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When politics overshadows service

By Matthew Agboma Ozah
23 September 2020   |   2:39 am
To judge by the account of events and the body language of the ruling government, Nigerians need no soothsayer to know that governance has gone to sleep.

Muhammadu Buhari PHOTO: Twitter

To judge by the account of events and the body language of the ruling government, Nigerians need no soothsayer to know that governance has gone to sleep. Indeed, Nigerian politics has never been this toxic and directionless. In the not too distant past, political partnership existed among the opposition parties. The ruling party often was then seen to extend a hand of friendship to the opposition to be part of government. Such lofty relationship helped to move the nation forward for the common good. Today, it is disheartening to note that Nigerians face a confusing and deeply unsatisfying leadership style.

The ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) party has mercifully not had the time to think deeply about or carry every Nigerian irrespective of party, tribe or religion as one entity. Of course, no one but government apologists would deny the fact that there is prejudice in almost every government’s dealing. Hence, there is always a counter reaction from government circles over any candid criticism of its policy or inaction. One of which is the current controversy raging between the presidency and former president Olusegun Obasanjo and well meaning Nigerians about who is the real ‘Divider-in-Chief’ of the nation.

Without mincing words, under the President Muhammadu Buhari administration certain programmes and proposals are clearly seen as either selfish as they are astonishingly set out to cater for the taste and pleasure of political office holders or it is being coloured to satisfy some special group of people in the country. This is quite obvious in line with political appointments that remain so lopsided to one section of the country, leaving the others with little or nothing. Also, the well cultivated idea about the RUGA agenda by the President Buhari government was a perceived antidote according to government officials that would stop the ravage on farmlands by marauding herders across the country.

It is no longer hidden that the systematised calculation to sign the water resource bill into law is to gleefully provide opportunities for certain people to exploit. When politics worked in line for the progress of the nation, former President Goodluck Jonathan, then as Vice president took a timely decision to save the nation and kept government running. He went into the creeks to appease the Niger Delta militants who held the nation’s gullet by blowing up oil pipelines. It is surprising that the ruling government is still fantasising with the basket case of Boko Haram insurgents, banditry and the senseless killings in the northern part of the country. Despite funding the military, the service chiefs are keen to greet the traumatised and distressed people with excuses as nothing seems to be changing. Instead of injecting new hands with fresh ideas to handle the nation’s security architecture, the president merely said the military chiefs best is not good enough. When someone’s best is not good enough, what else does such a person have to offer in salvaging the deplorable situation to still retain the job?

In no small measure, the crisis of insurgence has contributed to the rapid drop in standard of living among Nigerians. The bane Nigerians go through daily is unprecedented. Yet, the President Buhari government in his illusion continues to borrow to fund infrastructure. It claimed such venture would attract foreign investors to the country and help to create jobs for the teaming unemployed youth. But, should the government be told the umpteenth time that no investor would invest in a crisis prone region or country? Even, majority of the local farmers in these areas have fled to other peaceful parts of the country or are now in camps of Internally Displace People (IDP). Yet, the ruling government’s uppity and flunkey attitude allows it to shut its eyes from current realities. However, in its characteristic manner, the government is quick to point fingers and blame corrupt middlemen as being responsible for the high cost of food items in the country. Nigerians must be mindful of one remedial initiative that has become an incurable ailment of the President Buhari government, which is to blame others for its woeful failure.

As President Buhari journeys into his tenure’s last lap, cynicism about the administration is as widespread as the harmattan fire in a savanna. This is because the understanding behind President Buhari’s election victory in 2015 and subsequently the 2019 landslide win was because the voters wanted a new approach that would transform their lives and make them enjoy a better life. We do know that the All Progressive Congress election slogans were ‘Change’ in 2015 and ‘Next level’ in 2019. But as brutal as things may turn out, the ruling government policies are a far cry from the peoples’ expectations. The first four years disappeared without a well cutout achievements. And just at the beginning of a second term, Nigerians are made to pay stiff fines for past and present government’s maladministration as electricity tariff and pump price of fuel hit the roof top.

It is surprising that when the international price of crude oil is dropping globally Nigerians are made to pay more for the product the country produces in abundance. It is even more worrisome that amid the coronavirus pandemic that nations and governments across the world are offering their citizens palliatives, Nigerians are being heavily taxed and prevented from protesting by law enforcement agents. It is not surprising therefore that in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic, some Nigerian doctors made frantic efforts that hit a brick wall in their abortive mission to escape to Europe. It should be noted that, people leave the country not only because wages are higher abroad. They are fleeing because public services are better and corruption is rare and when detected, culprits are severely punished. It is shameful to note that, Nigerians celebrate corruption and corrupt individuals. Yet they lament its brutal consequences through poor healthcare facilities, bad roads, inadequate funding of education among others.

Sincere judgment or criticism by the people matters a lot to the ruling government as it would help to expose areas the government is deficient for it to make amend. Regrettably, quite often than not, the ruling government chooses the option of pulling its hair with critics whenever they point out the grey areas. There is much to be accomplished if the ruling government listens to the voice of reason. The critics would be off President Buhari’s neck if the ruling party channels its energy to keep its election promises as well as do everything within its powers to abolish the servitude to banditry, herdsmen invasion of farmlands, senseless killings and kidnapping across the country.