Nigeria: At Last the 'Oracles' Broke Overdue Silence

opinion

There is something obviously unique about governments in Nigeria since 1999. Whatever the party or the individual at the helms of affairs, they are usually exceptionally very slow and sluggish in taking action. Former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo's administration was sluggish to action during the Bakassi brouhaha that almost made the affected people to be stateless. Musa Yar'adua almost lost the lifeline of the nation's economy before he granted amnesty to the Niger Delta militants and Goodluck Jonathan took considerable time to buckle up and chase after the Boko Haram insurgents that abducted Chibok girls. Of course, there is no contesting the issue with President Muhammadu Buhari's government because from inception, the people chose to describe his style as "Baba go slow". It never provoked him to speed up action. Instead, he honoured himself with a 'medal' for being very sluggish in taking action when he admitted that the slow pace allows for no mistake.

No matter the situation, whether it is life-or-death related, this government must drag its feet and wait until everybody is complaining about the issue. Therefore, it was becoming impossible to remain silent and watch helplessly as corruption tears the nation apart. It is disheartening to note that Nigeria's political leaders are so thrilled with power and the pecks of office that they lose focus and allow the people to suffer in penury. Consequently, the 'oracles' decided to broke the silence and as always speak truth to power.

As the Chief Priest, I cannot think of a better point to begin to interpret the messages than how the business mogul, Africa's richest man, Aliko Dangote sincerely poured out his heart to Nigerians particularly, the 19 Northern states governors. As a guest speaker the other day at the fourth economic and investment summit held in Kaduna, Dangote said: "It is instructive to know that the 19 Northern states, which account for over 54 per cent of the country's population and 70 per cent of its land-mass collectively generated only 21 per cent of the total sub-national internally generated revenue (IGR) in 2017".

The above postulation indicates that Nigeria does not lack leaders. But it is shameful that not many of them turn out to be people-oriented leaders who bring government closer to the masses. In this respect, Dangote singled out Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna state when he said: "Northern Nigeria will continue to fall behind if respective state governors do not move closer to the development gap and that is why we are always saying that the biggest challenge we have and what we are always praying for is to have 10 governors like Nasir el-Rifai". The truth about the matter is that the lack of good governance has put the nation in a state of crisis. This is because leadership at all levels of government is either too weak or lacks the ability to perform its functions. It is indeed sad that, Nigeria's leaders feel better to protect their personal interest over and above the peoples' interest. There are two snags that those engaged in nepotism should consider. First, such selfish actions harm the credibility of the individual. Second, it puts the future of the party which they represent in jeopardy as the people might have their pound of flesh back during elections.

Still on the matter with Northern Nigeria, I feel personally disappointed that about 35 days to the end of its first term in office, President Buhari's administration has not been able to subdue insecurity in that part of the country and by extension the entire nation. Again, the 'oracle' spoke in the name of Northern Elders Forum as it cried out that the North has become a land of bandits and accused the federal government of political will deficiency. It has this to say: "We cannot in good conscience remain silent as criminal activities and bloodletting escalate in Nigeria and our region... our rural folks live in perpetual fear of attacks from sundry terrorist assailants without any reprieve... should the Nigerian people continue to run and hide from criminals under an administration that has enjoyed and received support from especially Northern Nigeria... "

By now, in climes that take the safety of their citizens with utmost seriousness, the remaining Chibok girls, Leah Sharibu and everyone in the captivity of the insurgent group should have been rescued by security operatives. But that is not the case because the commander-in-chief is taking time to slowly study the security reports. He woke up from deep slumber the other day, after outrage by the people and issued an order to security operatives to deal ruthlessly with insecurity across the country. Based on regulations and logistics the ruling government has failed catastrophically to act as a guardrail against corruption and insecurity in the country. Therefore, the ruling party does not reflect or honour its campaign promises to the letter.

Again, fuel subsidy is at the centre of another controversy as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) shared its vision and called on the Buhari's government to abolish fuel subsidy. Without being told, such advice caused some wrinkles in the face of government and its cronies even as the proposition was considered dead on arrival. Certainly, there is a lot to be ironed out concerning the fuel subsidy. The government appears keen to avoid subsidy removal because it fears that fuel marketers will impose outrageous fuel price on the people. From all intents, the above argument seems vague as governments over the years have blatantly refused to focus on other sectors in the economy that could quickly spread development across the country. Even with the so-called subsidy, prices of petrol are not uniform across the country. It is high time the people insist to guide government on the path it should focus for their own benefit. This is because the nation is stuck forever in a pointless circle of spending without result.

Somehow, the IMF's opinion to stop subsidy could lead Nigeria to the path of economic greatness as it would enable the country to look inward and improve its domestic production. Yes. The citizens will experience some hardship just like Singaporeans did under Lee Kuan Yew. Today, the benefits are not only enjoyed by the Singaporeans but the world economy. Therefore, government and its cronies should eschew rhetoric such as this, "we are aware of what Nigerians are going through, we empathize with them and will not turn blind eyes to any further attempt to increase their pains and impoverish them further". If one may ask: who is responsible for impoverishing the people? And how long will Nigerians continue to be spoon-fed under the guise of subsidy that does not affect or change the masses lives for the better?

The other day, the Senate, in their wisdom chose to stir up the call for state police. The hallowed chambers stress that such an option remains the only solution to stop the killings in the country. To be candid, as the Chief Priest, whatever achievements the current administration has made regarding security as well as in other sectors of the economy, it cannot rest on its laurels until Nigeria is properly restructured. This will help to restore the country's image and lost glory which was eroded by inept leadership occasioned by politics of exclusion and division. Restructuring will help to define government by openness, fair treatment of all and encourage rapid development across the country. The nation desires unity and progress not division caused by ethnic bias.

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