In praise of Abuja insiders
Nigeria has seen some spectacular people with astonishing disposition of character in positions of leadership in its political arena. Think of the colonial era politicians who fought for the country’s independence and the first republic politicians known for their modest life style but soiled their fingers in what the press referred to then as ten per-centers. Of course, the gluttonous freeloaders of naira and loquacious politicians of the second and third republics saw the nation experience its first austerity measures. The military regimes that came for the rescue are neither a saint in the jamboree of flirting with the nation’s wealth and resources.
However, since the fourth republic berthed in 1999, politics in its constant nature overrides the value of experience. The Abuja insiders have not failed in their continuous ploy to deceive voters with fantastic promises and present themselves as very nice people working hard for the public good. Politicians across the country, whether in ministries, agencies or law enforcement agencies name it, all have one aspiration, to make Nigeria a great nation among the comity of nations. In addition, they speak with one voice as they constantly give Nigerians hope, assurance and reasons to tremendously believe that sooner than later an amazing new dawn will radically provoke development across the country and bring positive change that will better the lives of the down trodden in the society.
These assurances are riding behind the fact that Nigeria is richly blessed in mineral resources and its human capacity is a resounding strength to be proud of. But these are great privileges now seen as drawback or a curse to the nation. This is because over the years, Nigeria suffers as one of the world’s highest rates of political mismanagement of its resources and human capital due to poor leadership. To buttress the above point, President Muhammadu Buhari the other day, while speaking at the National Summit on Diminishing Corruption in public sector alleged that members of the National Assembly frittered away over N1 trillion earmarked for constituency projects in the last 10 years. His words, “It is on record that in the past 10 years, N1 trillion has been appropriated for constituency projects yet the impact of such huge spending on the lives and welfare of ordinary Nigerians can hardly be seen”. Confronted with such findings, a serious government with the aim to fight corruption will be provoked to investigate, probe and bring persons found culpable to book rather than raise the roof with some empty noise. No doubt, overcoming these obstacles will be hard but not impossible, if policy makers and political leaders agree to put the country first before their personal ambition. What of political party’s desire to grab everything leaving the people with little or nothing as they suffer and struggle endlessly for livelihood? It is regrettable to note that most Abuja insiders’ way of life and utterances, as it now seems, they will never be short of excellent excuses to justify their failure or poor performance. In their bid to exonerate themselves or save their organisations, ministries or parastatals from blame, they unknowingly ignite more flames that will consume and expose their illegality.
A few days after the Bayelsa and Kogi gubernatorial elections conundrum, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, blamed the violence that erupted on that faithful day on persons he considered a ‘fake policemen’. According to him, “During the election anybody you saw either in police or military uniform that did not carry tag that had been given for the election, that person was not a genuine police officer or military officer or he was not on duty…” While the People Democratic Party (PDP) spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan maintained that “…to think that nearly 35 thousand policemen were deployed for the elections yet they were overpowered by ‘fake policemen’ speaks volume”. Indeed, the IGP’s statement is soothing but the snarling reality made it richly a comic affair. Of course, many Nigerians appear to be embarrassed even as plenty of opinions polling across the country can attest, are not on the same page with the Inspector General’s position. Hence, Governor Seriake Dickson rejected the result in strong terms by saying, “What happened in Bayelsa is one of the most brazen acts of distortion and rape of our democracy. What took place was not a democratic election. It was a military coup. It was the highest of conspiracy by the Federal Government and security agencies to subvert the democratic rights of our people for the sole purpose of foisting the APC on the people”. It is baffling to note that an election exercise that Deputy General Inspector of Police AbdulMajid Ali disclosed that 66,241 police personnel would be deployed as 35,200 is for Kogi while 31,041 will be responsible to maintain law and order in Bayelsa. Yet, persons described as ‘fake policemen’ by the IG were able to operate and cause confusion. The fear that such conclusion would not only give hoodlums the audacity to break the law wearing military or police uniforms, it also tells that policing in the country remains a far cry.
To judge by the conduct of last week’s elections in Bayelsa and Kogi goes beyond what transpired. It debunks the theory that government is a place full of assorted enjoyment with little or no service to the people. Therefore, no issue defines political war as perfectly as elections period so that those in the ruling party or with heavier security protection remain in power through a crooked manner. An election, where the winner takes all is a nasty form of politics because it is dismissive of people with a different point of view particularly those in other political parties. And in the determination of the ruling party to remain in power, it makes the classic political strongman’s mistake of losing touch with the people and regardless of the peoples opinion, government tends to do what it pleases.
One does not need the services of a soothsayer to know that Nigerians have lost faith in Abuja insiders for some very good reasons. One of such and very important among them is failed promises. Of course, subverting the people’s will during elections through rigging is another. The need for government to turn over a new leaf is urgent because the self destruction and nonchalant attitude of government and its officials are denting the nation’s image. Despite its claim to be an apostle of the rule of law, the ruling government finds it very hard to obey court orders. Therefore, the judiciary that is seen by the society as the vehicle for legislative change and the last hope for the common man is not been paid attention by government. The government will only obey court orders if it gets what it wants. Of course, things may poise to get much worse if the ruling government’s judgment continue to be coloured by the tendency to be seen as too honourable or more patriotic than thou, yet most of its actions are well off the rail track.
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