A country in the hands of an insincere, insecure and insensitive government
Sir: It took only months of President Muhammadu Buhari`s government for Nigerians to realise they had sold a scorpion only to buy a wasp. By the end of his first year in office back in 2016, hunger had sucked the nectar out of the flower of hope blossoming in the hearts of those who still believed that the hope they reposed in President Buhari was no hoax. A year into his second term, economic strangulation and suffocation have sprouted iron fingers, holding even Nigeria`s scandalously rich in a vice-like grip. The novel coronavirus has put the world through a difficult year, spreading as much disease as panic.
Nigeria has been particularly hard hit by the shockwaves the virus has sent across the economic lines of the world. But even before the world was shoved into a global pandemic, Nigerians were stiffly sat on economic pins and needles. Since President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office in 2015, his government has been defined by a curious austerity that has mouthed Nigeria`s struggle with systemic corruption at every turn and supposedly mounted a strong response to it.
The anti-corruption agencies in the country have been loud with the usual nauseating noise about fighting corruption that Nigerians find deathly wearisome. Although there has been a number of high profile convictions here and there by a judiciary many consider compromised, it is the media that has had a field day, feeding off the feast of media convictions fed them by state anti-corruption and security agencies desperately eager to produce results for an overwhelmed presidency. Already, Nigerians are bone- tired of the whole cycle and circus. Bitter memories of previous anti-corruption campaigns come back to haunt the sensibilities of Nigerians each time another scandal is served on the plate of another elaborate charade rolled.
The recent exhibition of shamelessness at the probe of the NDDC by the National Assembly jumps into mind. In unilaterally hiking up the price of fuel without proper and considerate consultation with citizens as any responsible government would do, the President Muhammadu Buhari administration has again shown its sympathies in this period of great economic difficulties, when those standing with Nigeria`s poorest are standing up to be counted. Nigerians can see that the administration does not stand with them. It takes too little of the difficulties they confront daily into consideration.
The government has cited the COVID-19 pandemic as the blighted brain behind the hike in fuel prices, but Nigerians are unsure. For a government that has so far failed to show the transparency and willingness to build dialogue, which in turn breeds trust, such uncertainty is anything but surprising. Nigerians have learnt to take the government`s words with a pinch of salt. The hike in fuel prices is already sending shockwaves through Nigerian households, many of which were already set on a knife edge by the inconsistent policies of the administration and the biting effects of the global pandemic.
For breadwinners who go out there daily to fend and take back home, the cost of moving about has just increased. Usually, when the cost of transportation rises, it does not rise alone, it takes other things up with it, leaving the most vulnerable Nigerians on the ground to confront the realities of their bleak situations. For many Nigerians, the great hope reposed in the President Muhammadu Buhari administration has fast faded; and unless the President retraces his steps and sets his administration on a firmer course, such hopes would soon turn into horror.
• Kene Obiezu, wrote from Abuja
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