This article is not intended to offend anyone personally but recent developments in the nation’s socio-political environment warrant comments and focus on the situation so readers of this medium can be fully apprised of developments around them.
When I opened the pages of the newspapers recently and read that the PDP, which had been ruling since 1999 had come up with a list of 270 nominees for Ministerial and other positions for the new (?) incoming government of Goodluck Jonathan, I was aghast. First, I thought that after 12 years directing the affairs of this country, the PDP hierarchy and followers still haven’t leant anything, and will never learn, about what governance and service to the nation are.
Secondly, the PDP seems not to be heeding the voice of the people of Nigeria, calling on all our political leaders to CHANGE, as exhibited by the will of the people during this election. Nigerians, from the market woman to the office worker, from the peasant farmer to the teacher, wanted and yearned for change in the polity and the running of this nation. It was loud and clear, “Enough is Enough”, and we expressed and exercised our democratic duty by showing how many politicians, serving and aspiring, were thoroughly and definitively rejected at the polls. We saw how our people were resolute throughout and were alert to, and blocked attempts to rig and manipulate votes and procedures.
INEC Chief, Attahiru Jega, while we may be saluting and praising his tenacity, courage and sincerity, certainly had his work cut out by the positive, resolute attitude, support and encouragement of the majority of Nigerians who ensured that we had a relatively credible, free and fair election, despite many attempts by unscrupulous politicians to hijack our democracy and force themselves on us.
Now the PDP wants to undo all this good work and movement towards Change for a better, or at least, improving Nigeria, by bringing in failed, corrupt, useless, selfish, greedy, inept and politically dead charlatans; the same people who had made absolutely no impact on the development of this country in the last 20 years; leaders who had not only failed their people, but who had also stolen from their people and perpetuated a state of permanent poverty, misery , poor health, poor education and without hope and visited all kinds of evils – religious riots, kidnappings, thuggery, assassinations, etc – on them.
Why does our government keep recycling politicians who have been voted out of office? The answers are not too difficult to answer really, but everything boils down to corruption. Corruption breeds greed, mediocrity, selfishness, egoism, nepotism, tribalism, self-importance, charlatanism, ineptitude, inefficiency, ineffectiveness, and all the other reasons why, for the past 50 years, we do not seem to have moved forward as far as progress and development are concerned.
Once you’re in Nigeria’s corridor of power (as we like to call it), you’ve probably earned yourself and your family a lifetime contract. Even death is separation from your family out of the political arrangement in Nigeria, because in the event of your death, your children, and most likely, their children too, inherit a donation agreement. There are two things fundamentally wrong in the distribution of political positions in Nigeria. First, once in power, we take it as normal to be in power until it is over with the kind permission of death.
Secondly is the system whereby an incoming executive – President and Governor – has his cabinet nominated for him by his party. There are again several fallouts from this. One, it shows glaringly that the executive is not ready, has not been prepared for his position. Second, he cannot perform because he does not have any inkling of the capability, qualification and even loyalty of his cabinet, and may not even be able to exercise control over them. Third, it shows that this democracy is all about party politics, whereby people in positions of authority owe their allegiance to their party and not to the people.
Clearly in such situations, government and governance cannot be in the interest of the people, but for personal, selfish, greedy and corrupt reasons. We therefore have the same clueless idiots riding roughshod over us. Hence we have no chance of any real development. We see these everyday of our lives, how corruption has made the country near moribund. These people nominated by the party owe their position to the party and to the Executive who may decide to discard them anytime, not really for non-performance, but for disloyalty, either to the party or to the Executive. A case in point, even ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, admitted that during his first term in power, he hardly knew his Ministers. Can you imagine the mess the Government of Nigeria was in then? And this was replicated all throughout the Federation in the states too. Commissioners were mostly chosen for the Governors because of political party considerations.
There it is my brothers and sisters; look at it, in our governments, it is either the same people who have ruled before or their children and family members, or friends or those they sponsor. These people then go into government with only one purpose in mind: make as much money as they can at the expense of good governance and the people.
The strong influence of a culture of corruption, injustice and inequality, favouritism, greed and tribal nepotism in Nigeria, self-interest dominates national interest.
Dazzling slogans must not deceive us. Our pseudo-leaders have used and adopted new speeches and slogans, using intimidation, fear, bribery and falsification of peoples will, that is political corruption via election rigging and manipulation. They have been very successful in these evils. Whatever the substance and form of changes we are hoping for; it cannot be but the recycling policy of the old corrupt pattern, which helps prolongation of the distrusted incumbent authority and enhancing the culture of corruption, with the Nigerian masses the main victim.
The elections of April 2011, where the Peoples Democratic Party still gained the majority votes mostly by hook or crook (Although I will concede that this election has been the most credible, freest and fairest in recent times), is in the danger of leading to the following equation:
The same people = the same mentality = the same actions = no progress
The result will be the recycling of the old prototype, in fact there will be no change if this recycling of discredited, failed and corrupt politicians is allowed to happen .
What the real change seeks is a knowledge-based society, which is difficult to flourish under corrupt rule that has characterized the Nigerian society for decades; we need a society open to new ideas that develops a spirit of critics and enquiry, and has the courage to look at unwelcome realities and addresses them.
We know that corrupt leaders are wholly interested in survival; they take extra care of people with bribery, favouritism, etc. Therefore, we need to starve such leaders of the comforts of power. We have to keep them out.
Nigeria needs a revolutionary change through implementation of a “Cultural Renaissance Project”. The new elite must be the opposite of the current ruling monopoly and must be detached and disinterested in the notorious materialistic rapacity of the current Nigerian rulers and irresponsible politicians.
