Nigeria On The Path To Recovery
WITH the recent swearing-in of new ministers by the President, there is no justification whatsoever why this administration should not settle down earnestly and begin to add value to the lives of Nigerians.
For several months now, there has been much speculation on the quality of individuals that would make the team in view of the much-touted fight against corruption. Some had expected to see brand new faces yet to be exposed to the cobwebs of corruption. Many still felt a strong infusion of young bloods would go a long way to fast-track development. But with the chips down, we all have to give the President some benefit of the doubt in his resolve to change the fortunes of this country.
I have always said that the task of making Nigeria great again is not for Buhari and his team alone. Indeed, every Nigerian has a great responsibility to add value to the move to rebuild this country. It does not matter if you are a gardener or a danfo driver. When you and I try to do things the right way in our various homes and offices, then things would gradually turn out well.
My greatest fear, though, is that we have a way of burning out steam even before the race is over. We start on a good note with much enthusiasm, only to chicken out when we are most needed to react. Now that it has been declared that the country is broke, it is obvious to us all that there is need to cut down costs. The huge amount of money usually allotted to Ministers and their cronies for contingency expenses and foreign trips must be cut down drastically. All the loopholes of the past that have been discovered must be blocked. The touted effort at fighting corruption must be put into practice by ensuring the prosecution of all those found wanting in public service.
There has been much criticism of the past regime. But again, not all its actions were negative. Surely, there were some areas it did well. What were these? This is the task the new Ministers must find out and build on. Government is a continuous process. There should be continuity.
We have all been praying for a better Nigeria, and from the look of things, it appears there is hope after all. But the truth of the matter is that no matter the number of people that are eventually indicted and prosecuted, the prevailing condition that provides a fertile ground for corruption to breed must be stemmed out. How? There must be a total overhaul of the system, such that all existing loopholes for the siphoning of public funds by corrupt government officials are sealed, once and for all. We must begin to create a working system that allows for creativity to thrive and that supports local production at affordable prices. A situation where we continue to suffer from epileptic power supply would not help our local industries to thrive.
• Very Rev. Msgr. Osu, Director, Social Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos.