The Pains Of Being A Nigerian Part1 – From a political point of view
Since the day that I and muhammadu buhari was born and now that I am coming of age I have always heard the words “The youths are the key and future to Nigeria’s growth and development”.
But the average common man on the street would highly disagree with you and tell you that the government has changed the padlock and walked away with the keys.
3 years ago on the 14th of February 2015, majority of Nigerians voted an acclaimed messiah into power in the name of President Muhammadu Buhari who rode on the platform of All Progressive Congress and a slogan of “CHANGE”. He and his party members promised heaven on earth and that Nigeria would once again be a land flowing with milk and honey. He made promises such as:
- There will be free education at all levels
- I will increase minimum wage and place every graduate in salary for extra one year after youth service
- 3 million jobs per year
- One free meal (to include fruits) daily, for public primary school pupils
- I will reduce fuel price to 45 Naira per liter
- I will stop importation of refined products
- I will revive our entire refinery in my first one year in office and build more to produce more for our domestic consumption.
- I will pay 23 million Nigerians 5,000 naira monthly.
- I will crush Bokoharam in my first 3 months in office
- Stabilizing the Naira of making $1 = 1 naira
Those were the campaign promises of President Muhammadu Buhari and you would think that after contesting for the presidency 3 times and getting his wishes finally fulfilled, he would at least live up to some of these promises?
Sadly 3 years down the line, instead of a Messiah we have a tribalistic and nepotistic president. Reverse is the case for our beloved Nigerians and the mantra of CHANGE have turned to CHAINS, WOES and GNASHING OF TEETH for the average Nigerian out there.
The back bone of Nigeria’s problem is corruption and this has been way in existence from the military era of the 1960’s down to our democratic regime of the year 1999 till now and in the words of former British Prime Minister David Cameron “ Nigeria is fantastically corrupt”. He was overheard saying this on the eve of the arrival of presidents in London for an anti-corruption summit. President Muhammadu Buhari, aka Mr. Integrity, has said it several times that “I will fight kwarruption”. #YIMU, with EFCC and their media trials instead of real court trials, corruption has been fighting back against the presidency in full force.
Corruption is at the forefront of two of the three arms of government namely the Senate and the House of Representatives. Former CBN governor and the current Emir of Kano Sanusi Lamido Sanusi II, in a current interview stated that a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has a take home pay of N36million monthly, while a House of Representative member has monthly take-home pay of N25 million monthly. In giving sound advice to President Muhammadu Buhari, he said, if the salaries of the Senate and House of Representative members were cut by half, it would go a long way to provide more jobs for 70,400 jobless Nigerians at between N90, 000 and N92, 500 monthly salaries. He urged political office holders to make sacrifices and salvage the country from its current economic downturn as these lawmakers are one of the highest paid in the world and they earn more than the US president. But the big question to ask is: Can this ever be fully implemented and would these crooks allow their salaries to be slashed by half? Some individuals are of the notion that “Even if you give them all the money inside Central Bank, the lawmakers would still find another means to steal”, another said “cut their salaries, and watch them inflate already inflated project costs by 150% and if their allowances are tangled with then Buhari will know that the gentility of a cat is not the same as the gentility of a lion”. Another individual said “is it not the same irresponsibly slow youths you are compassionately campaigning for, who are busy defending the senators and denying the masses of the creation of tens of thousands more jobs in good faith? These mofos were born to suffer because it’s only in Nigeria a politician robs the people blind, prostitutes their daughters and still gets to be the adopted father of their beggared sons!!”. They love looting till Nigeria collapses, they don’t mind as far as they are concerned.
What is the way forward?
By the 1960 and 1963 independence and republican constitutions, Nigeria was a Federation in which the three regions and later four regions had their own constitutions and contributed 50% of their revenues to sustain the central federal government. Upon the coup d’état in 1966 which overthrew the democratic government of Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa (Prime Minister), the various constitutions were abolished and a Unitary Government was foisted on Nigeria. Hence, the sources of revenue of the regions, especially oil and gas revenues were appropriated by the central government and then shared to states created in 1967. Even after the return to civilian dispensations in 1979 and 1999, the centralized unitary system of government is still in place, especially the control of revenues centrally. The operating constitution, although termed a federal one, is truly not so, since there is still no fiscal federalism as obtained in the pre-military era.
Nigeria, being a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and very diverse country is feeling the strains of over-centralization which has crippled the previously healthy competition in development among the constituent parts. Governance is more about sharing revenue from oil resources than it is about contributing to the common till. Invariably, innovation, industrialization and overall development are pushed to the back burners while mindless embezzlement, nepotism, graft and rent-seeking take center stage. Consequently, national infrastructure and almost every sector in the social and economic spheres of life are in constant deterioration. The youthful bulge in population coupled with massive unemployment and underemployment are time bombs waiting to explode.
The misnomer of “Federal” Nigeria whereby one ethnic group dominates politically because of a very dubious and doubtful population census at pre-independence period and thereafter is also sustaining grievances from various ethnic nationalities and constitutes serious instability. This same domination has also encouraged the latest ‘scourge’ of herdsmen killing farmers and forcefully taking over their crops to feed their cows. Such impunity if not checked, might result in yet another civil war that might disintegrate the country.
It is hoped that politicians will be patriotic enough to sheath their individual ambitions to ensure that they patriotically enthrone true federalism once more along the principles of the 1963 Republican Constitution which served the country well. We need leaders with selfless service to the nation and the country must move forward devoid of analog leaders who have lost touch with reality, muhammadu buhari take note