Beyond The 'Blame-Game' Rhetoric
By Oloruntade Ganiu
3rd May, 2019
3rd May, 2019
I find it rather nauseating -like the bulk of other impatient Nigerians who find the present administration's seeming ineptitude intolerable - whenever I read newspapers headlines about the APC-led federal government attributing its failures to the mistakes of the past or to put it in their parlance, "16 years of PDP's misrule".
I consider this another banal gimmick to gain cheap political points; a ploy to appear apologetic to the present unpalatable realities emerging in the polity ranging from mass unemployment, fragile health sector, endemic corruption, infrastructural deficit, economic frailties, degrading educational system, ethnic upsurges, insurgency, and the most worrisome; our dear nation being the 'World's Poverty Capital'.
The APC at several fora, had taken swipes at the opposition, through its "mouthpieces" particularly the effusive Minister for Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Spokesperson for the Presidential Campaign Council, Mr. Festus Keyamo -known for his unctuous comments - and rather disappointing, the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.
Let me state here that I'm a big fan of Prof. Osinbajo considering his enviable pedigree as one of Nigeria's revered intellectuals, his exploits in the academic field, accomplishments as a lawyer and arbiter of justice. I'm however displeased by the nation's number two citizen's sheer display of uncanny, quaint and stodgy politicking.
Recently, at the 11th annual colloquium held in honour of APC's National Leader and a colossal figure in Nigerian politics, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Vice President while delivering his speech blamed the previous governments for Nigeria's present failures. Quoting him, he said:
“I have said it before, Nigeria’s main problem is not a lack of ideas; it’s not. Most of the time, especially with the leadership of the past, it is lack of integrity in leadership and corruption in particular and it is the reason we are finding it difficult to make any progress. That is why we earned $383 billion in four years – 2010 to 2014 – the highest ever in the history of our country and yet Lagos-Ibadan expressway not done, all of what is being done today not done.
“We cannot point to a single major project, a single major infrastructure project that was completed in the ten years period despite the high wealth, including power. So, a government coming after so many years of waste must be a government that first, emphasises fiscal prudence, a government that emphasises integrity in public finance so that we manage the little resources we have to achieve the maximum that can be achieved and that is what President Muhammadu Buhari has set out to do.”
From the above statement, it could be established that the VP had adopted the blame-game rhetoric - apparently cliché- to justify the nonperformance of the administration he currently serves. He had successfully manoeuvred the truth and failed to admit to the incompetence that adorns the day's government's ensemble like an epaulette. Like a great midfielder, he perfectly intercepts criticisms, dribbles the reality from prevailing and launches attack on the opposition.
Perhaps, he might have been deluded by the stoical nature of Nigerians in resorting to making such mundane arguments. Funny enough, the narrative has changed. Nigerians have become largely anxious, our patience stretched to the limit and as such demand for good governance from all pointers: ease of living, good infrastructure, prosperous economy, job opportunities, proper health care delivery, education and security.
Entrusted with a renewed mandate spanning till 2023 (unless overturned by the Supreme Court), the APC-led federal government must deliver to the citizenry, needed "political goods" for the sustainability of our renascent democracy and ascertaining a stable polity.
Democracies in other countries of the world have evolved, ours shouldn't be an exemption. The flawed elections that sealed the President's reelection bid was fraught with electoral violence, mass apathy, voter intimidation, vote buying and all kinds of antidemocratic frivolities. This reemphasizes the urgent need for electoral reforms; the Uwais report should be implemented and electronic voting must be considered as an alternative to the shortfalls of the ballot system. An independent electoral commission and a free, fair and credible process are essential ingredients of democracy.
Besides, the inhumane treatment of INEC ad hoc staff, mostly constituted of corps members is condemnable. Several pictures of the pitiable plight of these patriotic Nigerians circulated on the social media, indeed sparked public outrage. How will electoral integrity be guaranteed when the critical stakeholders are subjected to inflicted suffering? Our violent-ridden conduct of elections made most of these 'corpers' preys to the unscrupulous activities of desperate politicians. The heinous murders, extrajudicial killings and kidnappings of these young persons must stop; a service to one's nation shouldn't translate to one's death. The relevant security agencies must be up to the task and uncompromising in service. Human life is priceless, irreplaceable and nonnegotiable.
Beyond that, our "slipping" economy must be revived. As a matter of urgency, a team of economic experts, technical knowhows and financial gurus must be constituted to initiate innovative policies that can trigger economic development and spur technological advancement. The diversification of the economy also remains pivotal; the agricultural sector must be improved.
The fight against corruption -which has been one-sided and a clampdown on the opposition- must be reconstructed and all hands must be on deck to end this scourge impeding our growth as a nation, particularly the relevant government agencies. More importantly, the ruling party shouldn't serve as a 'safe haven' for looters; every corrupt politician must be prosecuted regardless of party affiliations. Their sins mustn't be forgiven!
Again, the creation of job opportunities for the teeming population of unemployed youths is paramount. The rate of uneployment is alarming. Getting a job in Nigeria could be likened to finding a needle in an haystack. Like some young people had jokingly opined: getting a job in this country is a job itself. Beyond Social Investment Programmes like N-Power, concerned agencies such as the National Directorate of Employment must live up to its responsibilities by working seamlessly with other relevant authorities to contain this ugly situation. A synergy must be established with the organized private sector for more job-creating ventures. These youths, if not gainfully employed, become tools in the hands of political desperadoes who seek every means including violence, to manifest their personal interests. An idle man they say, is the devil's workshop.
Our educational sector is in a mess and should be overhauled for proper functioning and effectiveness. The worrisome figure of over 10 million children out-of-school children is a big shame for the "Giant of Africa". This must be fixed urgently as the nation's future depends on the kinds of individuals we raise the younger generation to become. Also, the incessant strikes by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) that disrupts the academic calendar and elongates the years spent by students in school, must come to a final halt. Proper funding should be provided for research purposes in our tertiary institutions, adequate infrastructure and learning facilities must be equally put in place for ease of learning.
The battle against insurgency must be intensified. Terrorism, killer herdsmen and armed banditry, if not tackled, will continue to ravage our lands, kill more people, displace more families and make life unbearable for innocent citizens. Insecurity has disastrous effects on the nation's economy; most foreign investors become afraid, capital flight becomes inevitable. A " ruthless" order must be given by the President to protect the nation's sovereignty and territorial integrity from religious and ethnic extremists.
Ultimately, the 'Next Level' offers the government of the day, the rare privilege to right its perceived wrongs, foster national integration and unity, eject mediocrity, shun clannishness and cronyism and reiterates its acclaimed commitment to "change" Nigeria for good. The blame game has outworn us; we won't take excuses anymore. The time for action is now!