When Change becomes a Mirage
In 1983 the democratic elected civilian government of the second republic led by Alhaji Shehu Shagari was overthrown in a coup carried out by the military. Part of those who carried out the coup is the late Major General Tunde Idiagbon and the present president, then know as Major General Mohammadu Buhari.
Having just emerged from a civilian govt which then was a judge as corrupt and inept. The reasoning then was that Nigerian had to be reined-in into line. Unfortunately this was done literally, there was the War Against Indiscipline, execution of alleged drug baron, trial and jailing of many of the politicians of that dispensation because of their alleged corrupt practice, incarceration of journalists for doing their jobs, mass retrenchment and sacking of workers and the list goes on.
Initially Nigerian shouted hallelujah, but as the screw became tighter,grumbling started and we started looking for another saviour. I would not dwell on the intervening years and what happened in between as it would diress and i may loose the essence of the piece.
Fast forward to the beginning of our political life with the 1999 elections and ever since the enthronment of democracy.The dominant party had been the People Democratic Party (PDP), which at one time through one of its past chairman boasted that the party would rule the country for the next 60years. He might have been right as there is still a six in the number of years they held the reins of government.
It was in the light of what seems a rudderless and lackluster leadership that the country began to look for change. This is where politicians began to permulate all formular that eventually gave us the APC, which is a coalition of the ACN ( led by Tinubu), CPC ( led by Buhari), ANPP (led by Onu) and the New PDP ( led by some former governors in the PDP). The coalition was from the very beginning an unholy alliance, but because my enemy’s enemy becomes my friend, the politicians were ready to gloss over their differences, for the acquisition of power. My take on the coalition was that it was a bed of strange fellows, but the end was meant to justify the means, and if acquiring power was the end, the argument was that it was worth it,especially with the then incumbent administration looking very fatigued. A major selling point for the coalition was the candidates they presented as the presidential and vice presidential aspirant , both were adjudged quite credible even in the midst of the very same coalition with some “interesting characters”. And since the incumbent had proven to be miles back, the opposition had a leeway in selling those candidates.
The election took place, the opposition won, the 1st time a ruling party at the centre( or at the Federal level) would loose election in Nigeria. And to give credit to the then president, Goodluck Jonathan, called the then candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, to concede defeat and congratulate him. For once Nigerians felt they had a voice in the direction the country would move, they felt empowered knowing that their votes mattered/counted. Upon this background, there was tremendous good-will, both at home and internationally for the new administration in propelling Nigeria to higher heights.
The government was supposed to tap into this good-will, and use to to begin to fulfill the hope and aspiration of Nigerians. Unfortunately 16 months later, the victory that tasted very sweet some months ago is turning very sour for many Nigerians. The government rather than fine turning its own policies and finding ways of moving the country forward, keeps looking backward, either to blame the last administration, or reverse a policy which could be beneficial. Not only that, in that very short span of time, the government seems to have erased all of its good-will to the point of moving into negative territory. We may blame the fall in the Oil price, as a major factor for finding ourselves where we are today. However the policy somersault, lack of coordination between the fiscal and monetary policy, a disastrous Forex exchange policy are self inflicted harm on Nigerians by this administration.
The political angle to all these is that a politician is all about power. President Buhari had attempted to get to this same office thrice without success, until the coalition. If it’s seems that his lot is going to affect others within the same coalition, i believe before long, permutations would begin, in sustaining their self- interest.
However beyond the politics of its, the hope and aspiration(change) that Nigerians had in voting this government to power should not be allowed to vaporise. What Nigerians need is not much, an enabling environment where their potentials can be achieved maximally. Government finding ways where by funds can be made available through banks, so that Small and Medium Enterprise can begin to thrive. Improvement in the state of the infrastructure, albeit power, transportation, health, education . This can be done by partnering with the organise private sector. It might be argued that this would cost money and we are in a recession . However this type of spending has the advantage of stimulating the economy and leading to recovery
Change for almost 180million people should not be allowed to turn into a mirage, cause a mirage is something you see from a distance all for it to disappear when you get close to it.