Government should be continuum
Sir: That government is a continuum is a common saying. But is this really true in Nigeria? Whenever such assertion is made, the thinking is that whoever ascends a position of power is supposed to continue from where his predecessor stops. But in reality, does that happen in Nigeria? From all the evidence that abounds in Nigeria, it’s easy to say without any fear of contradiction that it’s never so, especially at the state level.
And it goes to prove how far Nigeria is from development which ironically everyone craves for. In Nigeria, once a state governor leaves office, all the projects he is unable to complete become abandoned because the next leader, rather than see to its completion will only embark on his own projects.
The reason for this is that the new leader knows that the name of his predecessor is already linked to that project and even if he, the new leader, completes it, the project will still bear the name of the person who initiated it and not the fellow who completed it.
Moreover, the new leader is suspicious of the real cost of the projects his predecessor was unable to complete and how much of such cost has gone down the drain or siphoned. Rather than make enquiries which he believes will be a complete waste of time, he would rather opt for starting his own projects more so since he’s aware that his records of achievements start from day one.
He is sure that by the time he spends a hundred days in office, journalists will be all over him to present the records of whatever he has been able to do within that period, and rather than tell the public that he has been busy trying to complete the projects left by his predecessor which he feels will not impress anyone, he wants to be in a position to list some of the major things he himself has been able to do since assuming office.
It is therefore for that reason that in Nigeria, at the state level, the idea that government is a continuum has been rubbished and there are stories of so many abandoned projects. Take the Oshodi interchange started by the Ambode-led regime for instance and see how the multi-billion naira project has remained abandoned ever since its initiator left office. How long will Nigeria continue with this tradition of abandoned projects?
Thank God that at the federal level, the situation is slightly different. That’s why the incumbent president has tried to complete most of the projects inherited from the last regime such as the second Niger bridge and the Lagos-Ibadan expressway among others.
It will do us a world of good if we imbibe the idea of government being a continuum and ensure that all projects already embarked upon are completed and commissioned for the benefits of the citizens.
• Jide Oyewusi is coordinator, Ethics Watch International, Lagos.