BY: ADEMOLA ORUNBON
It is common knowledge that most nations that are doing well economically today are not a single resource and oil-producing economics. Rather, they are mostly non-oil sector producers who manipulate their budgets to the advantage of the sector. It is interesting to note also that ever those with oil-based resources like Nigeria, have successfully utilized earnings and windfalls from these sources to broaden the base of the sector itself by expanding into gas exploration and other petrochemical and develop other viable/sustainable areas to effect diversification of their economies.
I would like to re-assert that Nigeria is potentially and undoubtedly a very rich country and we really have no business with poverty. Nigeria is endowed with vast human and material resources. But in spite of all its resources, the Nigerian economy remains one of the most striking examples of a mono-product economy in the world, depending on oil as its major source of foreign exchange earnings.
In the past, agriculture formed the backbone of the Nigerian economy. Apart from providing employment opportunities for the people, it was the major source of income and foreign exchange before the discovery of crude oil. But today, the agricultural products for which Nigeria was once noted as the greatest world supplier, have disappeared from the list of our foreign exchange earners while the solid minerals sector remains largely untapped or fall victim to illegal mining.
It was while we were swimming (with back-float style) in an extremely hard time that a class of people came together, selling the mantra of change to those of us who were tired of the PDP’s misrule and we too unwittingly embraced it as a newly affianced wife. The APC promised us an overnight change—saying that the soon coming arrow-head was the messiah we were all waiting for. They put blazers on his back so that the emerging generation of Nigerians could buy into him and they equally put “agbada” on his back, so that the aged ones could buy into him, too.
There was evidence of gross electoral misdeeds and malpractices including over-voting, vote-buying, ghost voting and gross shirking of responsibility by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials in order to give an undue advantage to, especially government in power. During the period of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo era, there was a lot of political malpractices and anomaly which include, rigging of election, removal of incumbent governor by one-thirds majority of House instead of two-thirds majority according to the constitution, those who fell in that victims among is former Oyo state governor, Chief Rasheed Ladoja and incumbent Ekiti state governor, Ayodele Fayose, also, there was a lot of political killings around the country, which involved, Chief Bola Ige, Alfred Ruwani, and many others. Take for instance, what does deployment of over 30, 000 policemen for Ekiti election and 40, 000 policemen for Osun election not to mention other security operatives has to do with a stagger election too, Haba, these are misuses of personnel from the highest order. Why the INEC itself would not even compromise, at least they have enough security personnel on the ground which has to dance to whims and caprices of the government in power.
As an effect of economic bleakness, sluggishness and childishness in leadership, many Nigerians are already yearning to go back to the Egypt of the PDP. And you cannot blame them. For those who do not know, the PDP and APC are two sides of a coin. A half a dozen and six are one and the same! When it comes to sharing of money, there would be no difference between those in the PDP and APC, but when they want to play Nigerians as a leather-ball, they would start flying the kite of opposition and ruling parties. You cannot afford to be fooled by the current crop politicians.
There are certain things that are not acceptable in a democracy or democratic setting, and I must tell you, our constitution is basically faulty. How do you have a President under the presidential system of government that controls the whole military of the country, including the revenue, that determines what to give to everybody. It is an anomaly to be frank. Under the presidential system of government even in America that we practice their system of government, the president do go to peg the House for money. The House of Reps controls revenue. Therefore appropriate checks and balances are built into the system. Here in Nigeria, the power at the center is too many which need to be decentralized in order to balance the equation. It is only the President that controls all our military men in the country, from Soldiers, Police officers, Immigrations, Civil Defence, Customs officers, NDLEA and many others. Even though the government of the day had nearly abolished the separation of power, it is the presidency that wanted to control both the Legislative arms of government and the Judiciary too. That is more reason we are now witnessing the Department of Security Services (DSS), bursting into supreme court judge’s house and ransack without due process.
It is now only those at the corridors of power that are living in affluence while the poor masses were roaming about the streets searching for unavailable jobs in order to meet up for daily livings, imagine, in the recent advert of FRSC recruitment exercise, about 326, 000 are jostling for the vacant job of 4000. Sometimes, I do wonders and ask myself, is God partial? Why are some people born into suffering while some are born into affluence? Why are some kids born to paupers who can barely take care of them? These kids are sent into the streets to hawk things to supplement whatever their parents can scrounge. They run in between moving vehicles and stand the risk of being rundown, hawking pure water, hot bread, sweets, bottled drinks, biscuits and washing car windshields. And yet, the government and our so-called lawmakers are doing Siddon look, planning to impeach the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Reps, also pointing accusing fingers onto themselves. Our so-called President, Muhammadu Buhari also takes delight in junketing from one end of the world to the other in the name national assignment which has no economic value to the country, while the “honorable” are only heard when they want to fight over money and leadership of the House, our own money, for that matter. Can you imagine! A big shame on them. E no go better for their enemies. Yes ooo!
The future of Nigeria is certainly not in the hands of both the PDP and APC. As 2019 elections are fast approaching, all they would do is to pump up the heads of Nigerians like a hot-air balloon—with empty-promises that would never see the light of day. For the umpteenth time, the PDP and APC are two sides of a coin. They are all fighting to either access or retain power for self-interests.
Honestly, we have gotten to a stage in this country where we need only two things. Indeed, it is only two thing if we can take our time to achieve to this, it will better for you, me and every one of us if we attain that. Men with very clear visions and ideas that will bring about a rapid change as to create the necessary improvement and development in the standard of living of our people, which would better our lives, achieve our dreams, aspirations and lofty ideas. Secondly, we need a party that has a clear mission, idea, and understanding of what it takes to rule this country and bail us from the present quagmire. Because as at today 80 percent of Nigerians were wallow in abject poverty, which hunger, pauper and frustration have become the order of the day. The decamping of our politicians from one political party to the other were mere of old wine in new bottles. They are more on less than toiling and playing gamble with Nigerian youth’s future. Both the men and the structure of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressive Congress (APC) have failed Nigeria, and they ought not to be in office a day longer than today.
Orunbon, a public affairs analyst, wrote in from Epe, Lagos State
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