Wetin Nigerians never see?
Every government past or present in Nigeria hardly fulfils their election promises. Under such circumstance, the people hang their hope on the general belief that the future would be better. That assumption is no longer secure with the current narrative from government quarters. Therefore, it may not have come as a surprise when various government officials now follow President Muhammadu Buhari’s lead to warn Nigerians of imminent hardship. Ever since the President said the other day that his next four year-term will be tough, every Dick and Harry in government has risen from one meeting or the other to announce that Nigerians would face tough times in the near future. Whether it is a threat or real warning from an economic forecast, this government should be reminded that Nigerians have grown a bilateral relationship with whatever situation, good or rosy, bad or ugly and have survived several austerity measures occasioned from poor policies of previous administrations. The recent comeback from economic recession is not an exception. Therefore, the ruling government and its officials should keep their hardship prophecies to themselves because wetin Nigerians never see?
Not too long ago, the governors rose from their forum to warn Nigerians of tough times ahead. The latest prediction of hardship is coming from no other than the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele who recently appeared before the Senate committee for screening for another term in office. He said: “The road ahead for Nigeria is still rough and very tough. But I want to appeal to all Nigerians that a time comes in the history of a country where you have to learn to respect the policies and laws of the country”. If one may ask, is it not the same government and its officials that are known to always disregard government policies as well as the letters and spirit of the Nigerian constitution? A case in point was the recent drama that played out in Kano state over the controversial bill signed into law by governor Abdullahi Ganduje and the four newly installed emirates. Of course, in a show of disrespect for policies and law the governor in defence said that the court order restraining the action came late.
When does lateness amount to disregard of court order? Is it not better late than never? Again, how about the twist going on with the electoral tribunal over the 2019 presidential elections? Are the poor masses orchestrating the drama? No doubt, democracy has been constantly denied in this part of the world. Politicians in their falsehood hardly keep their promises rather they come up with glorified excuses that make them look like saints. While the masses are left to survive solely on their own, but no matter what, Nigerians keep their heads high and come out of any tough situation stronger than ever because wetin Nigerians never see.
Since the 1990’s, Buhari’s 2015 election victory is second only to M K O Abiola’s June 12, 1993 exodus. In that case, president Buhari is one of the few politicians that have pulled the greatest waves of democratic hope among Nigerians. But few years down the line and a couple of days to begin a second term, the outlook of things suddenly seem to be much darker than what the people hoped for. Perhaps, to express his innocence and deep emotional feelings, president Buhari the other day during the breaking of fast at Aso Rock Villa decried the excruciating poverty especially the case of the Almajiri’s in the northern part of the country. Buhari should take a lead from what former American President Barrack Obama said: “…that Africa does not need strongmen, it needs strong institutions.” Therefore, president Buhari should endeavour to strengthen the nations’ institutions because Nigerians did not elect him to earn sympathy. Rather, they want to see real performance and enjoy what political analysts refer to as ‘dividends of democracy’.
Indeed, politicians and their arts are often likened to magicians because irrespective of poor performance they continue to charm and put the people in suspense, disbelief and hopefulness. Notwithstanding the claims of achievement with regards to job creation, the ruling government seems to be humbled by the way poverty is ravaging Nigerians. Consequently this has given room to most people to distinguish between the present and past governments with emphasis on what former governor of Ekiti state, Ayo Fayose referred to as ‘stomach infrastructure’. Before now, families could afford three square meals a day but the current zigzag adjustment to feeding habits that most families have adopted is evident of Mr president’s worries. As it were, it is easy for the head of a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than Nigerians to continue to hope for a better future.
For many ears, such announcements of hardship sounds like a broken record because austerity measure is not new in Nigeria. It has been the anchor tone of every government for decades. To understand the level of suffering Nigerians are undergoing daily, government officials should visit the suburbs to where the somewhere mingles with the anywhere that leads to suffering and smiling among the masses. They should visit where blackout looms over an entire community for months yet the residents are made to pay monthly electricity bills for darkness. They should see where several motorway echoes in pot holes while many are earth roads that welcome travelers with dust. Surprisingly, no matter how traumatic the situation is, instead of collapsing on their knees and mourn, Nigerians, as spirited as they are, never give up because wetin Nigerians never see.
It is disheartening to note that the ruling party chooses to pity Nigerians poverty situation. Instead of interrogating the future and coming up with positive solutions, this government is keen on focusing on the past and cast blames. I find it a little bit odd that, government officials took delight in informing Nigerians to continue to endure a little bit longer in the economic stench we are in at the moment. Yet one does not see any improvement in months or years after. Therefore, it is pertinent, however, to reiterate and join forces with the CBN governor that Buhari’s administration should strengthen the laws of the land.
According to the CBN governor, “part of the problem that we have seen in Nigeria is lack of respect for the policies of the country. Nigeria is very good at putting in place policies that are sound and workable. But implementation has always been almost zero…”. Political leaders need to set a good example and show love for the nation. Also, they should stave off their desperation and political differences in order to lead the country with every fibre of their being down the road to a genuine economic reform. This is because, in most African countries, poor economic growth data may not worry the world. But Nigeria’s economy is of great importance to Africa and the world in general. However, until government puts the nation’s economy on stable position, Nigerians can only continue to dream of a better tomorrow.