Monday, November 14, 2016

Between Buhari and Jonathan

I have a strong conviction that President Muhammadu Buhari is overwhelmed by the challenges he met on assumption of office and the novelty of fresh missteps by his administration. The country is just faltering and floundering like a ship without a compass. Its analogical equivalence is driving a vehicle with the driver’s eyes blindfolded. One thing is certain, if the veil is not swiftly removed, there is a very high certitude that the vehicle will crash and its occupants involved in ghastliness and fatalism!
*Jonathan and Buhari 
Issuing from the above and other deteriorations which I will explicate shortly, it would be justifiably correct to declare that President Buhari is irrefutably more clueless than his predecessor, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GEJ)!
This government is spending precious time battling people who are not our immediate problems at all. If it is not Dasuki, the leadership of the National Assembly comes to the fore in a serial spectacle that offers comical relief. The vogue of course is Femi Fani-Kayode, the former Aviation Minister and media campaign arrowhead of GEJ in the last presidential election, and lately Dr. Reuben Abati, spokesman for ex-President GEJ. In all of their cases and other tangential ones, the stream had been obviously witch-hunt. All the justificatory rationalizations are like a mirage that you cannot behold in what is plainly a circus show that may serially run for the next two years.
Concerned Nigerians have also consistently expressed worry why the anti-corruption crusade should primarily, preferably exclusively, be targeted at only members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Again, the usual perfunctory elucidation by government functionaries is that it will soon get to the turn of the ruling party, the all Progressives Congress (APC). The whole thing looks like a charade.
Amid all these, the cost of living is not just spiraling but has gone out of description even by lexicographers and etymologists. It has never been so bad for my fellow countrymen. Not even in the choking days of the Structural Adjustment Programme and other belt-tightening measures of the past. What is going on now is like official strangulation of citizens! And because we are so timid, docile and indifferent to our environment and all matters that get thrown up in this part of the world, our so-called leaders (better still, rulers) capitalize on this citizenship weakness and drive roughshod with us. All of us keep hands akimbo and hope that there would be divine intervention soonest—even without helping ourselves!
The festering hardship and obnoxious cost of living are such that prices of basic items change virtually by the hour these days. You buy an essential product in the morning at a price that would have changed by noon and it goes on like that interminably. There are no official explanations, management of the bursting prices, cushioning programmes or anticipatory interventionist initiatives. Everyone is just carrying on as if we were in the time of King Pharoah a la to your tents oh Nigerians.

Nobody is even talking of the provision of social infrastructure any more. As regards this aspect of the social contract between the government and the people, you are on your own. How you sort out yourself or family is entirely your business. Nobody sent you (how I wish I could put this short sentence in Yoruba for effect)! How you handle your medicare, children’s/wards’ education, feeding, security, energy (public power supply), potable water, girlfriends/mistresses if need be and other sundry demands of existential reality are all your own call.
Just last week, Eko Electricity Distribution PLC brought my November bill which is put at N18,000 without any arrears in my conventional style. What facilities do I use in the house to warrant this kind of atrocious bill? Most times, we do not have light all through the month in my part of Surulere, yet the geometrical bills keep coming. I am sure that by next month the bill would have hit N20,000-plus. Do I run a cottage industry in my residence?
In neighbouring Francophone countries, a mere adjustment in the price of bread can lead to national riots. Here, even if you push us to the wall we would still gasp for the last breath without any form of resistance whatsoever. Our aloofness has over the yeas empowered our rulers to get away with their callousness and cruelties.   Never in the Jonathan years with all his shortcomings did we get to this suicidal level nurtured by despondency, hopelessness and fear for our future.
The greatest challenge of this administration is that there is a cabal that has hijacked the structures of government. And to compound matters, so many corrupt politicians are so busy milling around President Buhari as they indulge in obfuscation of Nigerians’ standard of living, if there is still one for most people. Unfortunately, President Buhari did not and still does not know the crooks in his cabinet/government.
We cannot continue this way till 2019. Government must evolve ameliorative strategies while the “change” phenomenon lasts. It will not be good for most of us to die before the benefits of “change” manifest. To paraphrase eschatological underpinnings, what shall it profit us to enthrone “change” and lose our souls (lives)? You cannot die before you give your life to Christ—it must be done while you are still alive as there is no repentance or “change” in death!
If only President Buhari knows what the “average” Nigerian is going through as aptly captured by his ravishing wife, Aisha (God bless her for that intervention), he would be moved to rethink and re-jig his Presidency.
As I write this, I know of many families who are not sure of the next meal, let alone tomorrow—it is that bad! For some of us, God has graciously empowered us to survive no matter the situation in the country. But I feel for many others who are disadvantaged or not so blessed. The requests that come to me daily for assistance nationwide, truly, are testamentary to our dismal circumstances.
Frankly and responsibly speaking, something needs to be done and urgently too. Murderousness is not only by AK-47: government policies or actions and inactions could be more systemic and fatalistic than a pull of the trigger!
This undeniable political witch-hunt of a thing must give way for economic and social resolutions that positively affect the generality of Nigerians and our well-being. We have had enough of the Dasukis, Fani-Kayodes, Abatis and so on. Why expend so much energy on this class of Nigerians when some immediate-past governors who stole their states blind are in the Senate making laws for the country? These are the people we should first deal with, recover the billions of dollars they looted and jail them to serve as a deterrent to upcoming thievish public functionaries, particularly serving governors who may have such anticipatory predilection for official banditry.
*Wabara is a commentator on public issues

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