14 Aug The Great Mistake Part 2
There is a sense of ineptitude that I have witnessed from this government that has me quite appalled. As I stated in the first version of this write-up, setting Nigeria on the right course is not a difficult process. The one thing that it takes is diligence and allowing those who are willing to bring innovative ideas to the table. One of Buhari’s biggest issues today is not fostering a sense of togetherness in an ethnically diverse and fractured Country. His “95% to 5%” speech not only took me by surprise but fueled the fears of many in the south that he wasn’t the president of Nigeria but of a select few. What is worse is that it has manifested itself in lopsided appointments. The heads of all security parastatals in Nigeria are all from the north. From interior minister to the chief of army staff. Then there is what I call the false sense of change.
When the current ruling party campaigned and made it clear to distinguish them from the former. They claimed to be a party of change, Change from the status quo. The branded themselves as crusaders of truth and enemies of corruption. To be fair they were very innovative in their campaigns and use of propaganda to not only beat down PDP but persuade Nigerians that they were the better option;one that made sense. Many so called (awon) intellectuals in Nigeria both on social media and offline were caught in this so-called “wind of change” and yet there were several things that had me in doubt. First of all, they claimed to be a party of change and yet the members of their party were all former PDP politicians whose track records were blotched with high-level corruption. From Bukola Saraki to Chris Ngige and Abubakar Audu. Nigerians jumped to their defence that these men had seen the light and that in repentance they had joined this new political party to move Nigeria forward — how gullible. Men like Abubakar Audu ran for the Governorship election in Kogi state for a 3rd time, after looting the state’s treasury as a two-term governor under PDP. No word of a lie, his campaign promise was “ If you elect me, I will return all the money I looted under PDP” — let that sink in. The sad part of it all, was that he won but in a twist of fate died before they could announce him as the winner of the elections — bullet dodged? When I look at cases like this and that of many other’s I realised that this was not a party of change, but simply a continuation of the old status quo;old wine in a new wineskin.
So Now Nigeria a year later is facing an economic crisis the likes we have never witnessed before. Inflation has taken food prices to unaffordable levels ,insecurity is rampant and the promise to fight corrupting looks dead in the water. Recently the federal government spent millions of dollars to sponsor those making the pilgrimage to Mecca. Despite the government, stating over and over again that there is no money. What makes all of this look so hopeless isn’t only the issues being faced, but that there isn’t any vision in this current administration. They haven’t shown Nigerians a clear cut plan to escape from the challenges we face. While their words say one thing, their body language says something else. So what should have Buhari done differently?
The first would be to introduce a massive public works program from the onset. This is the simplest way to kickstart an economy and Nigeria is one country that is overdue for one. The infrastructure in the country is dilapidated, we face a housing deficit of 15-30 million homes and the power grid is in shambles. Money should have been designated immediately towards building newly needed roads and constructing homes. There are millions of Nigerians ready to work;many of them already skillfully trained artisan crafts. Buhari’s government spent $3 Billion to defend the Naira for 8 months, imagine if half of that went towards an emergency infrastructure program? This would have in the short term (with long term consequences) encouraged investors to invest in the country. The second would have been to ensure the 3 arms of government are a cohesive unit and push to pass Social and economic laws to cement whatever policies the government intended to introduce. At its current state, there is infighting between two of the three arms of government. The third thing Buhari should have done was take a second look at the CONFAB report created a few years back on the needed changes to the federation. The fourth aspect is investing heavily in agriculture while continuing the previous government’s efforts to diversify. At this moment this government is embarking on oil exploration in the northeast — a waste of public funds. The same oil that is becoming worthless on the international market, is the same oil we are investing millions in finding. This is after his government promised diversification of the economy. Buhari should channel that into building a solid agricultural foundation so that spending Billions to import rice will stop.
In conclusion, all I can say is Nigerians we must do better to who we elect to office and positions of power. The track record of this government was no hidden matter and yet we chose to ignore it and take a dive we didn’t need to take. I do not see things getting better; it will only get worse from here on out. What we must begin to do is educate ourselves on our political systems of government and those who run for the positions therein. It isn’s something that should be done next election period, but now. As far as I am concerned this government has been a great mistake.