20 February 2018

Nigeria: A Nation in Good Hands?

If the All Progressives Congress (APC) had not won the 2015 Presidential elections, Nigerians would have believed that by now the nation would be a paradise on earth. While campaigning in opposition APC leaders condemned practically every aspect of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) administration, but now that they have been in office for over two years it's obvious that they have no magical solution to the nation's problems.

They claimed that there was nothing like fuel subsidy and that it was merely an outlet for stealing public funds, but as the Minister for Finance Kemi Adeosun recently confessed in a shameless display of deception, they have been paying it secretly since they entered office. They promised never to devalue the Naira but is has fallen to an all-time low. They promised to end fuel scarcity and that fuel price would drop to N50 per litre, but now the nation is experiencing its longest ever scarcity and fuel price currently stands at approximately N180 minimum. They promised that Presidential Jets would be turned over to a new national carrier, but they are still flying around at enormous unnecessary expense to the nation.

They promised to end medical tourism by government officials, but the less said about that the better. Perhaps APC leaders don't understand that Nigerians have long and good memories. They have not forgotten that way back on November 12th 2014 the current Minister for Power Babatunde Fashola said "a serious government will fix the power problem in six months". They have not forgotten that on February 21st 2015 presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari said "why do I need to go for foreign medical trip if we cannot make our hospitals functional.

Why do we need to send our children abroad if we cannot develop one university system to compete with the foreign one?" They have not forgotten that Tony Momoh said "stone us (APC) if we do not perform. Unfortunately for the APC propaganda may help a political party to win elections, but it can't help them to govern, and that is exactly what has happened in the last 32 months. There have been so many disparities between their words and actions that it is increasingly difficult to believe anything emanating from their leadership.

Despite all these contradictions the Minister for Information and Culture Lai Mohammed recently said that the country is in good hands and there is no cause for alarm contrary to all the negative narratives being posted on the social media and internet. Naturally he said this overseas in Spain while addressing those who aren't on ground to experience the pervasive fear of being killed by either the supposedly "defeated" Boko Haram, rampaging uncontrollable Herdsmen, marauding highway robbers, or even the police themselves whose indiscipline and lust for blood is legendary as they habitually kill innocent Nigerians in the process of extortion.

The problem is that it is increasingly difficult to believe anything that top APC top officials say because they have lost credibility. For over two years they have blamed the mess on massive corruption by the PDP, but what have they done about corruption? Virtually nothing. The recall of pensions boss, re-instatement of NHIS boss, and dragging of feet over the Secretary to Government all indicate a selective approach to the much touted the anti-corruption war.

Legal luminary Mike Ozekome (SAN) has severally challenged the government to prosecute not only political opponents but also just one of its members for corruption, but this hasn't happened to date and not a single "big fish" has been jailed for corrupt acts. Indeed, commentators have pointed out that several former Governors have benefitted from joining the APC. Joshua Dariye joined APC and his corruption trail has virtually stopped. Uzor Kalu joined APC and his prosecution has been hampered by delays. Sullivan Chime of Enugu and Isa Yuguda also joined APC and their corruption trials have also suddenly benefited from hearing problems. This is the state of the nation that Lai Mohammed says is in good hands. That statement contradicts everything that is happening right now, and the time is long overdue for the president to reshuffle his ineffective Federal Executive Council (FEC) who are doing him a great disservice. The present circumstances in the nation are deplorable to say the least and government increasingly appears to lack compassion.

In the US when 15 students were killed recently President Trump addressed the nation. In Zamfara where 41 people were killed there was no presidential address, instead APC Governors including Zamfara State Governor Yari arrived at Daura. In Nigeria murder and destruction of property have become everyday occurrences, quite tragically the Governor of Benue State Samuel Ortom has publicly accused the Inspector General of Police (IGP) of taking sides in the handling of the crisis between herdsmen and farmers in his state. The IGP had previously implied that he had no fondness for, and indeed an aversion towards the anti-open grazing law.

The mishandled crisis has left the nation with an additional 160,000 refugees in nine camps. Coupled with the increasing number of internally displaced persons, is the well documented fraud in relief material distribution. The political future also does not look rosy. Old cargoes are coming together to form coalitions on how to take their turn to rule the nation. It's quite clear that forming yet another political party isn't the solution to Nigeria's problems more especially when it will be populated by discredited former PDP and APC politicians.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has openly admitted that they have no legal control over under-aged voting that took place in Kano during the local government elections. This despite the fact that they provide the national voters register which is supposed to be used for local government elections to the State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC). Instead of mouthing platitudes APC leaders should talk less and start listening well enough to understand that Nigerians have every reason to are apprehensive and little reason to be hopeful.


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