In defence of Nigeria’s political leaders
In moments of great national controversy such as we are now experiencing with the political calculations towards 2023 elections. These are issues we misjudge. To judge by the accounts of laws and economic choices made by political leaders for the country shows that government is working. However, for those who think that Nigeria’s political leaders are not performing is so disconcerting that they would not even applaud the good works that are manifesting across the country.
Take for instance the noble Sharia law in Kano that took effect on January 1, 2020 banning opposite sex from riding on same tricycle. Well, before the reader rushes to judgment, before he or she snivels and snickers and shakes his or her head in grief at the ignorance of political leaders, an Islamic scholar and Chief Imman of Usman Bin-Anfan Central mosque, Shiehk Aliyu Yunus Mohammed said, “…that the policy was in accordance with Islamic Sharia, … it should not be imposed on non-Muslims…” In throwing more light to the issue, the governor, Abdulahi Umar Ganduje said, the law intends to uphold Islamic values as a Sharia compliant state. He may be right or what do you think? Indeed, nobody has disapproved of his action or the law. But, wait a minute, is that all a Sharia compliant state can offer the people in a democracy and on the first day of a New Year?
Before dabbling into a deeper controversy, let us take a moment to look at the disturbing reality as reported in the papers that Nigerians may be poorer in 2020. A prediction coming from manufacturers and operators in the service sector saw the economy to be in a shadow of financial disaster. This is a disturbing trend especially with a floating economy. An economy that emerged in 2016 from a deep recession caused by bad government policies seems uncertain for buoyancy in 2020. To a large extent, the economic recovery has been much slower than expected. Part of the reasons for the sluggish economic growth could be attributed to government continued desire to embrace wrong economic principles. The manufacturers and operators in the services sector maintained that, unless some lingering challenges are addressed the economic outlook may remain bleak. Challenges such as indiscriminate taxes, poor power generation, unfavourable government policies, hyper inflation among others must be adequately addressed. In agreement, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Director General, Muda Yusuf puts it thus: “…performance of the trade sector in 2020 would be shaped by the direction of government policies…”
Indeed, there is much to admire in the plans and policies that the ruling government has outlined for the country. Sadly, the plans seem not to reflect much in President Muhammadu Buhari’s presidency, despite the huge figures spent on infrastructure alone. Therefore, it is unclear how much of these programmes are being carried out judiciously to address the needs of the people. Since inception, President Buhari’s applause has largely remained on the fact that he is incorruptible. But is that what the economy needs to grow, stabilise and strengthen the weak naira or will his immaculate spotless corrupt garment lift Nigerians out of endemic poverty?
It is high time the ruling government endeavoured to hire brilliant people to work on specific problems outside of bureaucratic constraints. Such appointments would illustrate the importance of a clearly defined goal. This is because Buhari’s led government’s deficiency majorly comes from appointing old and wrong people into political offices. Currently, the ruling government has fallen short of its promises. As it were, the Buhari government is struggling to live up to the standard it set for itself especially in the areas of security, job creation and to pull millions of Nigerians out of poverty. If one may ask, what does political office holders do other than to serve the people? Again, let us briefly look at the story behind every politician’s assertion during elections campaign. They embark on political evangelism to reach an understanding with the people through fantastic programmes aimed at improving the lives of the people, a psychology that gives politicians an easy ride to power. After the election victory, political leaders become very wealthy overnight and they ascribe unimaginable privileges to themselves to the detriment of the people. Many a politician would chose to enrich self than to offer service to the people. At some point to evade bashing for poor leadership political leaders accuse the people of being lazy to embrace faceless opportunities.
Without mincing words politics in recent times has made Nigerians poorer and more unequal than it should be. Instead of repositioning Nigeria’s economy to transform lives, government and its officials are either dishing out laws or testing unknown economic models and continue to make bad choices for Nigerians.
It is therefore, no news to say Nigeria’s politics has drifted away from service to the people and nation to personal and family affairs. A new generation of selfish politicians is now the order of the day. Nowadays’ politicians are mostly motivated by calculated self attention. Many politicians are happy to ride on others success. Despite the sufferings the people are going through, there is no sign of a rethink on how the nation’s wealth will be redistributed between wages for workers and to provide and develop infrastructure across the country. It is a shame that minimum wage is still a big issue between government and labour unions in the 21st Century.
Considering all the pains Nigerians go through on a daily basis and out of a burning desire of patriotism, deep sense of responsibility and being humane, the deputy minority leader of the House of Representatives Toby Okechukwu recently urged President Buhari’s government to give Nigerians good roads as New Year present. What a benevolent request at a time like this.
His words, “Finding lasting solutions to the poor state of Nigerian roads should take pre-eminence in 2020 because…the House of Representatives passed the national roads fund bill and federal roads bill as permanent solution to the poor road infrastructure…” But curiously, Buhari didn’t sign it into law. It is very important for government to be sensitive to the plights of the people. If president Buhari transforms the economy, Nigerians will have reason to be grateful and hopeful for a better future. And things will naturally fall in the right places.