Waiting for the new government
MR. President-elect, I’m not a popular figure, so there’s no way you’d know me. Nonetheless in my little corner, and armed with my tool of trade, I fought with the strength of a lion, often at great risks, to push your cause during the electioneering period.
I am a professional novelist cum publicist. My tool of trade is the pen, which I wield to good effect! My platform is the social media. I also use the newspapers, especially The Guardian, to market my ideas through strings of opinion articles.
To date, beginning from the moment you were announced the presidential flag bearer of your party, I have written not less than 20 articles to showcase you.
I have a large audience that takes my opinions as their guiding lamp. You may not be chanced as I would have invited you to Google a couple of these articles and read. Some of the titles include, “Jitters in the Land.” This was the very first piece I wrote the moment you were announced the APC flag bearer.
Then followed by several others like, “Jonathan, Buhari and Revolution”; “For the Survival of our Nation”; “Jonathan: Riding on Tiger’s Back”; “An urgent Memo to Nigerian Voters”; “Election 2015: Light VS Darkness”; “Nicodemus and Jonathan”; “The Nigerian Presidential Election at the Crossroads”;
“The Nigerian 2015 Presidential Election: Matters Arising”; “The True Hero in the 2015 Nigerian Presidential Election”; “Political Osmosis: An ill-wind”; etc, etc. Sir, I cited all this to show you, even though I’m not a politician, that I played a key role in your success which I assume now earns me the right to make the following demands on you. Uninterrupted supply of electricity: You see, several governments have taken the Nigerian people here for a ride.
The out-going Jonathan Administration perfected this act of deception to the hilt. There’s no single year that passed by in recent times that we were not told to expect an increase in the level of power generation, say, to the tune of 10,000 MW or above, a promise that never held water but rather kept us in perpetual darkness.
Today in the power sector the situation is as dismal as ever with the level of power generation hovering miserably around 3000MW.
Not a few times has the level dropped even down to as low as 2500MW! Yet every now and then, the government comes forward to tell the world of Nigeria’s new strides in power generation.
The truth is, rather than new strides, the situation is getting worse by the day. Now, to say that we need uninterrupted supply of electricity in Nigeria would be flogging the issue.
That’s not implying that you should turn yourself into a miracle worker and decree a 24-hour non-interrupted power supply into existence. No. But we want you to place the issue on the front burner of your do-it list.
Let it be among the first projects you intend to quickly execute to prove to sceptics that change is real. Corruption: We fought and voted for you so you can come and tame this monster that the out-going administration has elevated to statecraft.
Corruption is at the root of virtually every problem there is in this country. Get rid of it, all other problems will fall like a pack of cards. Corruption has infested almost every gamut of the society.
No sector and no one are spared the scourge. The high and the low; the rich and the poor; the rulers and the subjects; name it; everybody’s hand is dripping with corruption! Like the case of the power sector I have just mentioned, getting a handle on corruption isn’t going to be a piece of cake.
We have the worst type of corruption in Nigeria and that’s the “open corruption.” You don’t hide to practise this one since everyone else is involved in it and the society looks at it as ‘only just being smart’ and not so much as a crime.
Now, corruption in the country, like a long-standing tradition, can’t be made to give way so easily without a fight. Many who are beneficiaries of the decadence would try to shoot down any effort to cage the ‘monster.’
When they hear about change, they’re going to start throwing spanners into the works. Already, they’re at it, since your victory. Anytime now, there’s power outage, you’ll hear them mock: ‘Sai Buhari’, attributing the cause to you! You see, since the birth of this nation, several attempts had been made by successive governments to fight corruption but all failed except, perhaps, the one by your government in 1983, code-named WAI (War Against Indiscipline).
For example, Gowon’s anti-corruption declaration in October 1970 did not go off the ground. Murtala Mohammed also did try to fight corruption but the shortness of his tenure made the effort not so much felt aside the fact that it tore the civil service structure into pieces and summarily indicted the Gowon administration in July 1978.
Gen. Obasanjo’s 1977 Jaji declaration also did not fly. It only succeeded in scratching the surface of the problem. The same thing with Shagari’s 1982 Ethical Revolution which everyone knew was a sham.
In May 1994, General Sani Abacha, of all people, came up with his own programme to confront corruption. He code-named it WAI-C (War Against Indiscipline and Corruption).
The project suffered a stillbirth as expected since the regime itself was an embodiment of corruption. In his second coming in 1999, Obasanjo tried again to curb corruption by setting up the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which had Nuhu Ribadu as Chairman.
Though Ribadu had fire in his bones and was ready to rein in the ‘monster’, Obasanjo did not allow him space to work. Soon the Commission turned into President Obasanjo’s attack dog, haunting down his political opponents. Ribadu’s exit at the Commission further crippled what was left of the anti-graft outfit.
Sir, I don’t need to tell you that fighting corruption in Nigeria is like declaring war on the entire country. You would be faced with stiff opposition, as I have said before, even from within your government! But you must not despair. Just get the right people together – those who share the same ideals with you and the work would be done.
Also, bearing how pervasive corruption is, I’m thinking that you may have to dust off your 1983 WAI programme. Unemployment: This has become a ticking time bomb nearing explosion.
To avert the catastrophe, you should be thinking of how to quickly put in place an emergency recovery programme, in form of a Marshall Plan, to absorb the army of the unemployed across the country. Security/Boko Haram: Please know that the whole world is waiting in suspended animation to hear your programme of action to arrest the menace of the Boko Haram insurgency.
You have two things going for you here; Number one, your religion, Islam, and number two, your military background. Use both to full advantage as you seek solution to this problem.
In all you do, please look for the missing Chibok girls and bring them home alive to their parents. OPC/ MASSOB/Niger-Delta ex-militants: The easy way these regional groups lent themselves out as tools in the hands of the outgoing government during the just concluded elections is a cause for concern.
What made them sold out to government so cheaply, I assume, is the contract, running into billions, awarded them by the out-going government to secure oil pipe lines across the country.
You may need to go into full details as to what informed the government to give such a vital and sensitive assignment to these groups. If providence is returning you back to power so you can complete the clean-up exercise you left off in your first coming, I think we all need to line behind you since (let me use the same phrase you used 30 years ago) “we have no other country but Nigeria, we will remain here and savage it together.” Thank you sir. •Edaghese, novelist, is based in Lagos.
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