Why Nigeria straddles the blind alley
Of the many cardinal programmes embedded in the Buhari Presidential campaign, I cannot decipher a single promise fulfilled by President Buhari since 2015.
With an array of lawyers in his cabinet, a senior advocate of Nigeria as his vice president, another as his attorney general; and yet another as his minister of works. None of them including other distinguished professionals could persuade him to stand by his promises and at least fulfil the most pressing one, that of insurgency, the widespread kidnapping, banditry and ethnic cleansing in Kaduna, Niger, Zamfara and Benue states.
This he could do simply by approving the establishment of the regional police force and the National Guard to relieve the Nigeria Police Force from its onerous task of guarding federal roads, federal buildings, the nation’s dignitaries and judges. Sadly, Buhari just found himself enmeshed in the inanities of the time: kidnapping, banditry and ethnic cleansing in such states as Kaduna, Zamfara, Benue and Plateau states. No positive solution he found for the abatement of the hostilities. Like former President Olusegun Obasanjo, he is just there playing power politics. Obasanjo withheld allocations due to Lagos state for no just cause. Obasanjo caused the impeachment of his fellow party man, Governor Rashidi Ladoja of Oyo state. There was no justification for it.
Whereas, in other climes, leaders engage in politics in order to empower the people, make people prosperous and eradicate poverty and squalor. For instance, Franklin Delano Roosevelt during his campaign promised Americans that when he became president, he would eradicate poverty. And he did this by establishing the Social Security Act of 1935 by which he paid old age pensions to indigent people 60 years and above. But in England, old age pensions started with the Elizabethan Poor Law of 1601. Can we get such examples in Africa? I doubt it very much because we straddle the blind alley instead of real-life solutions.
For Obasanjo, instead of rebuilding the flawed Nigerian Constitution 1999, he frittered away his time withholding monetary allocations to Lagos for no just cause. Viewing the Nigerian landscape with the spectacles of normative logic as an epistemological system of analytical reasoning and cognition, we see escalating insecurity as a justification for holding on to power interminably. Indeed, the foundation of sustainable economic growth in Nigeria was premised on a single-digit inflation threshold, however, at the moment, our hopes have been dashed as inflation is galloping towards a three digit rate.
Recovering from the pandemic in 2021, with our GDP rising above 4 percent and inflation climbing out of reach owing to our penchant for foreign consumer goods. The cost of living is now on the rise, high cost of food, fuel, energy, housing and with our ungovernable economic environment, insecurity has made life more dangerous than ever before. With escalating insecurity, the government is eyeing a military handover rather than a peaceful transition between two civilian governments.
Unwillingness to hand over to another civilian regime is the reason why he could not stop budget padding which a tech outfit BudgIT discovered in the 2022 budget. It discovered 460 duplicated projects valued at N378.9 billion inserted into the budget by lawmakers where padding has become endemic without any consequences and their complicit civil servants. Moreover, up to $400 billion of public funds have been stolen between 1960 and 1999,
Another anti-corruption agency, the Human and Environmental Development Agenda said Nigeria suffers illicit financial outflows of about $18 billion yearly. And according to a report by the U.S. Department of Commerce, at least 40 per cent of all procurements from public sector funds in Nigeria is lost to corruption. More than these, the government has refused to force agencies to return unspent funds. They are the reason why the government is straddling the blind alley. They want to hang on to power as long as possible given the timorous and timid habits of our people.