Nigeria’s choices: right or wrong?

by Bolaji Aregbeshola

Nigerians recently made choices about who would govern them in the next four years. They reduced the absolute majority of the PDP in both the lower and upper house of assemblies, voted the candidate of the PDP in the presidential election and also voted out some PDP governors. It remains to be seen if these decisions and choices will bring about the desired change which Nigerians expect with the opportunities presented by the last general elections.

The last national assembly failed to impact positively on the lives of ordinary Nigerians with no single bill passed for the purpose of lifting the people out of poverty. This has been the case since the country returned to democracy since 1999 – majority of the bills passed by both the Senate and the House of Representatives till date are not oriented to the needs and yearnings of the teeming population of Nigerians who have suffered many years of hardship under the military rule.

So the newly constituted national assembly cannot afford to fail in their responsibilities as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, hence, the need for the passage of bills that will give Nigerians a new lease of life. They should not forget the promises made soon as they live a life of luxury at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

At the federal level, the expectations are high on President Jonathan who was given a mandate that has been described as “Pan-Nigerian” by all the tribes, religions and ethnic groups in the country. It is a general consensus that failure is not an option for the president re-elect just as the members of the national assembly cannot afford to fail in fulfilling all the promises made to the electorate before they were elected or re-elected. There is no doubt that the executive arm of government must do away with business as usual which is why Nigerians gave their mandate to Dr. Jonathan. This reason is also responsible for the outcome of the national assembly elections which saw many legislators lose their re-election bid.

Wouldn’t it be wise for the president to formulate and implement policies that will meet the yearnings of Nigerians having seen the concerns of Nigerians over the PDP twelve year rule in which lawmakers have been embroiled in one scandal or the other?

Past government policies have failed to solve the myriad of problems Nigeria face among which are insecurity, corruption, poor infrastructure, mass unemployment, economic instability, poverty and north-south divide. Both the executive and the legislative arm of government need to work together in order to solve these problems.

The above mentioned problems are some of the things most Nigerians are concerned about. Go to the north, east, south and west of the country and ask what issues are of utmost concern to the ordinary Nigerian, you will be amazed that okada riders, artisans, teachers, students, civil servants, business men and women, farmers, fisherman, trader etc all share the same thoughts on the problems that need to be tackled by President Jonathan. Nigerians want to have access to power 24 hours a day so that their income can be boosted and the standard of living become improved.

The issue of power has contributed to massive unemployment, increasing level of crime and poverty. Many companies and factories have been shut down or relocated as the case may be due to the erratic power supply in the country. Past governments have not been able to revive the textile industry since its collapse many years ago, though former president Obasanjo promised to provide a stimulus package while he was at the helm of affairs. Despite the collapse of the agricultural and manufacturing sectors, governments have not deemed it necessary to do something urgent about these sectors because they do not care about the welfare of the citizens.

It is high time governments revived these sectors of the economy which are capable of reducing the number of unemployed youths in the country. The youths voted for President Jonathan because they believe in his transformation agenda. Dr. Jonathan cannot afford to fail them. They turned out in their large numbers to vote for the very first time.

Statistics show that over 70 per cent of Nigerians are less than 35 years of age. Many of these youth are not gainfully employed.

Nigeria needs to be transformed and I guess that is why the president’s agenda is regarded as a transformational one and we hope to see that in the way leaders of government carry out their duties in the next four years.

Change has been the word on the lips of many Nigerians since the run-up to the 2011 elections. And the least they could get in this new dispensation is a change from the way things used to be.

Having used the social media as a means to canvass for vote, the youth were able to buy into the president’s vision for the country for the next year. This is no doubt the kind of reassurance they need that Nigeria would be made to work again after many years of stagnation.

Nigerians are increasingly getting involved in choosing their leaders because of past experiences. Politicians have taken advantage of the voter apathy once experienced in Nigeria to perpetuate themselves in power while caring less about the welfare of the people. Some politicians believe Nigerians have no right to question them since they were not voted into power by them. I think Nigerians now have the right to recall any elected representative who fails to represent the people well at all levels of governance.

We do not need a soothsayer to tell us that there is an urgent need to fix Nigeria. Our leaders need to develop policies that will solve our problems and jettison all the bad policies of the past. I know not many people in government will agree with this.

The new legislators should constantly visit their constituencies and senatorial districts to discuss issues that are bothering those who elected them. This has been the bane of non-passage of bills that will positively affect the lives of poor Nigerians. Legislators don’t know which bills are important to pass because they often are not in touch with the people. That is the reason why they spend all their time debating issues that will not directly impact on people’s lives.

Also, the executive arm of government has not positively influenced the lives of Nigerians. So much money is budgeted to the Federal Ministries but Nigerians are yet to see the impact of all the monies that goes into implementing government’s programs for the people.

It shows that leaders of government at all levels have a lot of work to do. Whether you are a counselor, local government chairman, member of the state house of assemblies, governor, senator, member of the house of representative and even the president, Nigerians have a high expectation in the next four years. Only time will tell whether the choices of Nigerians was right or wrong.

You may also like

Leave a Comment