Waking up to a different Nigeria
IT still seems an illusion that there will ever be some kind of departure from the status quo of our underachieving great nation, Nigeria. Beyond the normal imaginative tendencies, there seems to be no congruent action being taken or is there any future hope of it being taken.
Government after government over the years have proved worse than Nigerians have assumed they would be and it seems the mentality of those who are destined to rule Nigeria now and in the nearest future remains the same whatever the platform. Get all you can get and as much as you can get has always been the attitude of our politicians.
Nigerians have so gotten used to the present system of things that the prayer of the average religious person will be to have the opportunity to get up there, around power. There seems no better means to get this nation’s wealth than to cut your share off what is expected to be for everybody. Sadly though, government house only takes a minute handful of persons as against the hundreds of millions craving for the opportunity.
Government after government have promised and failed. From when we breathed a new ray of hope in 1999 which gave in to a democratic system of government from the autocratic military system, Nigerians were anticipative of some difference in the quality of what comes to them. They had assumed that they would have so much say and that could force the “masters at the top” to play to the national pledge. It has, however, turned out that the nation has plunged worse than was assumed under a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led dispensation that spanned 16 years. No one dared raise a brow and impunity continued in acute dimensions.
When the change missionaries of the now distressed All Progressives Congress (APC) arrived, Nigerians were much optimistic that there could be something new in the offering, something different from the usual. Nigerians heard change on the radio, watched change on television and joined in supporting the broom brigade’s philosophy in the hope that there was going to be a new system that would sweep away the shame, pains and stains of the past. There is a new administration in place after President Muhammadu Buhari won the elections under the APC platform—after many attempts.
Nigerians might have been expecting too much if they had anticipated waking up on May 30 to a new way of life and thinking. Nigerians are very dramatic people and miracles are the norm especially in a land of numerous self-proclaimed men of God, who are said to have been tried and tested for miracles and wonders. It should not baffle the average mind then that whenever something has to change, it has to happen miraculously.
Buhari’s ascension to the Presidency may be regarded as another miracle. Nigerians quickly look for a sign to prove that the Creator is about to perform some miracle on the nation through so and so person. Some even look out for dates that they can align to something dramatic. It’s sad to note, however, that all the uncommon stories this nation has heard since the nation jumped into this democratic era have not yielded any worthwhile fruit. It began from the prison to praise story of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, then the gentle rise of the late Yar’Adua, the barefoot to cover shoes story of erstwhile President Goodluck Jonathan and now, the Abraham Lincoln story of Buhari. We have had great success stories that have not transferred their successes to the nation.
So much is expected of Buhari after he promised to sweep the nation of all the vices that have held the nation bound. Corruption has remained a major stronghold that has defeated every government that has arrived since independence and Buhari has assured the nation that he is capable of waging war against this tyrant. He seems to have demonstrated determination but no one has been taken to court. All we have had are people being fired and replaced. Nigerians are waiting.
It is going into three months of Buhari’s change administration. There is the continuous frivolity of accusation and counter accusation, banters and all that between the two giants. The ruling APC and the opposition PDP have continued the accusations unabated. Issues of zoning positions remain a burden, Senate leadership remains a challenge, Senate allowances still make the headline, ministerial appointment politicking remains unresolved and godfatherism is taking even bigger dimensions. It still seems Nigerians are sleeping.
Media reports inundate us through the Internet with flamboyant success stories made by the ruling party in the space of less than a month. The reality, however, is that we have seen not much of what may be regarded as successes beyond the frantic pursuit of power and the struggle for importance within camps of the APC. Buhari must by now be uncertain about his desire to wage a full-scale war against corruption. It won’t be so easy a fight especially as everyone struggles to protect his interest and cover his tracks.
Change! Nigeria! Change!! Myself!! Change!!! Yourself!!! The APC slogan continues to reverberate every time and Nigerians are waiting earnestly in anticipation of that change. The spirit though is waning sluggishly down the lane and this may prove book makers right again about the inadequacies of the APC to lead a government of change. Speculations of Buhari complaining about age affecting him once filtered into the Internet in support of an anti-Buhari movement.
Nigeria is certainly beyond the capacity of one man’s wish. Overtime, we’ve had great leaders with good intentions and great speeches. Everyone who has at one time or the other presented himself for political office has always waved before us great intentions and visions of what he wished to do. Well, it doesn’t work that way anywhere in the world or here in Nigeria. Buhari made that glorious speech at his inauguration which got everybody thinking that a messiah may have indeed arrived, that he could make decisions and there won’t be mountains placed in his way to stop him. Now, he is finding out that there are indeed hurdles he must cross and a real big devil to challenge if he must succeed. The National Assembly leadership crisis which is yet to be fully resolved is a clear pointer that there are indeed hurdles to surmount.
The clock is ticking and it’s just three years and some months left before Nigerians decide again. We are still waiting to wake into a new Nigeria.
• Ekekere wrote from 8, Ibete Street, off New Airport Road, Calabar South, Cross River. EMAIL:firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 07062809301.