2019; The Year For The Real Change?
The word change is obviously synonymous with Nigerian politics after the successful change of government in 2015 under the change mantra of the then opposition alliance of five political parties led by the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). For the avoidance of any ambiguities by my allusion of leadership to the ACN, yes; prior to the merger, ACN was the only party that had states under its control and more number of representatives in the National Assembly. The leadership of the party led by the national leader Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu also played major roles in the achievement of the merger that gave birth to the current ruling party, the All Progressive Congress (APC) which raised the political bar in Nigeria’s political landscape by defeating the incumbent government in 2015 under the change mantra. In the history of Nigerian politics, 2015 was phenomenal owing to the high level of campaign by the two major political parties that heightened the political tensions of the nation to its peak, especially from the opposition party the APC. The party was able to capitalize on the laxities of the PDP-led government especially its lack of political will to fight corruption which bedeviled the nation, inability to rescue the over two hundred Chibok School girls and of course the menace caused by the Boko Haram, among other issues.
APC’s promises to address these captured the sympathy of Nigerians who in turn came out in their numbers to deliver the needed votes to evict the PDP government. This, in turn, raised the expectations of Nigerians, but close to three years of the mandate, the reverse seems to be the case as most of the promises are yet to be met rather the party has continued to blame the PDP government for its inability to perform as a government and fulfill its promises which the electorates are no longer ready to cope with. The worst of it all was the frequent tongue lashing from many supporters of the APC in the 2015 general elections on the continued failure of the government in all facets of the economy and failure to successfully fight the war against corruption without fear or favour. Rather the war against corruption is being orchestrated through lip service and media trial of suspects. The continued killings of Nigerians by the Fulani herdsmen have also been allowed to continue without any reasonable action from the government. The infrastructural development promised by the government has remained in the winds as no significant achievement has been recorded. Epileptic power supply in the nation has continued to deteriorate from bad to worse despite the claim of generating up to 7000 megawatts. The promise to diversify the economy through farm produce has not been possible as attempt to export yams was characterized by failure. Except for few states engaged in farming, the federal government cannot boast of a plot of land for farming when it is expected to lead by example in the farming business.
The importation of fuel has remained despite the promise to revive the refineries after the removal of fuel subsidy since 2015, yet the economy is being further grounded to a halt by the perennial scarcity of the product. While it has consistently insisted that importation of petroleum products will end in 2019, no effort has been made towards that except for the wholesome reliance on the Dangote refinery billed to commence operations same year. The transport industry also is in a mess after the government hurriedly commissioned the Abuja-Kaduna rail project which was almost completed by the previous government, months after its ascension to power. However, no significant result has been recorded except for the repair of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. The health sector is worse off as the president himself confirmed it by his long stay overseas during his two medical leaves in 2017 and the public disgrace championed by the wife of the president on the poor condition and lack of medication in the State House hospital yet billions of Naira is spent on the facility. The war against corruption has also not recorded notable achievements in contrast as the former secretary to the government was alleged to have used monies to the tune of millions meant for the feeding of the displaced victims of Boko Haram in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps to cut grasses and also awarded the contracts to himself by virtue of his position. Mainagate was another of such achievements recorded in the government’s war against corruption as the fugitive, declared wanted by the former corrupt government, was invited back into the country with special provisions for his security, reinstated and promoted to another office while the pension fund saga was still hanging on his neck.
The claim that the MTN fine was reduced by members of the executive also got a pat on the back as till date nothing was heard of it and many others. The worst of the whole thing which has really gotten everyone wondering, even the dead, was the recent release of board chairmen and membership list which included close to ten dead persons while some got double appointments in different boards. There are many more failings of this government including the consistent flouting of court orders and the collapse of the economy which has been celebrated by the perceived recovery from recession which was as a result of insensitivity to the terms of modern economic realities.
The Benue State killing over seventy persons by suspected Herdsmen seem to be replicating the similar role Boko Haram played during the Goodluck Jonathan’s administration owing to levity of which this reoccurrence act has been handled by the government.
With the time table for the general elections released and elections fast approaching, Nigerians may be rooting for true change in 2019. This time, for the real change Nigerians desired, though the politricks will be on all through the year as the ruling party tries to save face owing to the speech of the president on January 1st where he highlighted his plans for the year to enable his administration woo the electorate going into the election but like the Charly Boy’s ‘Our Mumu Don Do’, obviously it might not be business as usual as the masses may once again move against the failures of this government.