Nigerian Marmaton Harmattan: The Nigerian State in Suspended Animation

Nigeria’s political history is full of chance happenings, of not-well-thought-out policies that very often suffocate the polity and put it suspended animation.

Of guess-work, of subjective decisions based on group dynamics, in which dominant voices push through decisions in their own interest that masquerade as if taken in the national interest.
In the process, the more intelligent Nigerians tend to resist such inane policies. They often take to the streets. In the end, we discover that the policies that were to bring gain bring pain. It all becomes the fruitless case of “pennywise, pound foolish.”

A notable Cost Accountant told scholars at BOSAS INTERNATIONAL LAW BUREAU, Abuja, that the nation must have lost close to three hundred and forty billion Naira and some irreplaceable lives in the political melee resulting from the hair-brained, rash decision to increase the price of petrol at the time in the year that people have spent a lot of money during Christmas and New Year celebrations! A policy change on petrol is not due till March, 2012. So, why the hurried eagerness to increase the price of petrol?

The government must publish the audited accounts of how the budgets of the last two years were spent before we can support its increase in the pump price of petrol.

The Nigerian government is struggling to correct the impunity displayed by past governments and in the process, it has run into a cul de sac.

We admit that the government of Goodluck Jonathan did not create the problems his regime has to grapple with, but there is no evidence of a serious attempt to deal with the massive corrupt practices that precipitated the problems for his administration, leading pundits to conclude that there was condonation on his part.

They point the report on how contracts were inflated and other grave misconduct in the public affairs of the past governments. The government seems to be quiet on the report, which said that contracts were abandoned, there were over-invoicing, there were colossal foreign exchange misappropriation and the whole financial system was a free-for-all terrain. Yet, there has been no action.

It is not surprising, therefore that the people have reacted to an attempt to make them pay for the profligacy of the political and business elite.

Since the last five years, no serious attempt has been made to ascertain the number of jobless graduates. There is now no attempt to think of the fact that in June 2012 or thereabouts, new graduates will enter the job market. Yet, the government sends representatives to the convocation ceremonies of universities.

Is anyone thinking for this nation? Is Nigerian politics only about becoming a minister, a special adviser, a president and a governor for profit? Where is altruism? Where is nationalism? Where is good governance? Is there “conscience nurtured by truth” or only Gogol’s “Dead Souls”?

Is it true or false that some people have been benefiting from subsidy? Is it true or false that those, who benefited from subsidy were the political sponsors and donors to the advertised solicitations by politicians during the last elections as a result of which they cannot be named? What goes round must come around.

When a politician is so compromised, he is said to be between the devil and the deep blue sea. If he does not or cannot throw the devil into the deep blue sea, he is in a shameful condition, overpowered by the power of shame and a bleeding conscience.

If he is the Head of a State, his good policies or the lack of them are bound to put the state in suspended animation, in turmoil and political groups will act like mal-contents. A state that fears its neglected hoodlums must bear the consequences of their destructive actions each time the state errs.

There is a political mistake, which a prominent citizen, with bulbous political ambition makes. He shows interest in Nigerian affairs only when he manifests his burning intention to be President. This is a wrong strategy. He should play politics by actively engaging any government in power in informed dialogue.

It is like standing aloof when people over-load a bridge. After the bridge collapses, he then offers re-build the bridge, with gusto. Many people are likely to ask, “Where was he when they misused the bridge”.

I should run for President of the Confederal Republic of Nigeria in 2015, because I feel insulted to read about political neophytes and political adventurers, who are positioning themselves for the presidency in 2015. I must debate with them as from now on.

The psychology of human intelligence is that when a rat is called a rabbit for a long time, the people tend to believe that a rat is a rabbit. In Nigeria, this has worked well.

The problem we have had in Nigeria is that the best people cannot come out because only those, who have had access to state funds,at one time or the other, in the past can pay millions to seek public office. As a result, people, who are not very gifted or literate, ascend the throne only to punish the people.

Assembling a coterie of advisers has not made up for the initial deficiency inherent in poor preparation for the highest office in the land. There are cowards, who will gloss over this irrefutable fact. Only the truth shall set us free from slow men and tired brains.

The controversy over the removal of the fuel subsidy has showed that the level of understanding of social injustice among the people of Nigeria has risen. The effect of work stoppage, deaths and destruction of property negate the good intentions behind the policy. It is surely penny wise, pound foolish.

If we had summoned a national conference of the confederated states of Nigeria at the time I first made the suggestion a year ago, there would have been an opportunity for the government to explain itself, prepare the people for the policy on petroleum.

It is a pity that no-one evaluates the opinion of commentators on national and international issues. It is only the opinion of government that is repeatedly canvassed.
There are facts, which are inherent in the logic of social growth, but which governments do not appreciate to their own detriment.

No government knows better than the people. It is therefore important to ask the people first before ramming ill-digest policies down their throats. An attempt to justify wrong policies creates conflicts between the people and their governments. While governments come and go, the people will remain.

You cannot deceive all the people all the time. In 1974, the government promised that by 1980, there will be housing, education and health-care for all by the year 1980. Nothing happened. Then it said that there would be all the above by the year 2000. Then the people were promised that all will be provided by the year 2010.The people of Nigeria were told by the government of the day that the Seven-point agenda would lead to Nirvana in Nigeria. Now we are being told that the removal of subsidy would enable government build railways, build roads and infrastructure.

If the people manifest unbelief, no honest person can blame them. As Nicolo Machiavelli said “People are so simple-minded and trusting that anyone, who wants to deceive, will always find people to deceive “In the present political melee in Nigeria, the people have vowed not to be deceived any more.

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