The Fraud Called Vision 2020

by Peter Claver Oparah

Twelve odd years from now, we are being told that Nigeria will join the league of twenty leading wealthy nations in the world. We are being told that by that year, a certain stroke of magic will flush out our mounting fears and worries and our anxieties would be turned to boom, that our country would become a land flowing with milk and honey. We are being told that by dint of some factors we are yet to come to grips with, all nations in the world will screech to a standstill while Nigeria races up to become a country where everything works. But we, as defrauded, cheated and heavily scammed citizens of a country that has become a legendary testing ground for consistent scam, have been willing partakers in such hollow and absurd optimism. We witnessed the scam of the magic year 1990, 2000, 2010 and such other contraptions by those we delude ourselves as our leaders to lull us to deep slumber while the only business that has had a luxuriant life in Nigeria, corruption and official graft, deepen and eat away the ebbing life of this unfortunate country.

We are sure that 2020 is not the exit point for such scandalous diversion and that sooner or later, the alecs that have made life such a living hell in Nigeria will come out with another magical year when pains and misery will cease in Nigeria. We are sure that we are being employed as willing guinea pigs by men that have failed to show any creative thinking, even in the con art they have periodically unleashed on the rest of us for the purpose of furthering the art of official stealing which governance has become in Nigeria. By every standard, the regimes of Babangida, Abacha and Obasanjo have been the most corrupt and bestial in the league of the predatory pestilences that have afflicted the country since independence. Curiously however, these regimes had been the loudest, the most profuse and the most prodigal in fangling these mastheads of deception while they carry out the most obscene and primitive looting of the patrimony that would have been used to develop the country and make it stand in league of the 100 most thriving countries in the world by 2020, a far more realistic dream than the fraud of Vision 2020.

While Babangida developed the template of the 1990 and 2000 magical years as he preened the country of its heirlooms and assets, Abacha developed the Vision 2010 blueprint while he was raping the country blind and cornering its choice wealth. Obasanjo, schooled in the arts of rustic guile and deceit and faced with the prospect of a grand and resounding failure in eight harrowing years of beguiled, purblind and visionless leadership, coined the Vision 2020 idea, driven by the most corrupt and unscrupulous etiquette, as a leeway for a shameful exit after ensuring he stripped the country of every available asset to enrich himself, his bed mates, menservants, hirelings, and co-partakers in the thriving business of public enfoolment he promoted for eight wasted years. As he left, in a blaze of infamous actions that drove the country on edge, he ensured he canonized himself in self-flattering epaulettes and told us to wait for 2020 when his guile fruits would mature.

But with the Yar’Adua government, a fruit of the negative infestation of the body polity by the Obasanjo regime, showing incontrovertible streaks of rudderlessness in the face of the odious fallout of the Obasanjo misgovernment, it had resorted to investing in the hollow slogan of Vision 20 2020, when we are told that Nigeria will become one of the twenty richest countries in the world. His government has found comforting refuge in repeating this obvious hoax that is not backed by any indices on the ground. He has adopted it as a curative remedy to his own false-steps and abject sparse understanding of the means to tackle the country’s myriads of exacerbating problems.

As Yar’Adua and his kitchen cabinet continue the futile singsong of 2020, life in Nigeria has plunged to the barest known standard. Power generation ebbs so badly while Yar’Adua is still planning on when to announce his much-hackneyed emergency on the sector. Such necessary infrastructures like roads, potable water supply, air, rail and water transportation are abandoned to decay so intolerably that they are fast going extinct. The educational sector operates on mere crutches as criminal neglect and abandonment marks the official attitude to the sector. The health crisis deepens with public health institutions graduating from mere consulting clinics when the military intervened in 1983 to sprawling mortuaries. The precarious state of insecurity has plunged the country into the Hobbessian state where life has become brutish, short and nasty. While a food crisis that aims at the fragile jugular of the expanding poor, the sick and the weak community runs out of control, a spiraling inflation has ensured that poverty widens in every ramification and hunts Nigerians with an insensate vengeance. Unemployment soars out of control and the vicious circle of poverty finds a permanent abode in a country, seized in the orgy of official deception. Meanwhile, official corruption finds great flavour in the everyday conduct of supposed leaders who find it fashionable raiding the common till while selling poor placebos to Nigerians.

These are just a few indices that are driving Nigeria’s quest to become one of the greatest countries on earth by 2020, as officially espoused by those who have grown so demurred as not to realize that Nigerians see through such racket. Nigeria has fast regressed into a leviathan and a seamless hell on earth while our leaders find comforting satiation in deceiving their fellow countrymen of a great future that will dawn in 2020. From all possible indications, such quest is anchored on sheer magic and maybe witchcraft because nothing suggests that the country is on the footing for such lofty aspiration. While it is certain that the authors and marketers of this dimmed vision anchor it on a widening revenue base from the sale of oil, they are yet to tackle the contradictions inherent in Nigeria’s prevalent poverty status while drawing from a persistent oil boom. Those who know have counseled that even if the top 50 nations in the world flag their own growth and refuse to take any real step to progress while Nigeria fires its dormant growth pins, there is no possible way this country will become one of the top 50 nations in the world by 2020. This therefore makes Yar’Adua’s present postulation on Vision 2020 as a deliberate, wild and unrealizable dream, a howling scam that that is sustained for the diversionary value it adds to the carnivorous art leadership has become in Nigeria.

Nigerians are demanding of Yar’Adua and company, a tokenistic appreciation of the demand of the high office they covet. Nigerians demand that Yar’Adua jettison this grand and infantile hallucination and approach Nigeria’s problem from the most basic level. They demand that he and his team bend down and don the work garbs to fix the roads, build new ones, build railways across the country, up-grade the nation’s public educational and health sectors, fix the intractable power sector, wean governance of the burgeoning bureaucracy that has made it very costly and ineffective, create sustainable factors to make for the thriving of the real sector, invest progressively in agriculture, tourism and commerce. They demand for a fast-tracked tackling of the escalating security crisis and the enthronement of merit as the driving force in the nation’s quest for greatness. Above all, Nigerians demand the uncasing of the cloak of corruption that presently enshroud governance and official business in Nigeria. These are not rocket science as those that have taken turns to rape and plunder this country in recent times, make it look like. They are simple and realizable targets for a government with the least modicum of knowledge, vision and sincerity. This provides a surer grounding for grander dreams as contained in the Vision 2020 template than mere wishful thinking of a sleeping government and idle, parasitic political class of rent-seeking denizens. If we remember that Dubai, which is now seen as one of the wonders of this century was a mere desert just ten light years ago, two years before Obasanjo took over power, we would realize that with sincerity, knowledge and the will power, Nigeria could, by 2020, start the real quest to be one of the world’s leading countries.

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