New faces are necessary to bring about such a revolutionary change. New elite must come to the front of the political action for real change. All changes made by the current political elite are artificial by nature. A real change needs a real break with the current establishment; the break must be socio-political, economical, cultural and psychological.
The new elite should have a history of opposition against the misuse of power, against nepotism, corruption, and creating a narrow-based political structure run by their own families and for their profit. Otherwise change in Nigeria will remain cosmetic.
I would have loved to comment on the alleged (I call it alleged, because I refuse to believe President, with all the hopes of Nigerians resting on his shoulders, would be daft enough to accept or even to consider it) PDP Nominations List, but I am happy that the Punch Newspapers have at least identified some of these greedy politicians who we must call on President Jonathan not to consider appointing either as Ministers or Ambassadors. In fact, most of these people ought to be in jail, or if we want to spare them, we should ensure they never get near a ballot box or any seat of responsibility and power ever again in their lives.
These include the chameleonic “Any Government In Power” Ojo Maduekwe; the failed role model to the youth of this country called Dimeji Bankole, ex-Speaker of the House of Representatives; the women we thought will prove to Nigerians that women can do it better, but instead were even worse in terms of corruption and ineptitude than their male counterparts – Josephine Anenih, Diezani Alison-Madueke, the near-illiterate hairdresser, Patricia Etteh; the professor of Arabic Studies turned Minister of Education, Hajia Ruquayat Rufai.
The PDP list contains shameless and failed ex-Governors like Olusegun Agagu, who called himself an academician but could not bring himself to return to university teaching where he started despite having served at various times (or is it served himself?) as Deputy Governor, Minister and Governor; the utterly abysmal, election-rigger and inept Olagunsoye Oyinlola who has an unparalleled record of ineptitude and non-performance both as a military and a civilian governor; the dubious fraudster (alleged) turned politician and Imo state ex-Governor, Ikedi Ohakim; the clueless but jovial sacked policeman Alao-Akala, who during his tenure turned Oyo State into a blood-soaked battlefield.
To be frank I was surprised the names of Ogun ex-Governor Gbenga Daniel and ex-Senator Iyabo Obasanjo were not included, but then the former had fallen out of favour with the party a while back, and for the latter, the father must have told her to cool down a bit.
Serving Ministers such as Attorney-General Mohammed Adoke (he was even worse than his predecessor, Michael Aondoaka) must not be retained. Adoke has not done anything worth mentioning except to promote and provide protection for corruption. Ex-Senator Ayo Arise from Ekiti State was caught running around Ekiti State during the re-run elections in 2009 with armed thugs and guns and of course the murderous ex-Senator Iyiola Omisore of Osun State, who if not because of divine intervention, would probably have become the Governor now ( I must be the happiest man in Nigeria when Aregbesola was declared Governor of Osun State by the courts, in December 2010 thus truncating the ambition and plans of Omisore to become the Governor of the state by hook or crook, even then he was seen accompanied by thugs in Ife firing shots into the air in an attempt to scare away voters and hijack the ballot boxes during the last elections).
In fact things have gotten so desperate for the PDP that they are even trying to compensate ex-Deputy Governors with ministerial appointments – Taofeek Arapaja of Oyo State; Mrs Olusola Obada of Osun State are examples; and even the wife of Boni Haruna, ex-Governor of Adamawa State made the list. And of course, all the PDP gubernatorial candidates in the last elections who lost are in line to be compensated – Tunji Olurin of Ogun State; Ade Dosunmu of Lagos State (just like Musiliu Obanikoro was compensated with an Ambassadorial appointment in 2007). Again things must be really bad (for Ibadan people at least) if Jumoke Akinjide, the daughter of former Justice Minister Richard Akinjide, who lost in her first ever bid to be a Senator, is suddenly made a Minister of this country, just because she bears the name Akinjide. Lord have mercy on us!
To God be the Glory for answering the prayers of Nigerians to get rid of bad and unscrupulous leaders. We are getting there gradually. By 2015, we would have routed them completely and evil, greedy, selfish, visionless, corrupt leaders will become endangered, if not extinct species, by God’s grace and the will of the Nigerian people. Of course some of them still remain, but if they have to learn anything coming to the next elections in 2015, they would have learnt that Nigerians will not give in to them again; that we will not tolerate them; that we will not be intimidated by them and that we will stand up to their tricks and thuggery.
There are 150 million people in this country. 150 million people to choose from to help run the country properly. There is no dearth of brilliant minds and committed and patriotic Nigeria within and outside the country, in fact, like they say the greatest resources of a nation are its people. For Nigeria, this is even more so from all indications in indices. Why do we have to keep recycling the same set of failed politicians and unscrupulous officials who have never shown any kind of selfless service to this country, but instead, have over the decades, been lining their own pockets and for self-aggrandisement?
With these same set of dishonest people, Nigeria is not going to go anywhere and our dreams of being a strong, developed, and progressive nation will continue to be an illusion, a mirage. Please take an impartial look at most of the names mentioned above and you will see why the country was being branded a “failed nation” by even some Nigerians. You will see why Nigerians are very sceptical and cynical about their governments and governors and officials. You will see why there is anarchy, disorderliness, inefficiency and corruption in the polity and society. You will see why we cannot grow as a people and as a nation.
President Jonathan must be resolute and pick the best people for his cabinet and not pander to the party bigwigs whose interest in the progress of Nigeria is the furthest from their minds and plans, but put self-interest and self-survival before the welfare of the people of this country.
No, we don’t want these deceitful, dishonest, insincere and corrupt people in power as our Ministers and representatives anymore. We have rejected most of them at the polls, and they must not be compensated for failure.
Let the Truth be said always.