Strong Nigeria, Wrong Impression!

The effort to rebrand Nigeria may appear fruitless if public trust remains on the dark-corner. My home-country, Nigeria embarked on a course of liberal economic reform that was impressive by developing-country standards and remarkable by its own. A crucial part of this program was the government’s decision to open the economy to foreign investment. Four years later, much remained to be done, but the changes were working: growth in output was up, with exports especially strong. And foreign investors were starting to notice, but the leadership turns naive.

From policy this government repeats ill- agenda which fails to fine-tune Nigeria’s economic integrity has returned great misfortune to already unwaged citizens. We in “nigeria4betterrule” discovered that strong leadership can be a huge success factor for Yar’Adua’s government 7-point Agenda. Wishy washy management will get you wishy washy results For example, those who draft and amend our bills, the numerous spin doctors at Aso Rock need good vision – solid vision of roles, rewards, processes to get this country better.

We needed a better policy model. The traditional policy process places governance into the mill with other “projects.” This is the wrong view of governance. There was no accountability or visibility – so when the program did fall short, no one was able to, nor did they want to, step up. Abandon programs, humiliated patriots, degraded social status, failed contract and shanty environment epitomizes the whole thing .Reason! The government is deviating from what is normal and acceptable to Nigerian society.

Transparency is always the best policy in governance. If policymakers think they can disguise actions from what they really are, they can be certain the truth will eventually come out. . we can strive and thrive together to carve a national success in the vast global economy only if we start with a cursory review of emerging developments in the global arena and their moral attitude to imbibe economic development and be viewed positively by the rest of the world.

Bargaining power is as important as Nigerian citizen itself, to ensure that the influence and voice of the nation’s poor is heard and indeed reflected in the decisions of governance processes. Imbalances in the structures of governance must be remedied with new efforts to carry Nigerians along. It is obvious, however, that, if development is to succeed anywhere, the state has to make it happen. Administrations need to serve society, not themselves. They need to obey the law, rather than make arbitrary decisions. They need to let the private sector flourish instead of putting pointless obstacles in its way.

Government action plays a pivotal role in all sectors. Education, social security, infrastructure, spatial planning and law enforcement are only five of many important aspects. The state need not deliver every single service itself. Private companies may offer alternatives – provided there is intelligent regulation and effective government supervision. That, again, depends on a proficient and assertive administration.

The package of political and electoral reforms that the Uwais panel approved may have long-term implications, many of them positive, as regards nurturing of democratic culture in this country; Nigeria. We see a promising development, where the proposed ordinance seeks to make the financial dealings and sources of funding of political parties more transparent and seeks to hold them accountable for intra-party democratic practices. The provision allows voters reject all candidates contesting an election, by opting for the ruling-party vote. As the proposal deny former bureaucrats from contesting polls within three years of their retirement. It has often been the absence or the non-enforcement of such regulations that have allowed governments of the past to betray the public trust and make a mockery of electoral processes.

Needless to say, many of the clauses within the proposed ordinance have been long standing demands of society at large, discussed by conscious sections of society for almost a decade now, is a necessary first step in achieving democratization of the state and the political institutions within it. In fact, so far had the influence of these ideas evolved that some of the major political parties had agreed to many of these electoral reforms even before the incumbents came to power in May 2007. Notwithstanding the overall positive goals perhaps sought by the newly approved electoral reforms package, there are quite a few anti-people, anti-progress components in the proposed law that require further examination.

Nigerians (in power and parlour) need to clean their slate. Alright, that is good. That is, in fact, what we have started to do. We need to prove that we are an honest nation and like the wars that we waged on many fronts in the past, we can wage another war when necessary against not only corruption but also the corrupt people. The question, however, is why it has to be only the politicians. In a society it is impossible that only a particular group of professionals or traders (politics is a trade for some and a profession for others) is corrupt alone and all others are magnificent saints. It is inconceivable to think that politicians are the only ones who could mint money without any accomplice. The arguments that others either acquiesced or supported corruption because there was no other alternative left to them are unacceptable. One may not indulge directly in corruption but when one keeps his eyes, ears and lips shut in the face of corruption he should be equally culpable. What would you call those who did not take any money but did everything to keep their positions, promotions, extension of service intact? What about those who became famous by feeding lies to the public, day after day?

