties.

In such scenario, the issue of yours was wrong while mine is right would become a raging controversy that may take a better part of productive leadership.

At the moment, in Imo state, the in-coming governor’s party, the PDP seems to be laying such foundation as it kick against Okorocha’s hospitals’ lease.

In its reaction, the Publicity Secretary of the party, Damian Opara said: “Okorocha has no right to use Imo money like that, when Emeka Ihedioha comes in he will know what to do”. Unarguably, it is right to condemn poor leadership, but it is absolutely wrong to suggest an alternative that is in itself questionable.

Indeed, history will have very little or nothing to say about achievements of many politicians in Nigeria because they hardly perform. But, it will have a lot to say and document about their ‘reckless’ rhetoric.

Again, the governor-elect of Imo state, Emeka Ihedioha was quoted to have said “I want to re-assure Imo people that I will not witch-hunt anybody or group who neither voted for me nor my party in the last election…”.

Often times, politicians words are far from their deeds, therefore, Nigerians are watching and waiting until after the handover ceremonies. This is because, if it is not in Ihedioha’s character to witch-hunt anybody he would definitely set-up a committee to probe or investigate previous political leaders when he eventually discovers an empty state treasury as is usually the case.

Naturally, in politics, everyone blames everyone else. It is always fashionable for an in-coming government to first and foremost trade blames on the previous administration, then promise that it would take a bold new paradigm to achieve excellent performance.

The Nigerian people are tired of politics of blame. Therefore, they want a leader who is not corrupt and who will bring peace and prosperity to the people. So far, no government has achieved that over the years.

However, Nigerians are made to understand that by the ruling party standard, president Buhari’s government is a success story in security, anti-corruption fight, economy, job creation name it.

Indeed, this is a delicious irony but I will not comment further because indicators are there for people to plot the graph. It is absurd to continue to exaggerate political strength or performance where there is none. Politics has really changed a lot.

Nowadays politicians no longer get along with the people. A common complaint among political analysts is that politicians have suddenly lost interest to address peoples’ oriented and societal challenges. They pursue their personal interest only. Of course, this is an indication that politicians have kidnapped Nigeria’s democracy and the people want it back.