This Government Is Pointless!

by L.Chinedu Arizona-Ogwu

The advancement of Nigeria and the success of its government will remain a mere dream unless everyone (government officials, politicians – partisans and oppositions and the public in general) put the national agenda or interest over personal ones. Are the people who run this government so insecure in their sense of power that they have to go around picking on the least fortunate in our society? There are many cracks in the financial system, some of which we now know.

These political assignees have corrupted, conspired and destroyed the trust and faith of ordinary Nigerians. Children are being denied national mainstay and forced into poverty. With the situation on the ground, legal aid is being phased out which deprives the poor and poverty stricken Citizens of Equal Protection and their Constitutional Rights.

Full-house of undoing gentle-men and ladies, gallivanting to make laws, research and design unpatriotic proposals, but it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country to decide, by their conduct and example, the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not, of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend, for their political constitutions, on accident and force. Everyone in life has an agenda (a plan that he or she wants to accomplish), but said agenda should not outdo the national agenda, especially when one serves in the public sector.

Unfortunately, personal interest and selfishness has characterized the activities of most public officials and politicians in the country, though he did not name any. Nigeria’s government is under obligation to ensure the security of and provide conditions for better education and quality health services for the masses; civil servants were to carryout government’s operations.” Now what is the agenda of Madam and Mr. Minister?” Arizona-Ogwu quizzed, and wondered” To enrich themselves or to serve the public?” Ministers and other top-level government officials needed to reexamine themselves and better serve the over 100 million population of Nigeria.

These ministers are chosen among the [Nigerian people] by ‘will’ of Mr. President. Is this the gratitude we are showing back to the president and the Nigerian people by doing the wrong things by being selfish?” some officials of government were serving only themselves and failing to follow the national agenda set by the government in which they serve. Many of them were boastful, mean to those who worked under them, and refuse to come down to understand their problems as a way of enhancing government’s performance. They see government offices and materials as our personal properties, what a shame! We need to repent. Heads of ministries and agencies of government ought to provide scholarships and other learning opportunities for their employees instead of discouraging those who are working and attending universities to advance themselves academically.

Opposition politicians, who are always criticizing the Umaru Yar’Adua-led government, were only making empty criticism and doing nothing to help the country rebuild. This regime may not be the problem. Nigeria polls are often wildly inaccurate. The numbers rarely matter as much as the trajectory. In the April 2007 polls, it mattered little what the ruling party’s actual numbers were. What mattered was that they consistently went up (and their opponents’ went down) after May 2007.

As the candidates go into full swing in Nigeria, it will be interesting to see what happens in the 2011 polls. This time, PDP is starting with the advantage of incumbency (which can also become a cure or a curse) & higher initial poll numbers. But it’s interesting that the ruling party’s numbers only increased 3 points relative to the full field. This suggests that while most (urban) respondents support the party, those who don’t would oppose it irrespective of their next option. That was a highly polarized electorate.

Somewhat surprisingly, this is not the ultimate reason the five critical banks tensed-up. If this were it, then capital markets would have absorbed the losses, and the financial system would have moved forward. Instead, blame needs to be squarely placed at the large, complex financial institutions — the CBN, investment banks, insurance companies, and (in rare cases) even hedge funds — that dominate the financial industry.

Again, since the Founding Fathers were so opposed to unbacked paper money, our Nigeria Constitution authorizes only non-polymer material as legal tender; just take a look at the N20 note; it reflects incognizance of a tactician. Prof. Soludo failed Nigerians in that note. Cellophane can not be a legal tender. Dr. Sanusi Lamido must think carefully, before making the move to phase out this present N10, N5 or even N50, it is underprivileged Nigerians’ loss and not the opportune in government.

Almost seven years after the horrible decay of the Asaba/Onitsha Niger Bridge it is still mostly a post in the ground. Nigerians would recall that zero tolerance for corruption marked a corner stone in President Yar’Adua’s inaugural speech. The prevalence of corruption as indicated what is happening in Nigeria, coupling with our own perception about how it accounts for our abject poverty and underdevelopment made the President’s pronouncement looked hollow. However, the incessant use of presidential prerogative of mercy to pardon convicted public officials is worrying, as it reduces the power of the law courts in upholding public values against corruption and bad governance. Invariably, it also undermines the Nation’s resolve and commitment in fighting corruption ruthlessly. It must be recalled, the trial and imprisonment of the indicted governors in signaled a ruthless resolve of the government, spearheaded by the Attorney General not to shield and protect corrupt officials.

What does this say about us? How have we so lost our way? We need nuclear power plants, oil refineries, alternative energy sources, infrastructure replacement and enhancement and new transportation systems. We all know we need to address these things. And yet, we can’t because we largely hamstring ourselves with layer upon layer of bureaucracy, rules, regulations, and licensing requirements, permit processes, etc. etc.

Our grandparents and parents have left us a bountiful lifestyle that was created by the toil and grit of their labours. The more we have the more we seem to take our plenty for granted. We don’t want a power plant anywhere near us. But, we certainly want heat in the winter, cool in the hot summer and plenty of power to ramp up our myriad appliances whenever we wish to enjoy their benefits. No drilling for oil, offshore, onshore, or in a remote mosquito infested northern bog where no animal or man goes! But, we sure want oil for our cars and natural gas for our homes in quantity and preferably cheap! We can’t have it both ways.

The Indonesians, the Americans, the Chinese, Indians and eastern Europeans have not inherited our bounty. They are creating theirs as we diddle here. There are building dams, roads, power plants, harvesting minerals and building infrastructure at a record pace. Their growing middle classes realize that sacrifice, hard work and vision are needed to advance in a competitive world. They will, and are doing what it takes to succeed.

Statistics shows that 33.3% are of Nigerians are not expected to live to 40; 51% have no access to safe drinking water; 59% lack proper sanitation; 70.2% live on less than 1$ a day, while 43% live below the national poverty line. An improved economic performance and a record of respect for democratic rights and freedoms are some of the major achievements of the Yar’adua administration. As his days in power come to an end, there will be a lot of talk about the president’s legacy and listening to the president’s speech recently, I felt very sorry for

him that there is a lot he can actually point to as what he’s actually achieved. The performance of the economy and respect for democratic freedoms are not a single term goal, they are very important but they are intangibles that mean very little to the man on the street who can’t afford housing, has to queue for hours for a rickety ‘kabukabu’ to take him to work and could be killed by the most treatable of diseases because our health centres are in such a poor state.

Setting -up sensitive policies for our people, developing and strengthening a democratic system is an essential component that can generate development. Partnership and collaboration between donor agencies, Nigeria governments, church, Moslem institutions and local communities must be built on values, which are at once social, economic, moral and religious. True development must promote capabilities on Nigeria to achieve the desired functioning.

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