When corruption becomes a part of the culture, it must mean that the intellectuals that a country espouses are accomplices, since they did not do their jobs right. What were these intellectuals doing when corruption was devouring rationale? Waiting in shade for some fund to start their initiatives? Hold them accountable as they shirked their responsibility of being the conscience of society. These are the people who should be checked out to see, if any corruption was committed by them, first of all. Because they are the roots of society and they expect, deserve and get our unflinching respect. Any effort to get rid of corruption leaving the corrupt among the intelligentsia in the back burner will have only cosmetic effect. Since people believe in them, they can sway the unsuspected minds. Some of them, as they have done in the past, will sell this strength of theirs for their own nefarious cause.

So catch those teachers who neglected taking their classes; while managing events, doing businesses in the name of research and trespassing into the arena of others. They have spent time in something that did not benefit their students. They have, therefore, hoodwinked their students. They are the ones who are responsible to bring the quality of education down. They have destroyed the future and the morale of their learners. They need to pay now through their noses. Hold them responsible for their crime and set an example that it is not okay to leave the students larking in the dark while they remain busy in private practice. We have shouted quite often against the physicians for doing this. It is time now to raise the same voices against the teachers. Catch those who took money for delivering something but failed to do so.

Returning money is not enough after getting caught. Will you forgive those who are trying to return their ill-gotten wealth? One test is enough for the highly-placed people; because they are supposed to lead us and we cannot stand any mistake their. We cannot afford second chances. There are so many we have to test to find the real gems. The whole society smells, we need new people. The presen

t publicly known faces seem to be connected with each other. If we delve deeper this connection will become evident. We need to find out the tested ones, who we shoved into the corner in the past, to lead us now.

We have to be strong and ruthless. We are hurt. It is a matter of cleansing our names that have been pulled through the mud by these people. We need to examine our leaders before we allow them to enter our living rooms through the mass media, that is. People should inquire more thoroughly about their past before they are given the seat of respect. Those who are known to have given jobs to their dear ones flouting all the norms and rules even in an organization that is supposed to root out corruption should be inquired and dealt with accordingly in public, so that they are shun in public life like for the rest of their life.

One reason why corruption took root in Nigeria is that impunity was never taken as a crime. Even the role models in society like teachers and physicians, who are supposed to be the moral leaders, have remained uncensored for wrongdoings. So it soon became a free-for-all, free-for-everything country. New generations of teachers and physicians became more and more business minded and became busy in finding out business outlets giving scanty attention, if at all, to their real jobs and responsibilities. This nation had submerged too much into crime – of committing, of abetting, of acquiescing and of tolerating. We remained silent, blind and deaf to bad things happening in front of us and to us (if we only knew). We know that certain person is not honest but is acting honest and taking us for a ride; still we did not bother as we always thought that this is not affecting us. We suffer from the acumen of analyzing the effect of happenings. If something is not affecting us directly then our philosophy in life is not to bother. Visibly some mortals have taken advantage of that. We tolerate illegal things occurring in front of our eyes and we take these in our stride. This has emboldened the uncivilized ones to become hardened criminals, e.g. do we admonish those drivers who occupy pedestrian way, do we forbid those who smoke in places prohibited for smoking? It is always someone else that we wait for, for finding remedy for us.

Here is another example of a wrong incident that gets repeated in our public life every now and then. It was a roundtable conference on health. The designated speakers were knowledgeable. The conference over, these were not the people, however, who were approached by the mass media for advice on how the sector and the system could be strengthened, but a retired Supreme Court judge, who seized the opportunity unabashedly to advise the country how the health systems can be improved. The tradition is that the faces that become known in society for some genuine or not-so-genuine reason, because of the favour they receive from the media for some ill-understood reasons, become specialists of everything. If it is a matter of elucidation of a layman’s wishes and advice then define the laymen first. The other day I was horrified to see one of the erstwhile ministers who lost job because of bribery advising the nation over CNN channel. Do you know what you are doing through your deeds, pronunciations and utilization of the tool that you possess? If you do not, then you are abetting a corruption.

Those who have lied to us and still are lying, those who were supposed to do public jobs but have delegated their jobs to do something else, those who are falsifying specialization, those who are aggrandizing wrong people, knowingly or unknowingly, all are equally wrong, corrupt and dangerous since these trends and practices affect our lives, lives of our children and life of society. Every one of us needs to learn our jobs well, so that we do not take false steps because that may create Frankenstein’s. Unless these people are put in leash the root of corruption will remain alive and will sprout whenever the atmosphere is conducive. We need to be vigilant, cautious and choosy in selecting our leaders.

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